As the temperatures drop during the Winter months, making a bird feeder for the garden is both a helping hand to the survival of our feathered friends, and a great way of entertaining little ones – if you’re looking for fun activities for kids.
In severe weather, the RSPB advises putting food and water out twice a day (in the morning and early afternoon) to help local birdlife to endure the frost. So a DIY bird feeder is just the job, and one of those things to do with kids in Winter which they’ll find both entertaining and educational.
Birds need high fat foods over the next couple of months to maintain their reserves to get through the nights, when temperatures can drop drastically.
A homemade bird feeder can be constructed using recyclable materials around the home. There are plenty of bird feeder ideas on the internet. You can make it simple, or even buy a kit to construct a more sophisticated one.
Just follow these simple steps for making bird feeders which are easy for both adults and children.
Step 1 Cut a hole in the side of a plastic drinks bottle/yoghurt pot to allow the flow of seeds - but not too big so they all fall out or get wet when it rains
Step 2 Pierce some small holes in the bottom of the feeder to allow rainwater to drain away
Step 3 Use wire or string to hang your feeder from a tree or washing line
Step 4 If you do make your own bird feeders, keep an eye on them in case the food goes mouldy or it starts to wear out, and replace it with another one. Keep the birdseed well stocked, as local birds will come to rely on your feeder and may go hungry without it.
Step 5 In the garden, make sure you carefully position your bird feeders, for kids to be able to watch the bird life, and maybe provide them with a book to help identify which feathered friends arrive outside. This is not only fun, but will give them more idea of what kind of food will be best to put out each day.
Use only good-quality food and scraps in your easy bird feeders. Always adjust the quantity according to demand, and don't allow uneaten foods to accumulate.
Small seeds, such as millet, attract mostly house sparrows, dunnocks, finches, reed buntings and collared doves, while flaked maize is taken readily by blackbirds. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are also popular. Mixes that contain chunks or whole nuts are suitable for winter feeding only. If in doubt, check the RSPB website for details.