In the winter, when birds are foraging for seeds on the ground, they are always interested in free meals. During this time of year, they love fatty foods, which are full of protein. There are many simple bird feeders to make which offer birds basic household food items or leftovers, and making feeders is a great activity for kids.
Pine Cone Feeder
Making a bird feeder from a pine cone is quite easy. This is one of the simplest feeders one may make at home. All that it consists of is a pine cone, which is hung from a tree branch, that is covered in some kind of bird food. Taking a pine cone and filling the spaces with peanut butter, before hanging it from a tree is a sure way to attract finches, sparrows, chickadees, tits, cardinals, and other birds. Another filling for the pine cones is bacon grease or fat from beef or sausage. Simply let the grease or fat congeal (it may require placing it in the refrigerator) and then pack it into the gaps in the pine cone. Stirring seeds, like sunflower seeds or thistle seeds, or raisins and small nuts or pieces of nuts into the grease before packing it into the pine cone is also appealing to the birds.
Making Can Bird Feeder
Making bird feeders from cans is also fairly easy. This type of feeder is made by filling an empty Pringles can with bird seed. But first, several holes should be drilled or poked at random around the can at various heights, which will serve as as access holes from which the birds may snatch seeds. Also, drill a few holes completely through the can, horizontally, and then press small sticks that are longer than the can's width all of the way through, to act as stable perches. Sunflower seeds or any mixture of bird seeds work well in this type of feeder. Also, it may be more sightly to remove the bright wrapper from the can before hanging it from a tree's limb. To hang the can, drill a hole all the way through the can within an inch of the top, horizontally, and run a string through it, and tie both ends of the string onto a branch. The cap may also be used to prevent seeds from spilling out through the top if the feeder should rock in the wind. After some time, the birds will not be able to use the holes at the top of the can unless it is refilled, because they will have eaten enough seeds to reduce the level of feed in the can.
Making a Sack Bird Feeder
This feeder serves as a suet dispenser (suet is the fatty bird meal, which uses bacon grease, beef fat, or other lard, and other various ingredients). To make this, a hairnet with mesh about 1/4" thick, or any other similar netting material is necessary. Take the hair net, or about one square foot of netting, and lay it flat over a plate on a table. Then, make the suet. To do this, take about one cup of fresh bacon grease or beef fat, pour it into a bowl, and while it is wet, add any of the following: sugar, sunflower seeds, raisins, cornmeal, thistle seeds, peanuts, or a little peanut butter. Mix the ingredients around, and place the mix in a refrigerator until it has hardened. Then, scoop the suet from the bowl onto the net, and pull up the sides of the net to make a bundle around the suet. Tie the sack at the top, and stick a few sticks all of the way through the sack at various heights to serve as perches. Then hang this sack by string from a tree branch.
There are many ways to feed birds, and these are just a few that bring them to hanging bird feeders. Sprinkling seeds or bread crumbs on the ground will also attract birds, as will placing seeds on a plate to set outside. Permanent bird feeders, made from wood are not too difficult to construct either, but making those is harder for children.