Get Out There

Make a Bird Feeder to Draw Nature to You

This week, in Southern California, we have been nearly washed away. The rain has been torrential. Whether it’s too cold or too wet to get outside, you can still enjoy nature by placing bird feeders in your yard. And you don’t have to buy a fancy one. A homemade bird feeder will attract wildlife.

We’ve written about the joy of birdwatching in summer. It’s a great activity when it’s too hot for outdoors exertion. But indoor birdwatching can be an excellent way to connect to nature when it’s too cold, or the weather is too harsh to brave the outdoors!

If you’re in an area like ours, you’ll want to place your bird feeder somewhere sheltered but visible so birds know where to feed on a rainy day and you can still watch them. If you’re someplace where rain isn’t a consideration, anywhere you can watch from a window is a good spot. But it’s better to place it high enough from the ground that cats and other predators can’t catch your visitors!

If you want a refillable bird feeder, we are partial to ones made from milk cartons. They can be decorated and reused for ages before they must be thrown away. They can look like houses, owls or just pretty paintings. It’s a fun activity to do with children or even by yourself!

Our favorite simple option is a pinecone, connected to string to tie to a branch, covered in peanut butter and birdseed. We like that this version uses natural materials. It doesn’t put anything artificial into nature other than the string. You can make essentially the same bird feeder with the cardboard roll from the center of a toilet paper roll. But you will end up with torn cardboard in your yard when the birds are done with it.

If you want to be natural, have something bright to look at and enjoy crafts, an orange rind filled with bird seeds in unflavored gelatin can be a great bird feeder! And if you want to skip the orange, that’s okay! You can use cookie cutters as molds, filling them with gelatin and bird seeds to make shaped, solid food blocks to hang outdoors!

Any of these options are easy, fun and low-cost ways to draw more birds into viewable areas in your yard. When the weather isn’t fit for being outdoors, you can still enjoy it from inside. You just need a little planning and some simple crafts!  

Banner image: Rolf Schmidbauer via Unsplash

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