Bird Feeders: Learn The Benefits and How to Make Them at Home
If there is an ingenious and flattering way to attract birds to your garden, it’s by making bird feeders. By means of these dispensers, at the same time that you collaborate with the feeding of the birds, you dedicate yourself to a relaxing and entertaining activity.
It’s a friendly gesture with nature and that does not imply excessive expenses. The manufacture of such stations doesn’t require vast knowledge, but an elementary guide like the one we will present below. But first, let’s get to know what bird feeders are and the benefits they bring.
What are bird feeders?
As the name suggests, bird feeders are stations for birds to eat. You can buy them or design them with simple materials, such as plastic tubes and bottles. In them you offer seeds and fruits for these animals to arrive, feed and continue their flight.
Having these stops in balconies and gardens is a fun and friendly way to observe birds and connect with nature, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The institution also comments that, through the feeding stations, the food sources that birds find in the natural environment are complemented.
Benefits of bird feeders
During drought or cold periods, the devices represent an alternative to safe provisions for these animals. Especially in winter, because birds experience higher caloric demand, as their heartbeat and body temperature rise.
They also make it easier for them to find food at the same time of the year, considering the decrease in sunlight hours and the few options available due to frost.
Feeders help them to survive and to be in adequate conditions for the arrival of spring.
Sparrows, parakeets, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and other species are accustomed to tasting what you offer in your garden, so visits will be frequent and favorable for them and for you. Here are the most important benefits of installing a feeder in your yard:
- It’s a relaxing pastime.
- You provide a variety of food for the birds.
- You enjoy moments of natural connection.
- They take advantage of their passage to pollinate flowers.
- It’s an opportunity to practice photography.
- You eat seeds that could become weeds.
- You learn about different types of birds and how they interact with each other.
- You engage in an educational activity ideal for sharing with the family.
- You can have “pets” that come and go without the need to invest in a veterinarian or other expenses.
- You contribute to garden pest control, since birds also feed on worms and some insects.
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How to make a bird feeder at home
Although you can buy a bird feeding station, it’s also feasible to make one with homemade tools and recyclable materials. Here are 2 ways.
For the simplest bird feeder, you need the following materials:
- Plastic bottle
- Thin string
- Wooden spoon
The first thing to do is to wash the bottle with soap and water; wait for it to dry and then proceed to the assembly. For it, you open a hole in the bottle for one of its sides and you cross the stick of the spoon.
Later you create another hole for the opposite side, assuring that there is certain unevenness between a hole and another one. The purpose is that the spoon remains inclined and the food comes out smoothly. Check that the arrangement of the paddle leaves adequate space for the birds to support themselves while eating.
The next thing to do is to fill the bottle with the food. And finally, you make an opening in the cap to hang the dispenser in a peaceful corner.
This kind of feeder is a bit cumbersome, but not difficult to accomplish. Unlike the first technique, it requires the handling of DIY tools, such as sandpaper and cutting discs. As for the materials, we list them now:
- PVC pipes
- Hot silicone
Cut 3 PVC pipes, making sure that one is thicker than the others, to serve as the main structure. Take one of the thinner ones and divide it into 2 equal parts. Mark this and the larger one on the surface with a marker pen.
Sand the cannulas and mark the diameter of the narrow ones on the thicker tube. The idea is to insert in a cross shape. Seal the upper mouth of the main tube and attach a rope to hang it from a tree or balcony area.
Then mark the caliber of the thicker tube on the wood and cut this mold. Use silicone to glue the plywood piece to the bulky PVC and make a lid. Finish by spray painting in shades of your choice, although a recommendation from the Journal of Ornithology recommends green, claiming that this is the color suggested by the literature on the subject.
Maintaining bird feeders
Cornell University urges cleaning bird feeder “trays” at least every 2 weeks, because decayed or moldy shells and seeds, as well as droppings, could make birds sick. Likewise, if this debris falls on the floor, pets in your home could be affected by ingesting it.
Blot with a dishwasher and hot water. A mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water is also helpful. In any case, remember to rinse and dry before offering food again.
If you observe a sick bird, live in a humid climate or there are reports of salmonella in your area, apply maintenance on a weekly basis.
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Foods you can offer at a bird feeder
As obvious as it may seem, many people are unaware of what type of food to provide to wild birds that land in the garden. It’s fine to provide these stations with bread crumbs, nuts, seeds and flaked oats. If you opt for birdseed, make it quality.
More alternatives? Fruits, nectar, and suet stand out among the preferences of flying species. Now you have the information you need to stock a home bird feeder and enjoy year-round bird visits.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Federación Nacional de Vida Silvestre. Comederos para pájaros. https://www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/Food/Supplemental-Feeders
- Golawski, A., & Sytykiewicz, H. (2021). How urban and rural birds respond to the colour of bird feeders?. Journal of Ornithology, 162(4), 1193-1198. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10336-021-01907-8
- Universidad de Cornell. Cómo limpiar su comedero para pájaros. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/how-to-clean-your-bird-feeder/#:~:text=To%20clean%20your%20feeder%2C%20take,allow%20to%20dry%20before%20refilling