When Recycling Goes to the Birds

Spring is in the air, and it is filled with the sound of birds chirping.  Invite some feathered friends into your yard this spring by creating a recycled bird feeder out of something you may have normally tossed into the garbage can.

There are many different kinds of materials that you can use to create a bird feeder, and the skill required ranges from a simple craft project suitable for children to a handyman’s woodworking project.  Read on for several different types of recycled bird feeders that you can create with items from your home.

Soda bottle feeder: 

This simple feeder is created using an empty plastic soda bottle.  Start by cutting a small hole about ¼ of the way up the bottle.  Just opposite of the hole, make another one, about the size of a nickel.  Repeat the process about ¾ of the way up the bottle.  Insert old wooden spoons through the holes with the bowl of the spoon on the side of the larger hole.  The spoon handles will act as perches, and the bowl of the spoons will allow a bit of food to pool where the birds can eat.  Drill a hole in the lid of the bottle and loop with string or fishing line.  Finally, fill the bottle with bird seed, hang, and watch the birds fly in for a feast.

Tray bird feeder: 

This type of bird feeder is a bit more challenging to create.  I can be made with leftover pieces of wood and a piece of aluminum screen.  You can even upcycle old windows, picture frames or other wooden household items into a tray bird feeder.  Simply nail the wood into a square or rectangle shape, and tack the aluminum screen to the bottom of the wood.  If using an old frame, simply remove the cardboard backing, and replace it with the screen.  Drill small holes in each corner of the wooden frame.  Loop twine or rawhide laces through the holes, and leave the ends long enough to hang from a porch or tree.  This particular type of feeder is not squirrel or pest proof, so be aware that more than just birds will be enjoying a meal from the feeder.

Coffee can feeder: 

This recycled bird feeder is a good project for younger children.  Tip and empty coffee can on its side.  Cut each end into the shape of a ½ circle; if it has a plastic lid, the lid can simply be cut in half and placed back on the container. The outside of the feeder can be decorated with permanent markers.  Fill the feeder with birdseed almost to the top of the half-circle bottoms, run a string all the way through the top of the feeder, and hang up for feathered friends to enjoy.

There are hundreds of other items that can be altered just slightly into creative yet functional recycled bird feeders.  Get creative and think of things from a bird’s point of view.  Anything that can withstand wet weather and be formed into a platform with an area for birdseed will work!