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How to Make Easy Bird Feeders for Young Children

How to Make Easy Bird Feeders for Young Children

Get your kids to put down their video games and introduce them to the joy of homemade bird feeders, the messier the better!

The project of making bird feeders can be engaging and some of the ones described here are particularly gloppy and seem to delight most young children.

Bird feeders near windows allow for indoor bird watching. They give opportunities for close-up observation and identification of different species of birds, as well as for studying bird behavior.

When one jay aggressively chases another away, it may be a demonstration that the first jay is higher in the “peck order” than the second.

Other dramas make the bird feeder an exciting place to watch.

Materials: Pine cones, peanut butter, birdseed, string, plastic disposable-type bowls, hole puncher, bird pudding*, spoons.

Procedure: Have the children make pine cone feeders by smooshing peanut butter with spoons onto the pine cones. Then roll the cone in birdseed, tie a string to the top end, and it is ready to hang outside. To make a bowl feeder, punch three holes evenly spaced around the top edge of the plastic bowl, fill the bowl with bird pudding (recipe below), and tie strings through the holes for hanging.

Even 3-, 4-, and 5-year olds enjoy making these winter treats for the birds, with some assistance from adults. Use your imagination for other easy ones suitable for young children. For instance, try using empty grapefruit or orange halves instead of bowls.

Recycle an old Christmas tree for bird use by standing it in the backyard. Hang simple feeders from its branches. Attach other items, such as stale doughnuts or sprigs from local shrubs and plants with berries or seed heads. String popcorn and cranberries together and drape the strings around the tree for an aesthetic effect and for edibility by the birds. Soften some bird pudding and smear it onto the branches. Add your own innovations, and your tree may become the gourmet bird restaurant of the area!

Bird Pudding
Materials: One pound lard (or leftover cooking fat), one cup hot water, two cups oatmeal, one cup flour, four cups wild birdseed, large pan, mixing spoons.

Procedure: Soften the lard or fat over warm heat in the large pan. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Bird pudding can be slathered into any kind of container-type feeder.

Read more: Nature, Crafts & Hobbies, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities

Adapted from Nature with Children of All Ages, by Edith A. Sisson (The Massachusetts Audubon Society, 1982).
Adapted from Nature with Children of All Ages, by Edith A. Sisson (The Massachusetts Audubon Society, 1982).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

111 comments

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11:23PM PDT on Sep 5, 2014

Thank you

4:48AM PST on Feb 2, 2014

thank you for sharing

6:08PM PST on Nov 27, 2013

Hey just found this on the RSPB website :) -

Fat from cooking is bad for birds. The problem with cooked fat from roasting tins and dishes is that the meat juices have blended with the fat and when allowed to set, this consistency makes it prone to smearing, not good for birds' feathers. It is a breeding ground for bacteria, so potentially bad for birds' health. Salt levels depend on what meat is used and if any salt is added during cooking.

Lard and beef suet on their own are fine as they re-solidify after warming and as they are pure fat, it is not as suitable for bacteria to breed on.

7:57AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

Thanks for sharing, Annie.

7:54AM PDT on May 3, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:45PM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Thank you

5:17PM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

When I made pinecone feeders with my young daughter, I wound wire around the cones first. After making the feeders, I attached the feeders to the trees by twisting the wire tightly. The squirrels never stole our pinecones. They were happy enough to just munch on them in place. When making the bowl feeder, substituting wire for string might work, as well. :)

5:11PM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

The above ideas do not work here as the squirrels carry off the pine cones and the bowls are carried off by raccoons

2:23PM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

Great ideas. I've been feeding the birds for over 15 years. There is nothing like it, especially when the Nuthatches turn up or when a Reed Bunting comes to your feeder for the first time. The Sparrowhawk has been doing his rounds today as well! Am ao jeolous of you fine folks who are graced with the presence of Hummingbirds and Cardinals!! Lucky you

10:53AM PDT on Apr 11, 2013

Thank you.

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