In my family, we call bird feeders “Cat TV,” as in “Hello, Spots! I see that you’re once again meowing in my face at 6:00 am. Would you like me to turn the TV on for you?” Then I get up, go open the curtains that face the bird feeder, and go back to bed until it’s time for someone to meow at me about breakfast.
But bird feeders are, of course, just as entertaining for us human cats as they are for the cat cats. And Spring is a terrific time to freshen up your stash of bird feeders by crafting a few more from eco-friendly materials. The birds love them, you love them, and the environment loves them!
Here, then, are some of my favorite free tutorials for DIY bird feeders made from eco-friendly materials:
Bird Feeders Made from Natural Materials
from a fallen branch. It’s important not to use chemical-treated wood for bird feeders. When the wood that you use is a fallen branch, you can be confident that it’s free of harmful pesticides!
from an orange. Here’s a super useful beginner’s macrame project. I especially love this idea for kids or groups! Just make sure that you use a slick string that won’t tangle in a bird’s feet.
from oranges and wire. This bird feeder is easy to assemble, and the oranges are easy to replace.
from a pinecone. That classic kid craft is a classic for a reason!
from an apple. Pretty sure nobody’s actually going to eat that apple before it goes bad? Let the birds have it!
Bird Feeders Made from Upcycled Materials
from a beverage carton. Kids and cats (and just about everybody else!) love to watch birds through the window. Here’s a kid-made bird feeder that makes bird watching from the comfort of your couch a lot easier.
from silverware. Old silverware is a dime a dozen (literally!), from my local thrift store. Construct this suet feeder directly on a fence post or old barn wall, or install it on a plaque or wood slice for mobility.
from a toilet paper tube. If you don’t love having a lot of stuff in your yard, this is the bird feeder for you! When the birds have eaten off all their nummy noms, you can recycle or compost the toilet paper tube and it’ll be as if the whole project never happened.
from a candy dish. Cut glass candy dishes are so pretty, but so old-fashioned. They’re the perfect vintage accessory for a garden where old-fashioned is just the style!
from pot lids. Pot lids are SO sturdy, and so useless if you don’t own the exact perfect size of pot! Here’s an efficient way to put those mismatched pot lids back to work.
from a belt. The tutorial calls for a piece of leather, but an old belt would work even better!
from a wine bottle. I’m always anxious about properly sanitizing my bird feeders, so I LOVE the idea of recycling each wine bottle when it empties, then installing a fresh, new one with the new birdseed.
from a can. The tin punch should mean that all sharp edges are pointed away from precious bird faces, but check carefully before you install this bird feeder, regardless.
from an egg carton. Here’s another temporary bird feeder. It makes an awesome craft for little kids to do the first time they get excited about birdwatching.
from dishes. Upcycle even the ugliest dishes into this sturdy bird feeder. The more mismatched they are, the better!
from a glass shade. You know the kind that I’m talking about–it’s the one that covered the bulb on the ceiling fan light fixture that hung in your Mammaw’s kitchen. It’s not a popular look for kitchens anymore, but it CAN be popular with the birds!
from a Mason jar. Screw a poultry feeder attachment to an old Mason jar, then hang using copper wire.
from a tea cup and a wall sconce. The addition of the wall sconce makes this tea cup bird feeder extra special–and extra moveable!
from a plastic soda bottle. This bird feeder won’t last very long, as sunlight will degrade the plastic, so think of it more like temporarily diverting that plastic soda bottle from the recycling center, rather than permanently rescuing it.
from saucers. The tutorial uses terra cotta plant saucers, but I prefer to upcycle thrifted plates for this type of project. My terra cotta saucers are all busy hanging out underneath plant pots!
Got a great idea for an eco-friendly bird feeder not on this list? Tell me about it in the Comments below. We’re going to make the birds so happy this year!