Make bird feeders from recycled or repurposed items

It’s springtime! Get outside and connect with nature by feeding the birds. Bird feeders made from natural, recycled or repurposed items are simple, fun activities to do with your children and they provide entertainment long after you complete the craft.

Use natural items

Cut an orange in half and scoop out the inside. Poke 3–4 evenly spaced holes and push twine through with a wood skewer and tie the twine together to use as a hanger. You can also use two long wood skewers and poke all the way through, crossing them and leaving them sticking out either side of the orange to provide perches. Then, fill the orange half with seed and hang in a tree or from your porch. Lauren DeRosa, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Fort Collins also suggested apple halves with the center cored out and filled with dried cranberries or dried cherries, or using a pinecone rolled in peanut butter or suet then sprinkled with sunflower seeds to hang in a tree.

Recycle or repurpose supplies

Recycled and repurposed items make fun feeders. Punch 3–4 holes in the edge of a tin/aluminum/plastic plate and string twine through the holes that is long enough to hang in your desired location. Spread peanut butter in the bottom of the plate and seed on top. The peanut butter helps the seed stick for less spillage outside. Used milk cartons or jugs can also be used by cutting holes in the side and filling with seed up to the bottom of the larger holes. Full directions from Wild Birds Unlimited are available at

Narrow plastic bottles can also easily transform into bird feeders. For perches, poke two sticks or wooden skewers in a crisscross manner through the bottle so that they stick out a couple inches on both sides. About 2–3 inches above each perch, cut a small hole for the birds to access the seed but not so big that the seed spills out. Poke a hole in the bottle’s lid to run twine through, fill with seed, screw the lid on and hang.

Choose the food

What type of bird seed to use? DeRosa from Wild Birds Unlimited Fort Collins says, “All songbirds love black oil sunflower, in or out of the shell, and not the large striped sunflower humans eat. Larger birds will eat that but small songbirds find the shell too hard to crack open. Fillers such as cracked corn, milo, wheat or canary seed are just a waste of money. A blend of seeds like sunflower, roasted peanuts and a little white proso millet will create a buffer to attract the widest variety of birds.”

After the feeder is hung, enjoy the show! Watch for parents bringing their fledglings, journal the number and/or types of visitors (they may not all be birds) or draw pictures and make observations about their behavior.

Birdhouses provide another fun activity to bring birds around!

Lauren DeRosa, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Fort Collins, offers kits for feeders, bird and bat houses. To build from scratch, DeRosa suggests using natural wood or recycled lumber 3/4” thick for insulation and to keep surfaces natural as paint might make birds sick. Also avoid putting a dowel below the entry hole as predators will use it to raid the nest.