For the birds

When the little green table was placed near the big living room window, kindergartener Sky and her younger brother Happy (not their real names) were able to look outside and watch the birds while eating breakfast. The two kids ate their cream-of-wheat, the big birds (among them blue jays, sparrows, nuthatches and cardinals) enjoyed sunflower and other seeds on the big feeder, and  the finches dined on the smaller nyjer seeds from our smaller homemade feeder.

However, you don’t need kids or commercially bought bird feeders to enjoy your own breakfast with the birds.  Our finch feeders are made of used plastic bottles they are easy to make and work well in attracting all kinds of birds; not just finches.  If you want to make one, or two, or more – here is how.

To make a bird feeder functional you need to think of a few things – the holes have to be the right size for the birds to be able to feed but not too big so the seeds don’t just fall out.  You have to provide a place for the birds to perch while they eat, and it has to be easy to add more seeds to the feeder.

Start with a small plastic bottle.  I find that ‘Vitamin Water’ bottles work well – they are thicker than water bottles and have a wide opening that makes it easy to refill.  You can drill holes or you can use a hot metal skewer to melt holes in the plastic.  If you chose to melt the plastic, make sure you work in a well ventilated area or if you use the stove to heat the skewer, turn on the range hood.  Make two sets of holes, small holes for the seeds and two sets of two bigger holes, opposite each other – to place long sticks that the birds can perch on while eating.  Make two holes in the lid and twist a large paper clip through them to create a loop [see picture]. Your bird feeder is almost ready.  Now you have to find two sticks to place through the large holes, fill your feeder with nyjer seeds (available at any pet store or department store that sells bird seeds).  Hang you feeder and wait for the birds to find it.  To refill with seeds, all you need to do is to twist the bottle to release the cap, add seeds and twist back on.  Please look at the pictures that show all the steps – a picture is worth a thousand words!

It’s not going to be long until the finches, and other small birds discover the new food source and come visit your feeder.  Have fun, and remember,  it is all “For the Birds”!

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