Looking for a family-friendly, fun activity? Why not build your own birdfeeders? Here are four simple ones, from Audubon’s Pennies for the Planet program. (Audubon magazine also covered the milk-carton feeder in its Jan-Feb 2010 issue.)
This is an easy feeder for almost anyone to make. Scoop out a citrus fruit—grapefruits work well and they’re in season—poke three holes around the top rim, and thread through some string. Tie the string in knots on the outside of the citrus, then fill the opening with seed. Hang it in a tree (but make sure it’s far enough away from your pinecone feeder or any others to prevent spreading disease).
For this simple design, all you need is a large pinecone, some peanut butter, birdseed, and some yarn or string. Follow these steps:
1. Slather the pinecone in the viscous treat.
2. Roll it in the feed.
3. Attach the piece of string.
4. Hang it in a tree, and voilá, a natural, beautiful, tasty treat for your backyard birds.
Slightly trickier, this feeder requires some basic sewing skills. Pop a bag of popcorn, and gather cranberries, a needle, and thread. String together the red and white foods, tie a knot at the end once you’ve finished, then drape the strand in a nearby tree. In addition to a snack for your feathered friends, this feeder makes a beautiful, almost-all-natural decoration.
Juice- or Milk-Carton Feeder
This is the most challenging of the four feeders, though definitely still doable with a little patience. Follow these steps:
1. Dry out an old milk or juice carton. Once it’s clean and dry, cut out two windows across from each other. Don’t cut holes on all four sides or it may not be able to hold the seed.
2. Decorate the outside. Crayon drawings are fine. However, avoid markers, tape, or glue.
3. Poke a hole up top, pull a sturdy string through, then tie a knot to keep the string attached.
4. Fill the bottom with seed, then hang the feeder in a tree.
Like any other feeders, these homemade versions require care. Don’t leave them up too long or they can become hazardous to birds. Also, make sure to space them far enough apart to prevent the spread of disease. Most importantly, have fun!