Tuesday, 10 December 2013

How to make a bird-feeder

Looking at the bird-feeding equipment on sale at our local Garden Centre the other day, I was struck by how much of an industry this has become. Judging by the amount of stuff on offer, this must be a big market sector by now. And a big revenue-generator too, if the prices of these things are anything to go by! I decided I would have a go at making a bird-feeder myself, out of "odds and ends"...

This is it:-

It is basically a used plastic water-bottle through which I have made a series of holes, using an electric drill.
Through the bottom pair of holes I threaded a metal rod from my "Spares Box", to serve as a perch. This could equally have been made with a length of wooden dowel, a pencil, or even just a straight twig.

Towards the top of the bottle I made another pair of holes and threaded through them a length of nylon string to act as a hanging-loop. The string is secured with large knots, inside the bottle:

About the height of a small bird (!) above the perch I cut two holes about an inch in diameter, to act as the feeding apertures. This was the trickiest bit of all, because the plastic was hard to cut without cracking. I made a small hole first, with the drill, and then used scissors to cut a bigger hole. I think this part would be easier if the bottle were thicker. The flimsy "crackly" type of plastic in the bottle I chose was very hard to work with.

Still, I ended up with a reasonably serviceable bird-feeder for next-to-nothing. I learnt a bit about technique too, and if I do a Mark 2 version it will be better! For instance - those seeds at the bottom of the bottle are inaccessible, so maybe I should think of a way of blocking off the part below the perch; or maybe I should just fill the lower bit with ballast?


  1. A great idea. Feeding the birds is definitely big business, keeping the feeders filled with seed can cost a small fortune. As well as different kinds of seed, I buy suet blocks, so I'm going to have a go at making some of those myself with lard, it might keep costs down a little.

  2. Simple ideas are always the best.

  3. Very clever - does the food stay in when the feeder swings about too

  4. Being a DIY person I can only say good work, Mark! May I give you an advise how to make holes in plastic easy way? Use a nail or similar piece of metal, make it very hot over the flame and punch the holes as you want. The plastic will simply melt into the shape you want.
    As for the bottom, try to attach some plastic plate and punch a few holes for the grains to come out. Interesting idea, you made us think how to improve it. Maybe I try to make one of my own too.

  5. Or you could figure out a way to connect an additional perch to the bottom instead of farther up. Of course you would need two more feeding holes then. But then four birds could eat at a time. I've yet to try feeding the birds here. With all the cats it seems like a bad idea. I've got too many of those in my garden as it is.

  6. Great idea Mark, even better that it was pretty much free!

  7. A very thrifty idea Mark. I know your not a fan of having too much recycled stuff around the garden, so I am impressed.


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