Easy Biodegradable Bird Feeders

Updated on April 13, 2015
Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Claudia has been writing about crafts online for many years. She is an avid crafter who has been creating for most of her life.

Easy Biodegradable Bird Feeder Tutorials
Easy Biodegradable Bird Feeder Tutorials | Source

Don't spend a lot of money on a fancy bird feeder that only lasts a couple of years before it needs to be added to a landfill.

Attract birds to your garden with one of these fun and easy eco-friendly bird feeders. They are great craft projects to make with children, while teaching them the importance of taking care of the environment.

You'll get hours of enjoyment watching the birds flock to your outdoor space and, by using specific types of food, you will be able to attract a wide variety of birds.

Each feeder is made entirely out of biodegradable materials, so even if it gets carried away by a pesky critter you know that it won't hurt the environment.

Orange Peel Bird Feeder

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Orange peel bird feeder tutorial.Scoop out the pulp of the orange.Using a pencil, poke 3 holes, evenly spaced about 1/2 inch below cut edge.Feed the twine through the hole and tie a knot to fasten it.Fill with your choice of bird food.
Orange peel bird feeder tutorial.
Orange peel bird feeder tutorial. | Source
Scoop out the pulp of the orange.
Scoop out the pulp of the orange. | Source
Using a pencil, poke 3 holes, evenly spaced about 1/2 inch below cut edge.
Using a pencil, poke 3 holes, evenly spaced about 1/2 inch below cut edge. | Source
Feed the twine through the hole and tie a knot to fasten it.
Feed the twine through the hole and tie a knot to fasten it. | Source
Fill with your choice of bird food.
Fill with your choice of bird food. | Source

One of my favorites, this orange peel bird feeder takes just minutes to make.

Supplies you'll need:

  • Whole oranges
  • Spoon or grapefruit spoon
  • Pencil or pen
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Bird seed

Instructions:

  1. Cut the orange in half and, using a spoon, scoop out all of the pulp.
  2. Using the pencil, poke 3 holes, evenly spaced, about half an inch below the cut edge of the orange.
  3. Cut 3 pieces of twine, about 8 to 9 inches long each.
  4. Feed one end of the twine into one of the holes, going from the inside to the outside. Tie a knot to secure the twine to the orange, as shown in the photo. Repeat this step for the remaining 2 pieces of twine.
  5. Tie the other ends of the pieces of twine together into one large knot.
  6. Fill with birdseed and hang outside.

This feeder is perfect to try different types of food in. Fill with fruit or jelly to attract orioles and blackbirds.

Easy bird feeding ideas that don't require a feeder!

If you don't want to make a feeder, but want to feed birds, here are couple of easy ideas. The birds will love these unexpected treats!

  1. Buy a jar of crunchy peanut butter and smear some on tree trunks and in crevices.
  2. Buy or make suet and smear some on tree trunks and in crevices.

Pinecone Bird Feeder

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pinecone Bird Feeder TutorialCompletely cover pinecone with peanut butter.Roll in bird seed until pinecone is completely covered.
Pinecone Bird Feeder Tutorial
Pinecone Bird Feeder Tutorial | Source
Completely cover pinecone with peanut butter.
Completely cover pinecone with peanut butter. | Source
Roll in bird seed until pinecone is completely covered.
Roll in bird seed until pinecone is completely covered. | Source

Use biodegradable twine

Use biodegradable twine for your bird feeders. Once the feeder has been used, you may start seeing the twine show up in nests. Many birds use this type of material when making their nests. If the twine doesn't make it to a nest then you don't have to worry that it will harm the environment.

Save some of the pinecones in your yard for this easy bird feeder.

Supplies you'll need:

  • Pinecones
  • Peanut butter
  • Bird seed
  • Twine
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Brush off any debris that may be on the pinecone.
  2. Using a butter knife or spoon, smear peanut butter all over the pinecone.
  3. Pour some bird seed on a plate and roll the peanut butter covered pinecone around on it until completely covered.
  4. Take a piece of twine, approximately 12 inches long, and wrap it one time around the center of the pinecone. Tie the two ends together and it is ready to be hung on the nearest tree branch.

Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder TutorialCompletely cover the outside of a toilet paper roll with peanut butter.Roll the covered roll in bird seed.
Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder Tutorial
Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder Tutorial | Source
Completely cover the outside of a toilet paper roll with peanut butter.
Completely cover the outside of a toilet paper roll with peanut butter. | Source
Roll the covered roll in bird seed.
Roll the covered roll in bird seed. | Source

A feeder that is perfect for younger children to make is this toilet paper roll feeder.

Supplies you'll need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Peanut butter
  • Bird seed

Instructions:

  1. Pour out some bird seed onto a plate and set aside.
  2. Using a knife or spoon, smear peanut butter around the outside of a toilet paper roll.
  3. Roll the toilet paper roll in the bird seed until completely covered.
  4. To hang, simply slide onto a branch.

What could be more simple than that!

Cereal Garland Bird Feeder

Cereal Garland Bird Feeder Tutorial
Cereal Garland Bird Feeder Tutorial | Source

Cereal garland bird feeders

Perhaps the easiest of these earth friendly feeders to make, this is a suitable project for younger children.

Supplies you'll need:

  • Cheerios or a similar cereal with a hole in the center
  • Twine

Instructions:

  1. Feed cereal onto a piece of twine approximately 8 inches long, leaving about 1 inch uncovered on each end of the twine.
  2. Tie the ends together in a knot and hang outside.

Alternate Suggestion: For older children, use a large dull sewing needle and string popcorn or unshelled peanuts for a different type of food. Use care not to use salted/buttered popcorn or peanuts purchased from the grocery store. They contain additives that may be harmful to birds.

What birds eat

Types of food
Attracts these types of birds
Other Information
Thistle seeds
Finches
 
Sunflower seeds
Cardinals, Chickadees, Nuthatches
There are different types of sunflower seeds, however the one favored by most birds is the black oil one. They do make a mess in the garden with shells scattered around.
Peanuts
Jays, Crows, Woodpeckers, Titmice
Only use peanuts designated for bird food. Other types contain salt, flavorings and other additives that can be harmful to birds.
Crushed peanuts
Robins, Wrens
See note above
Fruit
Blackbirds, Orioles, Thrushes
 
Safflower seeds
Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Chickadees, Doves
 
Millet
Sparrows, Doves, Juncos, Towhees, Cardinals and other ground-feeding birds
Use care as millet tends to spoil quickly.
Corn
Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Jays, Doves, Ducks
Can attract unwanted birds such as starlings and cowbirds. Corn tends to spoil quickly.
Mealworms
Robins, Bluebirds, Chickadees, Cardinals
 
Suet
Thrushes, Wrens, Woodpeckers, Titmice
 
While the birds listed prefer these specific types of food, many will eat the other types as well. Most of these seeds can also attract other critters like squirrels, which can become real pests and eat the food meant for the birds.
A robin waiting patiently for food.
A robin waiting patiently for food. | Source

Feed the birds

Teach your children or grandchildren about the beauty of nature by making these biodegradable bird feeders. They are the perfect way to attract birds to your backyard and they are kind to the earth.

They are also incredibly easy to make. I made all four of these in less than half an hour.

The next time your family is stuck inside on a rainy day, or the birds are looking hungry, why not make one.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Claudia Mitchell

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      • profile image

        Chefsville - Chef Scott 

        17 months ago

        This is wonderful! Kids can learn about all kinds of things. We will to do this project with kids during a summer STEM program where they need to attract birds to their gardens. Your post gives us great ideas where we can connect and teach about healthy foods and make it fun. Thank you so much for this activity.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        2 years ago

        Thanks kellykat. My daughter still likes making these sometimes and they really are simple to do and good for the birds.

      • profile image

        kellykat 

        2 years ago

        I love this idea. We purposely having oranges for snack this morning so we can make this craft in class. Thank you for the idea :)

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        2 years ago

        I would guess that another kind of nut butter that kids are not allergic too. I really don't know what else is out there, but birds will love any kind of spread like that. Good luck,

      • profile image

        J. 

        2 years ago

        Do you have any suggestions what the peanut butter can be substituted with, in the case kids making these have allergies?

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        3 years ago

        Thanks Tammy! Our birds are slowly coming back now that is warming up. They have been eating like crazy when I put food out. Have a great day!

      • tammyswallow profile image

        Tammy 

        3 years ago from North Carolina

        What a wonderful idea for the birds and for the environment. I have plenty of winter birds here in the south. Great hub!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        3 years ago

        Thanks so much for reading and the support How to - Answers. We like feeding the birds too and it has been so cold up here that they really need it right now.

      • How to - Answers profile image

        L M Reid 

        3 years ago from Ireland

        Wow these are great ideas on how to make your own bird feeders. I love to see and hear the birds in my garden. So this is something I will be making for them. I especially like the bird seed in the orange holder

        Shared and voted up

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        3 years ago

        Thanks Deb - Right now we are having really cold weather and the birds are devouring any food we put out. Have a nice day and have fun making these!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        3 years ago

        Hi Linda - Your granddaughters will definitely love this one, and they are all easy to do with kids. Our squirrels like these too, but hey, I guess they need food too. Thanks for commenting!

      • DeborahNeyens profile image

        Deborah Neyens 

        3 years ago from Iowa

        Great ideas! Will try some of these.

      • Sunshine625 profile image

        Linda Bilyeu 

        3 years ago from Orlando, FL

        Genius ideas! By me, the squirrels always get to the bird seed before the birds. I like the paper towel roll bird feeder. My granddaughters will enjoy this project also. Thanks Glimmer!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        3 years ago

        Thanks Walker! What a lovely idea for a Christmas walk... just put some of these along the path. That way every creature gets some sort of gift. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • profile image

        Walker 

        3 years ago

        Wonderful ideas for gifting a temporary eco Christmas decoration to a tree at our rural walking track!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        4 years ago

        Hi hiwaka - You are right, hey definitely are not long term feeders, but at least I don't worry about finding them in our woods years from now. Glad you enjoyed the project. Thanks for reading.

      • hiwaka profile image

        hiwaka 

        4 years ago

        I'm all for using biodegradable bird feeders, though I'm a bit skeptical about their longevity. But nevertheless these are great ideas and I'm definitely going to try making one of these very soon.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        4 years ago

        Thanks so much Londonlady! I'm glad you enjoyed it. We have brought out our feeders for the winter here and the birds are already going crazy.

      • Londonlady profile image

        Laura Writes 

        4 years ago

        I have 2 budgies and I think I'm going to try out the "wild" bird feeder ideas for less wild birds. Especially the orange peel one, what a genius idea! ...and the cheerios on a string! This hub is just all sorts of great! :D:D

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Hi RTalloni - I like that they use the string for nesting material too. We just found a wren's nest under our garden so I am very excited today. Thanks for reading.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        5 years ago from the short journey

        These are smart bird feeding ideas and should help get them near my camera's lens. Thanks much! I like that they might use the twine from the cereal garland to help build nests.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thanks Sharkye!! You will have a great time doing this with your daughter.

      • Sharkye11 profile image

        Jayme Kinsey 

        5 years ago from Oklahoma

        Love this hub! Can't wait to try orange boat feeders and cereal garlands. My daughter will love this!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thanks tillsontitan! It was a fun hub to do on a beautiful spring morning. I hope lots of birds will be fat and happy because of this hub.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        I appreciate it Rebecca. I don't like the plastic jug ones either. Sometimes we get such strong winds and they are so light that they blow away. This way, if they blow away, there won't be any plastic floating around in the woods. Thanks for reading.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thanks so much Suzie! I never thought about coconut shells. That would be pretty too, but I don't eat too much fresh coconut. I appreciate the support and comments.

      • tillsontitan profile image

        Mary Craig 

        5 years ago from New York

        I've seen these before Glimmer twin, but having them all put together with such great pictures and directions is definitely a useful hub. I'm sure there'll be lots of new biodegradable bird feeders around because of this!

        Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 

        5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        Cool ideas! And these bird feeders are so much better than those plastic milk jug types! I love the one with orange, and the toilet paper roll one is too cute!

      • Suzie HQ profile image

        Suzanne Ridgeway 

        5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi GTF,

        LOVE this hub! Such brilliant ideas. I have done the orange skin and know of coconut shell being used in a similar way but the rest are so clever! Lucky birdies to have peanut smeared pine cones with goodies atop!! Superb article as always, you never fail to impress! Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, shared everywhere and pinned!!

      • ESPeck1919 profile image

        ESPeck1919 

        5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

        Yeah, I can imagine that. Once our sunflowers bloom, squirrels have a thing for gnawing the blossom off and dragging it to who knows where.

        I'm doing pretty well. Busy, but not bad. Hope all's well with you, too!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thanks ESPeck! I'm looking out my window at the orange cup one right now. Had to make another one because the last one got swiped by a critter. Good thing they only take a few minutes! Hope you are well.

      • ESPeck1919 profile image

        ESPeck1919 

        5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

        These are fantastic!

        We have sunflowers every year, but I think I'll try some of these ideas, too. :)

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thanks so much Kathryn! My daughter is 10 now, but has always enjoyed making different bird feeders over the years.

      • Kathryn Stratford profile image

        Kathryn 

        5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

        These are such cute ideas! I love that you have a bird feeder craft for various ages, and that they use simple items that are either free or cheap, and most likely items people have on hand! Bird seed is pretty cheap, too. Thanks for sharing this with us.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        I hope you and your grandson enjoy making the bird feeders and appreciate all of your support. I love listening to the birds singing too. It's such a beautiful sound. Thanks for reading!

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        5 years ago from sunny Florida

        Great suggestions. When I was a child we used to make these but I have not done so in many years. You have inspired me to do this with my grandson. He will have such fun...he loves the birds...we always have to stop and listen to them sing when we are outside playing.

        Voted up up and away and pinned and shared. :) ps

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Hello catgypsy - Bread is good to, but it can get moldy quickly. On the other hand, it usually gets eaten far too quickly to make a difference. Thanks for commenting.

      • catgypsy profile image

        catgypsy 

        5 years ago from the South

        I love this hub and am definite;y going to make some of these. I break up my stale bread and throw it out in the yard for the birdies right now, but I would love to give them something like these to nibble on. Great hub!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thanks so much FlourishAnyway. The orange one is a fun one to do.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        5 years ago from USA

        Good kid crafts. I especially like the idea of oranges.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Hi faythef - Let me know how it works out. Ours is already empty. Thanks for commenting.

        Martin - Glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for the comments.

        Hi shiningirisheyes - I love how inexpensive they are. It's always nice to do crafts that one has one hand at the house. Some things are so pricey these days.

        Hi Sheri Faye - I think this is one of my favorite kids crafts for all ages and they all seem to enjoy it too. Thanks for commenting.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thank you pinto2011 - This is definitely a craft you could use at home. I appreciate the comments.

        Hi Jackie - I hope you give the orange cup a try. The other benefit besides feeding the birds is that the orange cup really brightens up the trees. It's fun to see that pop of orange. Thanks for commenting.

        savingKathy - I hope your kids have fun trying this. I know my daughter loves doing these. Thanks for reading.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        the girls - Thanks so much for the comments. We have other bird feeders too, but my daughter likes to hang feeders all over the yard and it's easy to forget one for us. Glad you liked the hub.

        caseymel - My daughter and her friends love making these too. They get such a kick out of it. Hope your kids have fun too. Thanks for reading.

        Thank you aviannovice - This would be a good idea for a school group and even a summer camp group. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

      • Sheri Faye profile image

        Sheri Dusseault 

        5 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

        Great ideas. These would be fun childrens projects.

      • shiningirisheyes profile image

        Shining Irish Eyes 

        5 years ago from Upstate, New York

        Wonderful concepts and so inexpensive and easy to create. Thanks for the suggestions.

      • Mhatter99 profile image

        Martin Kloess 

        5 years ago from San Francisco

        Great ideas. Thank you so much

      • faythef profile image

        Faythe Payne 

        5 years ago from USA

        Thank You..I think I will try the orange peel this week

      • savingkathy profile image

        Kathy Sima 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        These are all great ideas! I'll have to try some of these with the kids soon. Thanks for sharing!

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 

        5 years ago from The Beautiful South

        I have done the pine cone one, and I never dreamed of the fruit boats, that is so smart! I will do it! Thanks!

      • pinto2011 profile image

        Subhas 

        5 years ago from New Delhi, India

        Hi Gimmer! This is a very useful Idea. Can I use it at home?

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        This is wonderful! This can teach kids so much about attracting our feathered friends with simple projects that they will enjoy. I'll bet if you are able to visit a grammar school, you'll have all the kids doing this, and they can teach friends and relatives. Awesome and up.

      • caseymel profile image

        caseymel 

        5 years ago from Indiana

        That's a great idea! My kids and I will have fun making these!

      • the girls profile image

        Theresa Ventu 

        5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

        Very interesting article. I usually wash plastic cups or non-biodegradable containers as bird feeders. Thank you for the wonderful ideas to use the biodegradable ones. Voted up 3x :-)

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thanks Mary Merriment! Everything I used to make these was in my house which is my favorite kind of craft to do. I'm looking at a bird feeding out of the orange cup as I type this.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Hi Patsybell - That is another great eco-friendly way to feed the birds. I love those sunflowers with the huge heads and so do the birds. Thanks for commenting!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Thank you so much Angelo52. They were really fun to make!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Hi Bill - I hope you get loads of birds in your garden when you do these. The peanut butter ones get a bit messy and I ate half of the cereal, but that is part of the fun. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile imageAUTHOR

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        I appreciate the support Jill! It's fun to feed the birds these ways and it takes almost no time at all. Thanks for reading!

      • Mary Merriment profile image

        Mary Merriment 

        5 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

        These are great, simple, inexpensive and fun ways to feed birds. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas.

      • Patsybell profile image

        Patsy Bell Hobson 

        5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

        Great ideas. The only reason I grow sunflowers is to attract birds. Your ideas will "extend the season." Voted up and useful.

      • Angelo52 profile image

        Angelo52 

        5 years ago from Central Florida

        4 great ideas for making easy birdfeeders. Thumbs up and shared.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 years ago from Olympia, WA

        This is so clever. I would have never thought of these, but you can bet we will be trying them now. Thank you for some great ideas. Our birds will be quite pleased. :)

      • The Dirt Farmer profile image

        Jill Spencer 

        5 years ago from United States

        I've done the pine cone feeders but not the oranges. Love that! What an awesome hub. Voted up, shared & pinned. Thanks!

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