Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homemade Bird Feeders

The title of this post is deceiving, because though all of these are marketed as "bird feeders," the number of squirrels that feed off of them, beats birds 20/1. Nonetheless, it's winter and critters are getting hungry, so around this time we usually like to make some kind of bird feeder and hope it attracts some wildlife for our window watching pleasure. We've tried lots of kinds, so I thought today I'd just share several methods. 


The first kind we tried uses the pinecone and peanut butter method. Just smear a pinecone with peanut butter and roll in seeds, then tie some twine or string around the top and hang from a tree. We made these on a day that was warm enough to be outside, so I just filled a paper plate with the seeds, but if you are doing it inside I would definitely suggest using a container with sides. I'd also suggest feeding your children before you start this project, because peanut butter, animal food and hungry kids is a tricky combination...just sayin'.


When the squirrels got to this one, they actually chewed every last bit of peanut butter off, making the pinecone a frayed unrecognizable mass, which I found on the ground, roughly 72 hours after we made it. I don't think the birds got any of this one, but the squirrels definitely enjoyed it!


The second method uses gelatin, a little water and birdseed. You make the birdseed "dough" and press into a cookie cutter to make any fun shape you'd like. Press a knotted string into the seeds while they are still soft. The next day pop it out and hang from a tree. For the full instructions visit Eighteen25 here.  We made these as part of our earth day party last year, see all that fun here.


The last feeder we've tried is the pop bottle and wooden spoon. Take an empty, clean 1-liter bottle, cut a horizontal silt two inches from the bottom, just wide enough for the spoon handle. Directly across from where you cut for the handle, cut a line wide enough for the top of the spoon. Expand that cut into a 1-inch tall dome, so the seeds can spill out on the spoon. Insert the spoon and cover the dome cut-out while you fill the bottle with seeds. Tie a string around the top and hang the feeder from a tree. I found these wooden spoons 2 for $1 at the dollar store.


When I first made this one we had a foot of snow, so rather than traipsing to a tree, I just took a picture from off the deck. You definitely want this up high though to give the birds a chance. Once we did hang it from a tree, the bottle feeder lasted the longest of the three kinds; probably a week or two, for the birds to snack, before the squirrels finally chewed through the rope and it became a squirrel piƱata.  Best. Squirrel. Birthday. Ever! That will be hard to top for sure.


Hope you are staying warm with all the crazy weather around the country!

Thanks for reading!
- Haley

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