We LOVE birds! It’s so nice to see them hanging around the feeders, chirping and eating. It’s really cool to sit out on the patio and watch them fly right up to the feeders not 5 feet from you and eat! The good thing about birds is that it doesn’t matter where you live – a huge wooded property, or an apartment in the city – they’re everywhere, and will always take a free meal. The more feeders you put out, the more likely you are to see them, too. Here are a few simple ideas to make your own bird feeders and attract all the feathered-friends you can.
As you can see in our featured image, you can take thick branches from a fallen tree, or trunks from thin trees and screw heavy hooks into the top from which to hang them. Using a paddle bit in a drill, bore holes into the branch about an inch or so deep. Fill with suet and hang from a tree, or use an eye-hook to screw into the eave of your house or barn and hang the feeder there. You could even fill a small mason jar with homemade suet (recipe below) and give bird feeders and suet as gifts!
Spreadable suet that can be used to make your neighborhood birds very happy!
- 2 Cups crunchy peanut butter (can use smooth if you like)
- 1 Cup lard or bacon grease
- 1 Cup wild bird seed
- 1/2 Cup rolled oats
- 1/2 Cup cornmeal
- In a saucepan, melt peanut butter and lard together over medium-low heat.
- Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Store in jars until ready to use.
Save the empty cardboard tubes from paper towels, toilet paper and wrapping paper and use them for bird feeders, too! If you have a suet cage, you can cut the cardboard tube to length (if needed), smother it in peanut butter (creamy or smooth), and roll in bird seed. Flatten the tube and put it in the suet cage. This is super messy and super fun for the kids! In lieu of making a mess, you could always spread the suet mixture from the recipe above on the tubes, instead.
In fact, you can use the suet mixture above to spread on just about anything. Spread it on pine cones and hang them in the trees, or just spread the mixture directly onto the tree limbs and branches!
If you’re looking for a suet recipe that won’t melt, and can be formed into cakes to go into the cages, try this one:
This mixture, when cooled, can be formed into cakes for your suet cages.
- 1 Cup lard or bacon grease
- 1 Cup crunchy peanut butter
- 2 Cups rolled oats
- 2 Cups cornmeal
- 1 Cup flour
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- In a saucepan, melt the lard and peanut butter together over medium-low heat.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Pouring into a square pan (lined with wax paper or parchment paper) about 2 inches deep until cool.
- Cut into cakes the size of the suet cage you have.
- Store unused in the freezer.
I would cool this in the fridge overnight to ensure that it sets firm enough to cut without making a horrendous mess. If this recipe sets up firm enough for you, you can use a cookie cutter to make it into different shapes, poke a hole through it, and hang it from a tree limb.
Lastly, you can use a 20 ounce or 2 liter plastic bottle, or an empty milk jug as a feeder. Cut some holes in the sides so the birds can get the feed and some smaller holes for perches. Push some wooden spoons, chopsticks or pencils through the perch holes – you might even want to hot glue the perches in place so they don’t come out. Use some twine to hang the feeder by either putting it through or wrapping it around the neck of the bottle. You can refill the feeder any time you want by removing the cap and pouring in more seed! Basically any plastic jar or bottle can be used like this. Save those old mayo jars, clean them out, make bird feeders, decorate them, and give them as homemade gifts!