The original intent of this article was nature-friendly and easy to make bird feeders. By the time you finish this article you will realize that it should be titled nature-friendly and easy to make SQUIRREL feeders. These poor birds usually do not stand a chance at my house, except on very rare days like the one below. Maybe the squirrels were afraid of the bright red Cardinal?
Related: Why Study Birds?
Of course, the easiest way to feed the birds is just to throw some popcorn and seeds on your patio table, but we want to have some hands-on, project-creating fun today!
For our first bird feeder, you only need 3 components: an empty toilet paper roll, peanut butter, and bird seed. Using a spoon or knife, spread a thick layer of peanut butter all over the cardboard roll. Spread it thick because #1: squirrels, I mean birds, love peanut butter, and #2: the more peanut butter you have, the more seeds will stick to the roll. Roll it around in the seed, making sure to press.
Your next step is to slide the roll onto a branch, like above. You can also do this with pinecones. Additionally, with pinecones, you can stuff grapes in between the scales for an extra sweet treat. Then step back and wait for a squirrel to climb up onto the tiny, thin branch and hang on for dear life while he steals the birds’ food.
Related post: My Favorite Bird Apps
The next project involves another cardboard tube – a paper towel roll. For this bird feeder, you’ll need an empty paper towel roll, 2 wooden craft sticks, peanut butter, and bird seed. Follow the same steps that you did for the first feeder, but cut some slits in the cardboard tube before you spread the peanut butter. It is a good idea to insert the craft sticks into the slits before spreading the peanut butter, otherwise you may never locate your slits! The craft sticks provide a place for little birds to sit while they enjoy their treat.
This is the only one my squirrels have not managed to steal, as I hung it in the very middle of the top bar of our deck swing , and it was too heavy for them to lift up.
This next very easy to make treat is comprised of alternating Cheerios and grapes on a craft wire. Like the bird feeder above, I placed this one in the very middle of the top bar of our deck swing, but the squirrels managed to get it. The crazy things just sat on the bar and spun the circle around each time they needed a new bite.
The next one is a bit more complicated and involves a sharp object. Be sure to supervise your kids with knives, or better yet, do it for them. Or even better, have Dad do it. We discovered that a craft knife works best, but scissors worked ok too. You will need an empty plastic bottle, a wooden spoon, a funnel, a paper towel, and bird seed.
Cut an arch-shaped hole (flat on the bottom, curved on the top) into the bottle, as near to the bottom as you can get. Make the hole big enough for the spoon to slide it and get wedged just inside. Directly across from your arch-shaped hole, cut a smaller hole as an exit for the spoon handle.
In order to keep the seed from spilling out while you are filling up the bottle, roll up a paper towel and jam it in the opening above the spoon. If you want to hang your bottle feeder in a tree, tightly tie a string around the neck of the bottle. Otherwise, just sit it on a table like I did.
The next two sweet treats involve fruit, a favorite of both birds and squirrels. All you need is bird seed, peanut butter, apples and oranges. Cut a cored apple into 1/2″ inch slices, coat with peanut butter, dredge in a generous amount of seeds, thread a string through the center and tie to a tree.
You could do the same with the oranges…cut them into slices and hang them in a tree, but we found that the peanut butter slid off the juicy orange pulp too easily. To combat this issue, I cut the oranges in half and removed a small slither from the bottom of each half so they would stay motionless. Once covered with peanut butter and seeds, they became goodie bowls for the squirrels.
A suet feeder has been a long-time favorite product of devoted bird lovers. Wire suet feeders are inexpensive and long lasting. Instead of using a suet cake, you can simply put a piece of bread or toast in there! Another fun non-edible way to use a suet feeder is to fill it with little pieces of yarn. Birds can pull out strands of yarn to carry off to their nests.
So go on, celebrate Earth Day by taking care of some of God’s most beautiful creatures, right in your own back yard. Be sure to get creative with your treats! And be sure to recycle the cardboard and plastic when you ready to toss them!
Just be aware that if your neighborhood is populated with squirrels, you may see this…
More Bird Study Resources
- Notebooking Backyard Birds
- Attracting Birds To Your Backyard
- Bird Beak Experiment
- Bald Eagle Unit Study Ideas
- The Great Backyard Bird Count
- Hands-On Bird Nest Study
- Hummingbird Field Trip
- Turkey Unit Study Ideas
- Why Study Backyard Birds
- My Favorite Bird Apps
Amy Stults is a Christian wife of 15 years to her knight in shining armor and mommy to their 10-year-old boy wonder. They have homeschooled for 6 years using a classical, literature-rich method. A die-hard Trekkie, she adores her husband and son, all things British, sweet tea, small kitchen appliances, and holidays, even the silly ones like National Eat Like a Hobbit Day. Amy has a passion for genealogy and a love for helping others trace their family trees to learn more about their roots. You can find co-managing iHomeschool Network and blogging at Milk and Cookies. Connect with Amy on Facebook and Pinterest.