Here at ManoMano we celebrate International DIY Day on the 24th May. To make the most of this wondrous occasion, we have put together a new DIY project: a tutorial on making your own bird feeder which will encourage lots of beautiful birdsong in the garden.
Whether it’s spring, summer or the depths of winter, there are bound to be some peckish birds around. So why not give them a place to eat and rest, and at the same time fill your garden with some feathered friends? Learning how to make a bird feeder will also educate you on which birds are local to your area.
In this article, we will guide you step by step through a DIY bird feeder and also a bird nest, in addition to sharing advice on what to feed birds.
What do birds eat?
The RSPB, which is responsible for the protection of birds, recommends feeding our feathered friends all year round in order to give them a better chance to survive food shortages whenever they may occur. They suggest providing both food and water during the winter months.
As far as food is concerned, we recommend sunflower seeds, which are ideal for most birds. Always choose quality seeds that have not undergone chemical treatment. You can place them inside the feeder, without forgetting to add a corner for water.
DIY bird feeder: Tools & Materials
For the DIY bird feeder, you will need the following tools:
- Mitre box
- Wood screws
- Wood drill bit
- Wooden planks – 1000x70x10mm – cedar wood is best
You will also need the following tools to make the bird’s nest:
- Wood file
- Front and back side : 2 wooden planks – 240x170x10mm
- Right and left side: 2 wooden planks – 155x100x10mm for the nest
- Roof of the feeder : 2 wooden planks – 220x140x10 and 221x150x10mm
- The base: x1 wooden plank – 170x120x10mm
- 1 plank for the floor
Cost, duration and difficulty
You will need about 30 minutes for each of the two parts to this project. Excluding the drill, it will cost about £45 in total.
DIY bird feeder in 3 steps
Step 1: Cut it up
Cut the 1000x80x10 mm plank of wood into several pieces:
– 2 x 14 cm planks. Make a 45° cut at the ends.
– 3 x 14 cm planks
– 1 x 15 cm plank
To cut the planks, use the frame cutter kit, which is essential for making 45° corners. If you have one to hand, use the frame saw; it will be a great help.
Step 2: Assembly
Place the two planks with 45° cuts at the sides, as shown in the photo below. These two sides will be placed on a 14 cm board that forms the base. Assemble the roof with the 15 cm and 14 cm planks, as in the photo.
The last plank will be the bottom of our bird feeder. Before inserting the screws, remember to make a small hole with the wooden bit to prevent the wood from being damaged.
Step 3: Add your own touches to the DIY bird feeder
Fix the two hooked nails to the roof and thread a string through them to hang the bird feeder. You can personalise your creation by adding, for example, a wooden log to the front where the birds can rest.
Alternatively, you can glue thin wooden discs to the sides of the feeder to add further pattern and texture.
Make a bird nest in 3 steps
Step 1: Prepare the boards
Draw the line of the roof slope on the two 240x170x10mm boards. For this step, place the boards vertically and find the centre. Next, on the 24cm side, draw a mark at 8.5cm, then draw the slope from the centre of the 17cm side to the point marked at 8.5 cm. The following photo shows the lines drawn.
The two 155x100x10mm planks will be the left and right sides of the nest, and the two 220x140x10 mm and 221x150x10mm planks will be the roof. For one of the planks where you have made the roof slope, make a hole in the centre 2.5 cm in diameter, then file the edges slightly. This hole will be the entrance to the nest.
Step 2: Bring it together
You can now move on to the assembly phase of the nest. Assemble the two planks with the roof slope together with the 155x100x10mm side planks, then arrange the roof with the 220x140x10mm and 221x150x10mm planks.
Finally, complete the base by adding the 170x120x10mm board.
Step 3: Stringing it out
Finish by placing two nails in the roof, where the string will pass through to hang the nest. You can also add a piece of wood at the nest opening to make it easier for the birds to enter.