We love to watch the birds and hear their cheerful songs throughout the day, so we do our best to make them feel as welcome as possible to keep them coming back.
Having them visit each day gives us the opportunity to get to know them better. We learn what they look like up close, what they like to eat, what they sound like, what time of the year they come around, their eating patterns, who gets along with whom, and, in some cases, who likes to eat them or invade their space.
In order to give them a reason to come around, we make bird feeders from recycled items and offer them a variety of tasty foods and building materials to encourage them to build a nest in our trees.
We used to purchase feeders, but a few of our local squirrels would break into them and throw them to the ground, ruining them! By making our own feeders, we don’t worry about the squirrels any more, we simply make another one!
We’ve made a lot of bird feeders over the years and have repurposed many different types of items. The birds are our biggest critics on what we make, so we take notes on who and what likes and dislikes the feeders we make and the items we offer.
Homemade bird feeders…
We’ve been known to use some unusual items to make our feeders such as:
Milk and juice cartons, plastic water/juice jugs, soda and water bottles, mesh fruit/veggie bags, coconut shell halves, orange and grapefruit halves, coffee cans, pine cones, stale bagels and bread, cans, cardboard tubes, sticks, soup containers, aluminum pie pans, old cups and bowls, etc.
Note: Make sure everything is clean before using it.
We’ll also use sticks, pencils, dowels, craft sticks, duct tape, yarn, wire hangers, recycled fishing line, a hole punch, scissors and anything else we can think of to make and hang our feeders.
Creating one of a kind feeders is something we enjoy doing. I’ll put some items on a table set-up outside, along with some paper and pencils for planning, and we’ll get busy making our feeders.
Tasty treats to offer…
Items to offer the birds: Cereal, nuts, seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, apple peels, birdseed, peanuts, songbird food, popcorn, and peanut butter and bird seed covered items.
During the colder seasons, we’ll make our own suet from leftover bacon grease or lard, corn meal, flour, seeds, nuts, and dried apples. We’ll make a lot and store it in the freezer.
Tip: Fill clean, recycled plastic juice and water bottles with bird seed to make refilling the feeders easier.
Inviting them to stay…
If you would like your birds to live close by, consider offering them bird-nest-making materials such as: Hair, bits of fabric, yarn, twin, shredded paper, laundry lint, pine needles, etc.
These items can be hung from a tree in a mesh bag (such as an orange or onion bag) or a fruit container with openings (such as a berry container).
Once we have the birds at our feeders, we get the chance to watch their habits, draw them, observe them and identify them by shape, color and sound.
Here are some resources to help you get started.
Bird Identification Sites
Bird guide, cam, basics, an much more.
Search for 800 birds of North America.
Offers the following info: About this guide, how to Bird, how to identify birds, plumage and molt, parts of a bird, classification of birds, bird families, natural history of birds, endangered and threatened birds and bir
Identify birds from all over the world.
eNature: Bird SoundsLearn to identify certain birds by the sounds they make.
Look for free bird watching apps too.
View an amazing picture journey of a chick that grows into a full grown bird in 36 days.
Instructions for an easy to make bird feeder made from a recycled milk/juice carton.
Suet Recipe – Recipe instructions for making your own suet.
Bird Word Puzzles – Scroll through to find printable word finds and other bird related word activities, coloring pages, and games.
Enchanted Learning: Birds
In addition to finding information about birds on this site, you will find:
Bird Activities – This site offers bird related: rhymes, crafts, and songs. Other activities require a membership to access.
Choose a bird-related jigsaw puzzle to do on line.
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