Spring is on its way and that means birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and your young toddler is ready to get outside and burn some energy. How about learning how to care for the wildlife in your own backyard by making a homemade bird feeder?
There are many good reasons to set up a kids bird feeder in your backyard. However, before doing your good deed for your garden birds, be sure to understand the dos and don’ts of DIY bird feeders for kids.
Why you should build a backyard bird feeder
Here are the pros to building a backyard bird feeder:
- Birds can benefit from supplements to their natural diet, especially in winter.
- When your toddler has a chance to build something that cares for a wild animal, it helps instill a sense of stewardship for the natural world.
- A bird feeder will provide an opportunity for children to quiet their bodies and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
- You can get the best ideas and tips for backyard bird feeding from multiple sources, especially the Audubon Society.
Why you shouldn’t build a backyard bird feeder
These are the cons of having a backyard bird feeder:
- Bird feeders can bring multiple species together, which may predispose them to disease spread between species.
- Below the bird feeder, it can get muddy and cause birds who eat the dropped seeds to get a disease from the moldy food under the feeder.
- Birds at a bird feeder are more inclined to fly into windows of homes and become injured.
If you still want your family to feed the birds, you need these helpful tips for keeping your backyard bird feeder a healthy place for your feathered guests:
- Keep your bird feeder or bird bath clean by periodically washing it with 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Let it completely dry before using again.
- Place mulch under your bird feeder. This layer of material spread over the surface of the soil helps avoid muddy areas where birds can get diseases.
- Find out what your local birds like to eat and serve them separately in different feeders.
- Never touch a baby bird that seems to have fallen from the nest.
- Hang some decorations around your windows to make sure the birds can see that it’s not a free-flying space and hang your bird feeder some distance away from your home.
How to make a bird feeder for kids
We have some exciting bird feeder ideas for kids that you can make together.
The popsicle bird feeder
The days of peanut butter pinecones may be long gone. However, this classic popsicle bird feeder has been built by generations and is still going strong. If you have gone to a kids’ camp or even over to grandma’s house, you may have had an opportunity to build a popsicle bird feeder.
You can build this simple but successful upgrade with some modern colored popsicle sticks for some added festivity. Be sure that you keep the feeder clean and if it gets moldy, you can always make a new one!
The sisal rope feeder
This one is just as easy but quite a classy step up from popsicle sticks. All you need is some rope and a used tin can. The key for this bird feeder is to make sure your rope lines are really close together, just like keeping popsicle sticks straight.
That way, the little birds who land on your feeder will not get their feet caught in between the rope strips. Use a 29 ounce can if you have one.
Bird bath and water feeder
It’s not just about feeding the birds. Providing water for them in the warmer spring and summer months can also be beneficial. A bird bath gives birds a fresh drink of water, but birds also need water in the summer months to cool their bodies.
They use water to preen, which is another way of saying they are cleaning the dust and bugs out of their feathers and keeping themselves healthy. Plus, water baths can also attract butterflies!
Homemade bird feeders for kids are fun to make. When your child has the opportunity to build a feeder, then sees wildlife benefit from what she has done, what a treat! This is a chance for you and your child to see how she can truly care for and positively impact the natural world around her. When we model these skills for our younger generations, we are setting the stage for their future and their choices that may impact their world.
If you don’t have a backyard, here are some live bird feeders your kids can watch: