Recently our landscape has been sheathed in ice, so I figured it was a good time to put out some food for the brave birds that have stuck around for this frigid season. The seed heads we left standing in the garden for the birds to snack on during the cold months are literally frozen in time, so we grabbed materials we had on hand and assembled an impromptu feeder. Did I mention the feeders are easy on the eyes as well as the wallet?
Bird Feeder Materials
These are the materials we happen to have at the ready — some supplies may not be at your disposal. Feel free to improvise and use other natural substitutes like bamboo stalks, fallen tree branches; use your imagination!
- Blackberry branches: After pruning the fruited floricanes (stem of a biennial plant) in September, we stripped them of their leaves and left them to dry to initially use as stakes for the coming season.
- Sunflower seed heads: We harvested and dried several back in the early fall for seed-saving and winter bird feeders before they were decimated by hungry birds.
- Florist wire
- Any number of creative, ingenious high school students with good fine motor skills
- Consider where you will put your feeder as well as its access to squirrels and other hungry critters that may want the seed. These factors should help determine the size and shape that will be appropriate for your space.
- Using florist wire, and extra hands are helpful too, create a trellis like structure that can stand independently once you stake it in the ground. Pinterest “trellis” and a myriad of design ideas will bombard you.
- We poked holes in our sunflower seed heads and strung them from one of our horizontal braces using florist wire. If you don’t have any seed heads, you can always create pinecone feeders by gathering pinecones, smothering them in peanut butter (unless you’re allergic) and dipping them in store-bought bird seed.
- Make holes in the ground in accordance with your trellis structure, and try to bury at least 8″ of the bottom of your stakes (whether bramble, bamboo or other). You may have to break a sweat, as I’m sure your ground is frozen solid. The deeper you bury your stakes, the more firmly your structure will stand. If necessary, place a few rocks around stakes to really shore things up.
- Sit back and enjoy your new garden ornament as it welcomes hungry birds from your neighborhood. We’ve already seen a variety of birds including Tufted Titmice, Chickadees and Juncos.
Look how successful our young men were with their creations!
Not a bad way to spend forty-five minutes on a cold, January day.