In these bizarre times, every day is feeling a bit more like the opening credits to Bird Box (a good scary movie – check it out on Netflix ;-)). That being said, why not do something fun that attracts birds to your backyard and that will also help tame potential boredom? It is spring migration for these animals, after all. We have several project ideas that include recycled items and “things around the house”. No additional shopping is needed for most of these! It’s time to grab your scissors and let’s get crafty!
Build your own bird feeder
There are several designs you can choose from when building your own bird feeder. We have included three that are made with recycled/easy-to-find items.
Old Carton Bird Feeder
Have an old half gallon milk carton lying in the recycle bin? Fish it out and let us make an easy bird feeder! Here are the easy steps:
• Wash the inside of the container thoroughly with soap and water, then let it air dry.
• Cut a hole that starts at least 2 ½ inches from the bottom of the container. MAKE SURE the hole is on the side without the spout. It should be about 5 inches in length and 4 inches in width. (If you cut too wide of a hole, the box won’t stay sturdy.)
• Next, cut a small ‘x’ for a branch to go in below the larger hole you just made. This will act as the perch for your bird visitors. If the perch doesn’t seem sturdy, use a hot glue gun around it to keep it in place.
• Fashion a third small incision somewhere near the top of the feeder to hang it. Make sure the hole is centered so your bird feeder isn’t lopsided! Or you can punch two holes on the top for more balance.
• Now, for the best part! Paint and decorate your feeder with twigs, buttons, extra perches (spaced about 3 inches apart), popsicle sticks, old magazines or whatever else you think will make it more vibrant!
• After your carton dries, attach rope or strings for hanging to the top.
• Fill the bottom of the carton so that the seed is level with the bottom of the largest hole (where the birds will enter the carton). Birds are more likely to come if they see some seed on the ground, so you can fill the seed a bit past the hole to ensure the entire lower half of the container is brimming with seed. Choose from wild finch seed, black sunflower seeds, Nyjer, millet, or mix them all together!
• When it comes to finding the perfect spot for your feeder, the biggest stipulation is to keep it 3- 6 feet away from your home’s windows. That way birds will not crash into the glass when they are done at your feeder. Find a good branch about 5 feet above the ground, sprinkle a little seed below, and voila! Your backyard will soon be bringing in birds!
Popsicle stick bird feeder
Popsicle sticks are a crafty household staple. If you don’t have them just lying around, you can always enjoy a box of popsicles for this easy craft (yes, we are encouraging eating a whole box of popsicles). This project is easy and fun, let’s get to it!
• Start off by building the base of the bird feeder by lining up about 11 popsicle sticks side by side. They should be touching each other on their long edge.
• Then glue two sticks on each side of the base, securing the sticks on their ends, like so:
• Afterwards, add two sticks evenly spaced in between the other two you just added to provide additional support to the structure.
• Flip the base over and start building it up log cabin style.
• About half way through, cut a popsicle stick in half and glue the two pieces to a stick’s edge to create a perch. Like below visual:
• Continue building until your bird feeder is approximately 4 inches high.
• Now you can loop 2 pieces of string through the base.
• Hang the feeder on a branch at least 3 feet away from your window.
• Fill it to the top with seed and your bird feeder is reader to rumble!
For a temporary feeder that is quick and easy to make try the orange feeder!
• Cut an orange in half. The best oranges for this project have thick rinds.
• Scoop out the orange’s flesh. You can use the flesh for fruit salad or juice!
• With a wooden skewer or pairing knife, poke 4 holes in the side of the orange. You’ll want the holes to be about a ½ inch from the edge. Make sure the holes are placed evenly around the orange.
• Then cut two pieces of string. Make sure they are longer than a foot or so. Push the string through one of the holes and out the hole on the opposite side. Do this again with the other string. You should have made an ‘x’ with the strings inside the orange. This will balance the orange, and provide an additional perch.
• Next, go outside and find a good branch for the orange. Make sure it isn’t too close to your window (at least 3 feet away) so that birds do not crash into the reflection in your window when they are done at your feeder.
• Hang the feeder by tying each string into a loop and hanging on the branch so that it is balanced.
• Fill the orange with bird seed like millet or black sunflower seeds. You can also fill with unsalted peanuts for jays!
Make a bird bath!
You know what goes great with bird feeders? Bird baths! They can be rather simple to make and they will attract more birds to your backyard!
• Find a shallow dish or pan that will work as a bath. The bottom dish for potted plants works great (nothing over 2 inches deep).
• Find a sturdy surface or level ground to place the dish on.
• Fill the dish with water. Replace the water every day or every other day (you don’t want to get stagnant water!).
• Plop a few marbles or stones in the dish. This will help the birds judge how deep the water is.
Craft some migration-friendly window decorations!
Birds strike windows because they either mistake a reflection (usually in a window or door) for a safe flight path, or attack their own reflection in a misguided attempt to defend their territory.
Striking a window can cause birds to be stunned. They lie on their back, flutter, and in some cases the strike can be fatal.
The good news is there are ways to prevent these mishaps! If a bird does strike your window, Greenwood is here to help!
In the spirit of spring we thought we would give a few fun window decoration ideas that the kiddos can help out with. Or you can buy specialty stickers that they can help hang up! To make your own:
• Use waterproof adhesive tape! Cut out your designs and stick them on your window. Try to spread them out a hand’s width apart.
• You can also buy window paint to paint dots, stripes, or zigzags across your window so birds know they can’t fly through. The hand’s width rule still applies.
• String popcorn, origami, or pictures across your window to break up the reflection.
• Do you have other ideas? Send them to us and we might include them in our blog! Send your ideas to email@example.com.
Now watch for birds!
Migration season is upon us! By now, birds are arriving all throughout Colorado. Look for Orioles, Warblers and Kingbirds to arrive at your very own hand-made bird feeder! Happy birding!