Feeding birds in your own backyard is a great way to get closer to nature, especially in the winter. But it’s all too easy to spend money on bird feeders that don’t work and leave you feeling frustrated. Building your own DIY bird feeders with a few inexpensive materials can reward you with the same birdwatching pleasure at a lower price. These five bird feeders are all popular because they’re easy to build, use affordable materials, and actually attract birds.
1. Wine Bottle Feeder
Repurposing an old empty wine bottle that’s lying around can help keep the birdseed dry while giving you a clear view of how much is left. It’s as simple as cutting some furring strips into the basic shape of a shallow birdhouse, then adding plywood or boards as backing to the house. Cut two slits in the backing board to insert a hose clamp to hold the wine bottle securely in place upside down. This allows the birdseed you pour into the bottle to flow out slowly and refill the feeder over time. It’s an eye-catching design that’s easily painted, and using a clear bottle makes it extra easy to see when it’s time to refill.
2. Basic Bird Table
To attract as many different bird species as possible, try a tall open platform with a strong and stable base. Known as a bird table, these kinds of simple DIY feeders are very popular among bird enthusiasts. Frame a piece of exterior-grade plywood with furring strips to create a small rimmed tabletop surface. Attach this top with angle brackets to a sturdy 4x4 post or two 2x4s nailed together. The base of this post should be driven into the ground or surrounded with concrete to keep it heavy enough to prevent tipping. Open tables are fine, but installing a small roof structure over the top will keep the birdseed dry and clean.
3. Bird Seed Towers
Tower-style bird feeders are ideal for keeping seeds dry and away from squirrels, but they’re also expensive to buy premade. A tube made of hardware cloth and tied together with zip ties is a great start. Use a piece of vinyl-coated wire to connect two terracotta saucers to serve as the top and bottom plates, and you will have a simple birdseed feeder that’s easy to clean and refill. For the cost of materials, you can likely make two or three feeders for what you would spend on one premade design. Fill the tube with any small seed that doesn’t fall through. Experiment with finer mesh to hold very small seeds like loose millet or milo without making a mess all over the yard.
4. House-Style Feeder
A traditional birdhouse-style feeder made from wood is a great project for the family to do together. It requires some basic woodworking tools and skills, but this is a good way to build those skills while having fun. Numerous plans exist out there for basic house-style designs that are built to use a single cedar or redwood board. This minimizes material costs, teaches you to reduce waste with careful cuts, and encourages you to use high-quality wood so the feeder will last. A few wood screws, some wood glue, and a miter saw are all you need to accomplish most of these designs. Try a few different plans to see which type of bird feeder your birds prefer.
5. Window Feeder
For the bird feeders most interested in an up-close view, consider a window bird feeder that attaches right to the glass. Like the other designs listed above, these are available commercially at a surprisingly high price. A little creativity and some strong suction cups from the hardware store are all you need to build an attractive and long-lasting window bird feeder. Cut a basic house shape from a piece of craft plywood, then cut a large hole for a viewing window in the center of it. This can be done with the type of drill bit used for cutting doorknob holes indoors. Build a small box on the front of the plywood base with furring strips and wood glue, then consider attaching a small roof of wood or tin to the top to keep the seeds dry. Mount the suction cups on the back with small nails, and you will have a feeder ready for easy viewing.
All five of these bird feeders are easily made with materials you can find at any local hardware store. Get started today, and soon you’ll have a yard full of happy birds eating seeds for your entertainment.
While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.