Make a bird feeder from recycled materials

Why not give the birds in your garden a helping hand, with these three easy-to-make bird feeders made from recycled materials?

Follow this step-by step guide from the team at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve and make your own homemade bird feeder, all you'll need is a plastic bottle, toilet roll or chipped cup. 

For the bird seed, we recommend buying a small seed mixture. Millet and pinhead oatmeal will help a wide range of birds like sparrow and finches, and if you have tits in your garden, then they'll enjoy sunflower seeds. For the fat, use vegetable fat or lard (we used Trex). It's worth noting that you should avoid using cooking fat, which can coat birds' feathers.

Plastic bottle bird feeder
Find a new use for your old plastic bottles
Plastic bottle bird feeder
Find a new use for your old plastic bottles

A third of all plastic litter in the sea is made up of plastic bottles. You might have been making a concerted effort to cut back on the amount of single-use plastic goods you buy, which is great news, but if you find you've got a plastic bottle that you've finished with, don't throw it away, give it another use in life with these bird feeders.

Materials

Empty plastic bottle, scissors (you might want to use a craft knife too if that’s easier), bird seed, two plastic or wooden spoons and some string.

Cutting a hole into a plastic bottle

Step 1

Cut two holes in your plastic bottle, make sure they are directly opposite each other. Repeat this with another two holes, slightly higher up.

Scissors can make your holes bigger

Step 2

Make sure that your holes aren’t too small, you might need to open them up a little more with a pair of scissors (aim for the size of a penny).

Plastic bottle with wooden spoons

Step 3

Now push your two spoons through the holes.

A jug full of bird seed being poured into a plastic bottle

Step 4

Fill the bottle with bird seed and place the lid back on.

Plastic bottle bird feeder

Step 5

Tie your string around the top of the bottle. It’s then ready to hang in your garden.

Toilet roll bird feeder
Why not try making a toilet roll bird feeder?
Toilet roll bird feeder
Why not try making a toilet roll bird feeder?

On average, it's thought that an individual will get through around 100 rolls of toilet paper a year! That's a lot when you think about it. Even if you don't use that much, you're likely to have a couple of cardboard tubes that need to be recycled each month, so why not use them to help the birds in your garden with this feeder idea?

Materials

Paper toilet roll, pencil, string, vegetable fat or lard and bird seed.

A pencil making a hole in a toilet roll

Step 1

Use your pencil to make two holes on either side of the the toilet roll.

String threaded through holes in toilet roll

Step 2

Thread the string through and tie a knot.

Toilet roll covered in lard

Step 3

Take your vegetable fat or lard and cover the toilet roll with it.

Toilet roll in a tub of bird seed mix

Step 4

Roll your toilet roll in the seed mixture until it's coated.

A toilet roll covered in bird seed

Step 5

Before you hang it in your garden, poke some twigs through to act as a perch.

Bird feeder in a tea cup
Find a new use for an old cup with this bird feeder idea
Tea cup bird feeder
Find a new use for an old cup with this bird feeder idea

Do you have a favourite cup that's got a chip in it? Maybe someone bought you a mug as a gift and you just can't quite bring yourself to part with it, even if you can't really drink out of it anymore. This bird feeder is a great idea for giving your ceramics a new lease of life, as you can still admire them everytime you look out of your window.  

Materials

Chipped tea cup or coffee mug, twig, string, vegetable fat or lard and bird seed.

String tied round a tea cup handle

Step 1

Tie your piece of string around the handle of your chipped cup.

Vegetable fat in a tub with bird seed

Step 2

Roll your vegetable fat or lard into a ball and place in a tray with your bird seed.

A ball of lard covered in bird seed

Step 3

Cover with seeds. Aim for about one-third fat to two-thirds seed mixture.

Tea cup filled with seed covered lard

Step 4

Place your seed covered fat into the cup and press down to ensure it stays in.

Tea cup bird feeder

Step 5

Push in a small twig to act as a perch. Now hang your tea cup bird feeder in your garden for the birds to enjoy and you to admire.