I’ve recently erected a pole in my garden to hang bird feeders from as I want to get back into encouraging birds into my garden. We’ve had so many amazing feathered visitors in the past from woodpeckers and gold finches to name but a few and it’d be great to invite them back.
I’ve positioned my new bird feeding station behind the back wall of the garden, i.e. on the cliff, in order to avoid the issue of wild bird seeds falling on my lawn and flower beds and germinating. I got so fed up of pulling up barley and other wild things that sprouted randomly all over the place, that it prompted me to take my bird feeders down a few years ago. However over the cliff, I like to encourage wild flowers and plants so I’m more than happy to erect a bird feeding station there, as a wild flower garden on that side of the garden wall is always a bonus.
I used to have a lot of plastic bird feeders, but I think I gave them away on freecycle ages ago as I’ve not been able to find them, so this week I’ve decided to make my own bird feeders from plastic bottles at a fraction of the cost of the ones I could buy from the local garden center. Why don’t you give it a go too.
To make one, you need:
– Plastic Bottle*
– Wooden Spoon**
– Bird seed
– Small eye screw***
– Craft Knife and Small Scissors
– Marker Pen
– Short piece of wire and some pliers (not pictured)
*I’ve recently got into Innocent Juice drinks, especially the Raspberry and Apple mix (yum), so I’ve chosen to use one of these bottles for this tutorial and will be making a few more once I’ve got empties. They’re the perfect size, have a nice wide rim for easy filling and really sturdy big lids so I know the eye screws will be secure with the weight they have to hold. Other drinks bottles are available, so please choose one that’s right for you and your garden.
**or you could use branches, chop sticks, wooden dowels or even knitting needles – anything for the birds to perch on – just change the size of your holes accordingly.
***If you use a large bottle make sure you use a larger eye screw, or use a few small ones as e bottles get heavy once they are filled with bird seed.
Using your marker pen, draw an asterix on the bottle about 5cm from the bottom with 4 intersecting lines as shown in the photo.
Take your craft knife and pierce the plastic and cut it along the lines of the asterix, it’s easiest to do this from the outer edge to the centre (8times).
Take your wooden spoon and push it through the hole you’ve created to the other side of the bottle. Make sure it’s horizontal and then draw another asterix on the other side of the bottle directly opposite the first one.
Cut this one in the same way, and again, push the spoon through it. This time twirl the spoon around the inside so as to open up the ‘fan’ of plastic.
Remove the spoon and then insert it again into the first hole you made. Then because you’ve fanned out the plastic of the other hole it should be easy enough to push the spoon through the other side of the bottle with all the cut plastic edges pointing into the bottle.
If the spoon is loose, you could at this stage use a glue gun to secure it in place, but it should be held quite tightly by the plastic. If it isn’t then use glue and bear this in mind for the next one you make.
Draw a small circle above your first hole and again pierce this with your craft knife.
This is the hole the bird feed will come out off, so don’t make it too big or else your bird seed will just flow like a river. Don’t make it too small either otherwise your birds will have a problem getting the seed out. This next bit is a bit fiddly, but if you’ve got a small pair of scissors (I used nail scissors) it’s easy to cut out the circle you’ve just drawn.
Using a braddle, make a small hole in the center of your lid.
Don’t go all the way through the plastic – you just need to make a small indentation so that you can easily screw in the small eye screw.
Take some wire and thread it through the eye screw. Then twist the ends together with pliers and form into a circle to hang your bird feeder with.
Fill your bird feeder with seeds or peanuts, screw on the lid and go and hang it in the garden.
If you’ve not had a feeder in the garden for a while, then it might take a while for the birds to start visiting.
Just be patient as they will come eventually and then you’ve just got to get into the habit of feeding them regularly.
I’ve just got to drink this bottle quickly and then I can make another one!