Did you know over 57 million American households have a backyard bird feeder? They are a great way to give your local wildlife a reliable source of food and see these amazing creatures up close.
Plus, it is a super affordable way to make a positive difference in the world.
But it is important to take the proper precautions when doing something that affects animals. You want to make sure you have the right kind of bird feeder and birdseed so they will stay healthy and you will not endanger them.
This guide will take you through the process of building a backyard bird feeder and how to take care of it.
Choose the Right Type of Backyard Bird Feeder
As already mentioned, a backyard bird feeder consists of two parts: the structure and the food. Let’s start with the feeder itself. There are lots of simple, DIY feeders to choose from.
Check out the list of the easiest ones below, as well as these other great resources:
These feeders take anywhere from a few hours to no time at all to make.
Option 1: Mesh Bag Feeder
Creating suet or peanut butter bird feed mix? It works great in a mesh bag that you can hang from a pole in your backyard. The birds land on the bag itself to feed.
Discourage squirrels from feeding on your bird feeders by attaching them to poles at least five feet above the ground instead of trees. In an ideal world, they would be as far away from trees and shrubs as possible, too.
Option 2: Tube Feeder
You can make tube feeders out of PVC piping and fill them with birdseed. Poke coin-sized holes in the tube, adding troughs to ensure the seed doesn’t spill out, so the birds can reach the feed. Thread strong wooden straws through them so the birds have somewhere to perch.
If you want to encourage different bird breeds to feed on your backyard bird feeder, make a few and hang them in different places. Fill them with different types of seeds depending on the birds you want to attract.
Option 3: Tray Feeder
This is one of the most attractive types of DIY bird feeders and one of the easiest to maintain and refill. You can repurpose a small wooden crate or make your own from reclaimed wood, craft sticks, or lollipop sticks.
Glue your sticks or pieces of wood together with strong wood glue. You can make it any way you like, as long as there are no holes. Then, fill the tray with different kinds of birdseed and hang it from a pole.
The birds can perch around the edge.
Option 4: Odds-and-Ends Feeder
Want to start feeding the birds right away while you make something special? No problem! You likely already have something suitable in your kitchen cupboards.
Hang a soup ladle on the side of your shed or porch and fill it with birdseed. Be careful not to hang it next to a window; the birds might get confused and fly into it by accident. One billion birds die every year in the US from window collisions, so it’s no joke.
Or, you can hang an angel food cake pan and fill it with seeds. The birds can perch around the edge or in the middle.
Choose the Right Type of Bird Feed
Now that you have your feeder, you need to make birdseed mix to go in it. You can buy birdseed already mixed, but it’s more fun to make it yourself. Plus, a lot of cheap birdseed mix includes bulking ingredients like oats or wheat, which few birds like to eat.
And, you can tailor your bird feed to the type of birds you want to attract. Want more hummingbirds? Then add some hummingbird nectar!
Option 1: Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
If you want to create a birdseed mix that will appeal to the most varieties of birds, go with black oil sunflower seeds.
And if you want to create a mix, throw in some regular sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn, too.
Option 2: Suet Mixes (For Cold Weather Only)
It is not only the variety of birds you want to attract which determines the feed you need. You also must think about providing the best food for the season, too.
In winter, suet is a fantastic source of insulation and energy for birds. But in summer, it will melt and start dripping, which is harmful to birds. Suet as a bird feed is fine by itself, but you could also roll balls of suet in birdseed for extra nutrition.
Option 3: Peanut Butter and Corn Meal (For Warm Weather)
Looking for a high-fat alternative to suet in the summer? Mix peanut butter with corn meal and you have the perfect solution.
You can store both of these homemade bird feeds in mesh bags or cover pine cones with the mixtures.
Looking After Your Backyard Bird Feeder
It’s great knowing how to build a backyard bird feeder and what to put in it, but you need to look after it, too. This is important so you don’t make any of the birds sick by accident.
Refill your bird feeder on a regular basis because you don’t want birds that rely on your bird feeder to go hungry.
Clean your bird feeder every fall and spring. Watch out for mold, as this is fatal to birds. Store your birdseed in metal containers and don’t buy in bulk; this increases the chance of mold.
To Feed or Not To Feed?
Not wanting to harm your local birdlife is a noble concern that more people should consider. But as long as you build and position your backyard bird feeder with the safety of your local birds in mind, they will only benefit.
All that’s left is to look out your window and see all the cool birds who rely on your feeder for their fuel!
Want to do more things that will help the environment and local wildlife? Browse our website for tons more ideas and useful, educational guides!