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Make your own eco bird feeders

These eco bird feeders use all natural or compostable materials and they're cheap and easy to make. Birds like robins, finches, tits and house sparrows will love pecking at the fruit and seeds. Have a go at making one or all of the three easy designs, then hang them up in a sheltered space. You don't need a garden - they'll work just as well on a balcony, hung on a sheltered house wall or by a window, or added to allotments. Try to hang them high enough that cats and dogs can't get to them. And don't forget to leave out a dish of fresh, clean water too!

Apple bird larder

You will need:

  • A selection of twigs and branches - from garden prunings or twigs picked up from the ground when you're out walking.

  • Natural string

  • An apple

  • Strong kitchen scissors or garden secateurs

  • Pencil or knitting needle (for poking holes)

  1. Choose eight of your twigs, making sure they're roughly the same thickness.

  2. Cut four of them to about 30cm in length and the other four to around 60cm.

  3. Start with the four shorter sticks. Lay one at a right angle to another. Where they cross, wind a length of string round and round as tightly as you can, and tie a knot. Trim the ends of the knot. Do the same with the other sticks to make a square with sticking out ends (for the birds to perch on).

  4. Make a bundle with the four longer sticks and tie together tightly at one end.

  5. Place the bundle above your square of sticks and spread the sticks out so you have one in each of the outside corners. Wind string around like you did before to secure the upright sticks in place.

  6. Poke a pencil or a knitting needle into one side of the apple and out the other side. Push a small stick through the holes. It should stick out slightly on either side so birds can perch closely to the apple to peck it.

  7. Make another hole through the apple - this time through the core, from top to bottom.

  8. Then poke some string through and tie the apple to the top of your feeder.

  9. Tie your feeder to a branch or to a hook, if adding to a balcony or elsewhere.

  10. When the apple starts to go mouldy, swap it out for another one - or try a juicy pear.

Swinging fruit bowl

You will need:

  • Two thin twigs

  • An orange

  • Seed mix for wild birds (don't use peanuts – they're a choking hazard for young birds and need to go in a special mesh feeder)

  • Natural string

  • Pencil or knitting needle (for poking holes)

  1. Scoop the fruit out from half an orange.

  2. Using a pencil, poke four holes opposite each other around the edge of the orange half.

  3. Thread sticks and string through the holes.

  4. Gather the ends of string together and make a knot. Fill the cup with bird seed and hang from a tree or a hook

Keep topping up the seed mix until the orange starts to go mouldy. Then just make another.

Egg box buffet

You will need:

  • Cardboard egg carton

  • Natural string

  • Seed mix for wild garden birds

  1. Take the bottom half of an egg box.

  2. Make two holes in the top of the cardboard 'cones', then thread some thick string through and knot it together.

  3. Add the seeds and hang from a branch or a hook.

You could add other titbits too. Try uncooked and unsalted bacon rind, cooked and unsalted pasta, rice or potatoes, or raisins and sultanas (making sure dogs and cats can’t get to them). Keep an eye on the food and throw it away if it starts to go mouldy. You could always make another egg box buffet!

Take our pledge!

If you build a bird box in your garden or outdoor space, don’t forget to tell us! Share a photo, tag us on social media, and use the hashtag #WildlifeFriends

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