How to make your own bird feeder

27 May 2020 3 minute read

During lockdown, what could be better than bringing nature to your own doorstep? Make your own bird feeder and watch the spectacle! 

As well as bringing local birds into your garden so you can get a closer look at them, the bird feeders will (as the name suggests) provide an invaluable food source for birds big and small. In winter, many birds rely on handouts as natural food sources such as nuts and insects are far and few between. However, RSPB has said that feeding birds in summer is also beneficial. The birds will be grateful for “some extra treats”, as they’ll be busy raising their young.

Of course, trees already meet many of the birds' basic needs for survival. As well as providing sap, buds, nuts, and fruit for birds, they host insects in bark and leaves. The leaves collect water that small birds can drink, and they provide shelter and nesting sites. If you're able to, planting trees in your garden could also be a massive help for the local wildlife!

According to journal Nature Communications, more than half of British homeowners feed the birds in their gardens, supporting more than 133 different species. Your garden or outdoor space could be visited by robins, great tits, blackbirds, starlings, jays - and the list goes on! Did you know that jays actually help out the oak tree more than squirrels do? Click on our Instagram post below to find out more!

Reconnecting with nature has been important for many of us during lockdown. Parks, greenspaces and gardens have helped improved our mental wellbeing. Not long after the lockdown was imposed, naturalist and presenter Chris Packham launched an online birdwatching community called the Self Isolation Bird Club, to offer an escape for those self-isolating due to COVID-19. On Facebook, he said:

What are we going to do to stay sane and mentally healthy? Well, I know what I'm going to do — I'm going to be listening to those robins, spending time outdoors and reconnecting with nature.

Chris Packham

So, what are you waiting for? Follow these step-by-step instructions, and you’ll have your homemade bird feeder in no time! NB: While this guide is suited for adults, kids could help assemble and paint it, etc.

Step-by-step guide:


  • Scrap wood
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Outdoor paint
  • Recycled wine bottle
  • Cable ties or twine to attach to a post

Step 1: First measure out the following pieces on the wood you are using.

  1. 2.5cm x 28cm (x2)
  2. 2.5cm x 10cm (x2)
  3. 2.5cm x 12cm (x1)
  4. 2.5cm x 15cm (x1)
  5. 10cm x 15cm (x2)
  6. 13cm x 13cm (x1)  
  7. 13cm x 32cm (x1)

Step 2: Cut out the measured bits of wood and sand down the wood so it's smooth

Step 3: Using wood glue stick the parts together

Step 4: Paint your birdhouse using whatever outside paint you have lying around. You can decorate your roof with recycled corks or whatever crafty stuff you have lying around, or simply leave it as it is!

Step 5: Use a recycled wine or spirit bottle (a smaller one works best) and put it in the position where you want it. Drill two holes either side 3/4 of the way up the back part of the birdhouse and then use a cable tie or twine to attach it.

Step 6: Drill two holes on either side of upside wine bottle in the back and attach the bird feeder to a post, tree limb or fence panel using strong twine or cable ties.

Step 7: Fill with bird seeds and watch the magic!

Hint: If squirrels are a problem, you might need to make a protective cage to stop them

Don’t forget to share your creations with us @treesforcities! Are you looking for more activities to do with the whole family in lockdown? Check out our FREE food-growing resources below. 

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