Winter is not an easy test for animals that do not have their own home. Birds are one of the most vulnerable categories of living things. It is for this reason that people try to feed their feathered friends in special devices - feeders. Let's talk about what these devices are, how to make them, from what materials, and where to place them so that any bird can always find an opportunity to eat in the cold season.
If you have an idea to make a bird feeder, you should understand that such a device must be made according to certain requirements in order for it to correctly fulfill its purpose. First of all, you need to consider for which specific category of birds you will craft it. This is probably the main nuance. Here you need to know that birds most often rely on their own eyes, that is, they must see food well from afar.
Another point is that the bird feeder should be designed in such a way that the bird can not only get there unhindered access, but also the food is protected from the effects of snow , and it is not blown out of there by the wind. For this, it must at least have a roof and high sides. But it is even more important that food does not get wet in the form of rain during thaws. This will speed up food spoilage and make it unusable. The design of the feeder should also be such that neither squirrels, nor chipmunks, nor other animals get access to bird food, and the birds can eat freely at any time. Food should also not wake up on the ground, because this will attract other predators that can pose a threat to birds.
If you want the trough to be only for winter, then it would be better to hang it somewhere. This will help protect against sparrows, which are much easier and faster to find food for themselves than other birds. If constant feeding is a priority, then it is better to use a stationary type structure. But then it should definitely be protected from other animals, and protection should be provided reliable.
Another important point is that the structure must have a flat surface for food, so it will be convenient for the bird to eat.
The material of manufacture itself must also be resistant to atmospheric factors, otherwise the structure will not stand for a long time in harsh winter conditions. The corners and walls of the building cannot have sharp corners or prick, otherwise it will scare off the birds. In addition, the holes for access to food should be made large enough so that the bird can get to the treat. The feeder should not sway in the wind either, so you can make it heavier with something.
Now the conditions that the considered construction must meet are clear. Let's try to figure out what it is better to make it from.
Thanks to the large number of ideas and models, you can make a feeder that will appeal to you. Although, you should also look at what materials you have at your disposal that would not only be good from an aesthetic point of view, but also have practical features such as strength and stability.
Two points that are relevant for the feeder will be important here:
- it must be durable and maximally resistant to wear and tear;
- must be of the correct size so that a bird or several birds can eat safely.
It is better if the material of creation is wood or, say, a plastic bottle. The aforementioned options are excellent at resisting the effects of natural phenomena, and are quite affordable and common. Quite good analogues would be plywood or an empty kefir pack made of tetrapak, buckets of mayonnaise.
To create the buildings under consideration, empty canning-type cans, corks from wine bottles, plastic cans, pruning branches, pieces of roofing material, some unnecessary dishes: saucers, teapots, cups, and so on will fit. As fasteners, you can use fishing line, rope, wire, nylon tapes, small chains.
As you can see, there are a lot of materials that can be suitable for creating bird feeders, and most people have all of them in considerable quantities.
The main thing is that they meet the requirements described above and are environmentally friendly and reliable for birds.
Now we will give various instructions on how to make a simple do-it-yourself feeder. Some models are simple, easy and fast to make. Others are somewhat more difficult to make, but you can make sure that making a beautiful and practical feeder yourself will not be difficult.
The first option is a classic wooden house. To make such a craft, you will immediately need to arm yourself with the following tools:
- hammer with nails;
- self-tapping screws;
- a piece of fiberboard;
- furniture stapler;
- accessories for drawings.
Naturally, we also need wood. You can take scraps of some boards and add branches to them. Some of them, as well as tree bark or straw, can be used to decorate the roof, which will be made of plywood.
First, a rectangle or square should be cut out of a fiberboard sheet. This can be done by first applying such a pattern to the sheet, and then cutting it out using a saw. The next step is to create the collars for the pallet. 2 pieces are cut from the bar, which have approximately the same length, which will be equal to either the side of the square or the long side of the rectangle. Everything here will depend on what geometric shape was cut from a piece of fiberboard. We will also need 2 shorter pieces.
Now we attach the made sides to the bottom of the future feeder previously made of fiberboard. We fix it with a furniture stapler. Then you need to make 4 supports from a bar that will hold the roof. Naturally, they should have the same height. We install them in the corners of the trough from the inside and fix them either using self-tapping screws or with a furniture stapler below. On top of the support on one side, we connect together with pieces of timber. You will also need to make cuts on them at an angle of about 45 degrees.
All that remains is to make the roof, fix it, and the feeder will be ready. To do this, we connect a couple of sheets of fiberboard at an angle of 90 degrees. The connection can be made using a not too large bar, the length of which will be like a ramp. An important point - the roof should, as it were, hang slightly over the feeding pan. This should be taken into account when creating ramps. Now we fix the roof with nails or a stapler, and glue the joint between the slopes with any waterproof material. On this, the tree feeder is ready.
Separately, we note that a wooden feeder is better done if there is a drawing or diagram. Thus, even before the creation of the building, it will be possible to adjust the materials in size to each other so that the trough turns out to have the correct geometric shape.
If there is no wood at hand, then you can make a plywood feeder. Finding a template for this option is not difficult. When selecting it, you should take into account the specifics of the region where you live, and the type of birds for which you are making a feeder. If they are small in size, then you should not make too large holes in the structure, so that pigeons and crows do not leave the same tits hungry.
To implement this project, we need:
- water-based glue;
- timber 2 by 2 centimeters;
First, we mark the details of the future structure on plywood. For the bottom, we will use a sheet of square shape 25x25 cm. For the roof, you need a piece of slightly larger size, so that moisture does not flow directly onto the food. Now the edges of the blanks should be sanded with emery so that there are no sharp elements.
We cut out four racks from a bar with a height of 0.2-0.3 meters. Now we make a pitched roof with a slope. To do this, we shorten a couple of bars at an angle by 2-3 centimeters. In places where there will be connections, we use glue on a waterproof basis, after which we connect the parts to each other using nails. We attach the racks to the bottom, and the sides to them. Now we fix the roof on the racks, for which we use self-tapping screws.
We hang the structure with a hardware with a hook, which can be carefully screwed into the roof. All that remains is to add treats for the birds and watch them.
If desired, you can decorate the structure in an original way.
Consider slightly simpler designs that even a child can implement without any special effort. One of them is a feeder without a roof. We must say right away that such a solution is extremely short-lived, because it is not at all protected from snow and water. This option is suitable for one-time feeding of birds or the feeder after each time you just need to clean it up and then hang it up again.
A small piece of plywood is taken, four thin bars that we will use as sides, and a rope. We nail or glue the sides onto the plywood from above, after which we make a couple of holes so that the rope can be threaded. Now it remains to hang the structure on a tree and add food.
You can build a cool grain feeder that is edible. This option will be an excellent solution, because you can be sure that the birds will definitely appreciate such a delicacy and do not have to spend too much of their time. To master such a master class, we need:
- a little gelatin;
- some oatmeal;
- raw poultry food;
- a piece of cardboard of medium thickness;
- forms for filling.
The creation algorithm will be as follows:
- we draw on cardboard some kind of geometric figure: a circle, square, polygon, etc.;
- now we cut it out along the drawn contour;
- we make fastening by threading a needle and making a hole;
- we prepare a food mixture by mixing a teaspoon of honey, an egg, a couple of tablespoons of oatmeal and a little flour;
- we leave what happened for 30 minutes;
- we put all this on a cardboard base;
- mix grain-based feed with the resulting mass;
- the finished mixture is again applied to the cardboard.
At the final stage, we place the resulting feeder in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. After the mixture hardens, it can be hung on a tree near the house.
There is also an alternative recipe for such a treat:
- pour a packet of gelatin into slightly warmed water;
- we pour food there;
- what happened, we lay out according to the forms;
- we insert there a thread with which the resulting product will be suspended;
- we put the molds in the refrigerator for several hours.
After solidification, such feeders can be hung out on the street. For greater convenience, feathered guests can be put in mesh bags. This will allow the birds to grip better.
By the way, such a winter feeder will be especially good, because the birds' immunity is very weakened at this time of the year, and such a solution will allow them to strengthen it, and at the same time will not require a lot of effort and resources.
From the bottle
Now let's look at the formation of a feeder from a plastic bottle. This is one of the most popular options given the prevalence and availability of this material. For implementation, you should have on hand only a plastic bottle and a stationery-type knife or scissors.
Such a homemade feeder is implemented as follows.
- We make a couple of holes on both sides. It is important that they are symmetrical. It doesn't matter what form they take.
- Jumpers should be installed between the holes.
- We make a rain visor, making an inverted cut in the shape of the letter P, and bend the plate slightly upwards.
- A piece of the slot at the bottom, where the birds will sit, must be made safe. Therefore, we cover the cut with either adhesive plaster or fabric insulation.
- We also make symmetrical holes below, where you should insert a stick, which will play the role of a roost.
Continuing the theme of creating buildings from bottles, one cannot but talk about this type of solution as bunker. Such constructions are quite interesting, because they hold a lot of food with a margin of several days, or even a week. And as the birds eat their food, the additive will flow into the special chute automatically.
This homemade design is made from a pair of plastic bottles, which must be identical to each other in terms of capacity. On the first with a felt-tip pen, we apply the markup. We make holes at the bottom, similar to those in the version described above, after which we cut off about a third of the bottle in the upper part.
In the same place we make 2 symmetrical holes, which we need to hang the structure with a rope or twine.
A second bottle will be needed to store food. In the part where its neck is located, we make a couple of holes. Through them the grains will be fed into a special tray. It is not recommended to make large holes at once, because if necessary, nothing will prevent you from expanding the holes later. Now the bottle is filled with food, the cork is screwed, and then it is installed in the container, where a third was previously cut off. We stretch a rope or twine through the holes, and hang the structure on a branch.
Another bunker version, made from a plastic bottle, involves using it with a spoon. Such a feeder is made simply: we take a one and a half or two-liter container, after which we make a hole in the cork and pull the thread into it. Thanks to her, it will be convenient to hang the feeder on a tree. We make symmetrical holes on 2 sides, as before. But their size should correspond to the size of a spoon made of wood.
Where the deep part is, the hole must be slightly enlarged so that it is easier for the birds to take food. We fill the feeder with food and hang it where necessary.
The only point that should be highlighted is that such a feeder can collect moisture at the bottom. In order to avoid spoilage of the feed, we make a couple of holes in the bottom with a nail or needle.
From a tetrapak
It was also mentioned above that a tetrapak feeder can also be made easily and quickly. To create such a structure, you will need:
- felt-tip pen;
- a pack of juice or kefir, previously washed and dried;
- adhesive tape or scotch tape;
This solution will be very convenient, because it is a monolithic structure. We apply markings on the pack with a felt-tip pen and cut out holes on both sides for the size of a certain bird. This step will give the birds the ability to move around and take food. We glue the windows with tape so that the birds do not get hurt on their sharp sides.
We make a hole under the slots with scissors and insert the cardboard that was previously wrapped in a tube there. This design will play the role of a roost. In the corners we also make holes into which we stretch a twine or rope. Now all that remains is to fix what happened on a tree.
If you want more space for the birds, you can take not 1, but 2 packs. We cut the first one along the narrow side parts so as not to violate the integrity of the top. Cut off a third from the second pack, and make a hole in front. This part will be the so-called stern board. Combine the bottom of the second box in the first. The resulting triangle will be an indicator of the correctness of actions. You can fix the parts in this position using glue, or by wrapping the structure with tape.
Another solution that will be even slightly better than bottles and packs is a five-liter plastic bottle. Its undoubted plus is that it holds more food, which eliminates the need to constantly replenish it. In addition, several feathered individuals can feed there at the same time. To implement this idea, you will need:
- five liter plastic bottle;
- wire or thread;
- scissors or office-type knife.
We punch a hole in the container for hanging. The location of the hole depends on how the structure will be placed on the tree:
- if it is vertical, then it should be done, stepping back 6 centimeters from the bottom, and it is best to make three holes;
- if horizontally, then we make a couple of large holes, one will be at the bottom, the other at the neck.
It is best to hang such a structure by the neck, but if for some reason a horizontal arrangement was chosen, then a couple of holes should be punched in the wall and, passing a rope through them, fix the structure, where necessary.
It is also important that all plastic structures are very light, and such bottles are especially susceptible to wind. To avoid this, you should put a quarter of an ordinary brick on the bottom before filling the feed, which will help to make the feeder heavier.
As you can see, there are a lot of options for bird feeders, and only a small part is indicated here.
If you have imagination, it's not a problem to do something unusual and your own. If you don't want to think over some new design, you can choose one of the described options, and then decorate it in an original way.
How to decorate?
So, the feeder is created, and even placed on the tree. And the birds seem to like everything, but something is missing. I would like to make my design original and unusual. By the way, given that birds rely on sight, a bright object against the background of snow in winter can attract their attention. Therefore, it will be very nice to decorate it.
Everything here is limited only by human imagination and the fact that the decor components must be safe for birds and not harm nature.
For decoration, you can apply:
- ropes of various colors;
- chains with an unusual link shape;
- weaving from twine or ropes;
- crafts made of beads;
- natural materials: tree bark, moss, acorns, spruce cones, chestnuts.
If you wish, you can make a non-standard feeder, then paint it in unusual colors or glue it over with colored paper and all sorts of figures. But you should be careful not to overdo it - the abundance of shiny and rustling decorative elements can scare away birds who see danger in this. And you need to do everything so that the decor does not interfere with the birds' feeding.
A pretty good decoration option is the use of paint. Its advantage will be the fact that it will protect the structure itself from the effects of weather factors. If desired, you can use not one, but two or more types of paint. There are stencils on sale, thanks to which you can create unique beautiful designs.
You can decorate the feeder by making its design completely unusual. For example, make it in the form of a mini-mill, a bee hive or a snowman. Of course, this is delicate work, but the result will be simply amazing. And given that such a building will be used in winter, the New Year's theme for decoration will turn out to be very interesting.
Using natural materials is another great idea. Small twigs, edible berries or cones, besides the decorative one, will also serve as a “tasty treat”. The main thing is that all this does not interfere with access to basic food.
Many people decorate the feeders using old utensils: a teapot or cups and saucers. In practice, this is implemented as follows: 4 holes are made in the saucer through which the rope is pulled. Now you should use glue to reliably glue the cup and saucer, and the structure can be hung anywhere.
Various paintings and carvings on the feeders will look very impressive. And if you make several similar structures, then the yard can be turned into a whole composition that will delight children and just random passers-by. In general, if you devote a little of your time to this issue, you can not only help the birds survive the difficult time of the year, but also make your yard stand out among others.
Where to locate?
Making a feeder is a big deal, but the issue of its location in winter is also extremely important, although at first it seems that it is enough just to hang the feeder on the nearest bush or branch, and that's it. In fact, everything is a little more complicated, and in order to correctly position the craft, you need to follow some rules.
- Birds need to feel safe. After all, if they get too carried away with food, they will lose their vigilance, which can be used by various predators: cats, larger birds.
- You should not place such things near too crowded places or busy roads. Birds can be a danger to drivers and they themselves will be exposed to it, because the risk of being hit by a car will increase significantly. And in crowded places, they can disturb people for various reasons.
- Feathered should be comfortable. Different types of feeders are designed for birds of different volume and lifestyle. A small structure with a small entrance will be convenient for sparrows. Thus, larger individuals will not get there. For bullfinches, given their size, or tits, it would be better to make a suspended analogue.
- The habitat should be familiar, so it is better to place such things in forests, forest parks or trees, where birds feel at home.
- It is good if the place with food will be located where snow and wind will not get. In addition, the food should always be in sight of the birds.
When living in megacities, a balcony or a wall outside the window immediately comes to mind. This is convenient, because you can easily control the food supply and replenish it immediately if necessary.
But this option also contains some difficulties:
- neighbors may start complaining about bird waste;
- they may be afraid of you, although they get used to it over time;
- such a place will not be as popular among birds as, say, a feeder somewhere in a tree or in a forest;
- it may also happen that the bird simply breaks on the glass, not calculating the speed.
If we talk about the ideal conditions for placing a feeder in the city, then, most likely, you can name a tree or a bush near a house or in a park. It should be hung high - two meters from the ground, and it will not be superfluous to equip it with something from cats. For example, if the feeder is on a tree, then you can beat the trunk with tin. Outside the window in a high-rise building, you can also hang a feeder, even if you live high. There are a lot of cases when the height did not stop the same tits from eating something tasty. It is very good if the place is not crowded, since you can organize a whole "dining room". If you cover some area with a canopy, then in the center you can place the feeder directly, and along the edges - various goodies: bacon, berries, grass. Then many birds will be accommodated there at the same time.
And if you don't know which is better: to make one large feeder or many small ones, it is better to choose the second option.
The reason is that birds can conflict with their relatives. For example, tits do not like strangers very much. This is why it is best to feed the different birds separately. Otherwise, the timid titmouses will completely disappear, and in relation to them this state of affairs will not be very fair.
The last thing to mention is some interesting examples. In fact, there are quite a few of them, and new items appear every day. It is not possible to describe absolutely everything, therefore we will take the most striking and interesting examples that deserve attention and are very convenient.
A very interesting solution would be a snowman made from an ordinary five-liter container. Such options will be good because of their capacity both in terms of feed and in terms of the number of birds that can feed there at the same time. And the design option in the form of a snowman's head will be an interesting solution to attract the attention of birds. The snowman's eyes are made of plastic caps, and the holes where birds can fly in are equipped with corrugated tubes. This makes it possible for the birds to sit down and not injure their paws. Definitely a good idea that can be implemented.
Feeders made from birch branches would be a good idea. Very original and comfortable designs can be made of them, which will be so elegant that you yourself want to live in them. In addition, one should not forget that this material is completely environmentally friendly and does no harm. Birch bark will perfectly protect the interior of the wood from the effects of water and wind, so this option can be called durable.
A model made from a single piece of log can also be called successful. The log is cleaned from the inside, and the feed is poured there. This solution is protected from wind and snow, it will be durable. Although there is a drawback - if moisture gets inside, then sooner or later the structure will collapse. But, given the environmental friendliness and originality, you can still call this option an excellent solution.
In general, it should be noted that it is realistic to make a bird feeder with your own hands, there are options for every taste. You can build something simple out of scrap materials that each of us has at home, or make a structure that will be almost a product of engineering, with its own diagrams and drawings. It all depends on how interested you are in the implementation of this idea, and what goals, besides feeding the birds, you want to achieve.
See below for more details.