Bird tables are a good choice for many species of birds and they can be used for different types of food. Do not be tempted by the sophisticated designer’s bird tables that you can find online, as they are hard to clean and maintain. An ordinary baking tray, for example, is ideal, regardless of whether you decide to put a roof on it, or not.
When making or buying a bird table pay attention to the following details:
- The table should have a board a few centimeters high. The board keeps the food from falling off as the birds tend to spill it when they feed.
- It should have a groove that leads away rainwater.
- It should be easy to clean from food residue and soiling.
On the market, there are a variety of feeders of different shapes and sizes, or of different materials but most often they are made of metal and plastic. Some even have a ‘cage’ around them to protect the food from squirrels and larger birds.
Keeping the feeder well-stocked is particularly important during the winter and early spring, as in that period food is scarce for many species of birds.
You can keep the feeder on in summer too – thus you will help the birds in raising their young.
Choose the best type of feeder:
It is made of a metal net. This is the only safe way to offer nuts to wild birds. The mesh of the net should be wide enough to avoid beak damage but small enough to prevent larger pieces of nut to go through, as they pose a danger to the birds’ life. The recommended mesh size is 6 mm.
Sunflower and other seeds feeder
Seeds feeders are plastic containers with holes to provide access to the seeds for the birds. They are intended for sunflower seeds and seed mixes mainly.
- It is important to clean the feeder regularly from soiling and food residue.
- Make sure that the food in the feeder does not get wet.
How to make a bird feeder from a plastic bottle
Making a plastic bottle bird feeder is quick and easy. You will help your feathered neighbours to survive the winter and you will recycle a plastic bottle at the same time.
- Plastic bottle. The best feeders are made from 1 or 1.5-litre bottles
- Two sticks approx. 20 cm long – they could be twigs, unsharpened pencils, chopsticks. Use your imagination!
- A tool to make holes with – scissors or a safety cutter knife. The easiest way to make the holes is with a soldering iron or a pyrography tool but you need to be careful with that.
- A string, about 30 cm long.
- Seeds to stock the feeder.
7 simple steps to make the bird feeder:
- Clean and dry the bottle to prevent the seeds inside from catching mould.
- Make two holes at the opposite sides of the bottle, right next to its lower edge, as shown on the image.
- Fit one of the sticks through the holes, then make two more holes at a right angle and above the first pair and fit the second stick through them. Make sure the sticks fit well in the holes and are not loose. These will be the perches for the birds.
- At about 4 cm above the second set of holes, make a series of small holes. This is where the birds will take the seeds from. The size of the hole shouldn’t be too wide to prevent the seeds from falling out.
- Make two holes at the neck of the bottle and run the string through. Tie its ends together so a closed loop is made. Or: drill a hole through the middle of the lid of the bottle and run the string through there. Make a loop at the other end of the string, or tie it directly onto a branch.
- Fill the bottle with seeds using a funnel (you can make one by rolling a sheet of paper).
- Hang the feeder on a tree branch, on your balcony or in the garden.
- Always use RAW, UNSALTED seeds as bird food. Sunflower seeds are the best choice.
- Birds need time to get used to the new feeder. Sometimes it might take a week or more to muster their courage and try it out.
- Hang the feeder on a high branch, making sure it is not accessible for cats.
- Keep your feeder well-stocked throughout the winter, especially during cold spells and when it is snowing.
- The most common visitors of this type of feeder are the great tit and the blue tit, the nuthatch, the chaffinch and the brambling, the hawfinch, the jay and the pigeon.
- Spend some time observing your winged guests and try to identify them using a field guide. You can take pictures, or try to draw them.
- Always keep the feeder stocked with seeds!