Repurposing Leftover Straws Into A Bird Feeder
As someone who cares about reducing waste and helping our feathered friends, I often look for creative ways to repurpose household items. One fun project is turning leftover straws into an easy DIY bird feeder. Not only does this give new life to materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill, it also provides a great activity for children while benefiting local birds. In this article, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide to making your own straw bird feeder, along with tips on where to hang it and what food to put inside. Let’s get started!
What You’ll Need
To make a straw bird feeder, you only need a few basic craft supplies:
Plastic straws – Make sure to wash and dry thoroughly. You’ll need around 15-20 straws.
Scissors – For cutting the straws.
Twine or string – Used to tie the straws together. Natural fibers like jute work well.
Bird seed – Black oil sunflower seeds are a great option that many birds like.
Peanut butter – Used to help the seeds stick to the straws. Choose an all-natural peanut butter.
Popsicle sticks – Help provide a perch place for birds to land on.
Decorations – Things like ribbons, bells, and stickers to personalize your feeder.
Constructing the Bird Feeder
Follow these simple steps to assemble your straw bird feeder:
Step 1: Cut the Straws
Use scissors to cut the straws into 2-3 inch segments. You want them short enough to make assembling easier but still long enough to hold some seeds.
Step 2: Group and Tie the Straws
Take 3-4 straw pieces and tie them together at the center with twine. Repeat this to create 4-5 small bundles.
Step 3: Tie Bundles Together
Now take your straw bundles and tie them all together, leaving a loop at the top for hanging. Place a popsicle stick across two sides of the feeder as a perch if desired.
Step 4: Coat with Peanut Butter
Use a butter knife to generously coat the outside of the straws with peanut butter. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Step 5: Coat with Bird Seed
While the peanut butter is still sticky, roll the feeder in a shallow dish of bird seed until the straws are completely covered. Add any decorative embellishments if desired.
Step 6: Hang Your Feeder
Once assembled, hang your straw feeder from a tree branch, hook, or shepherds pole using the loop of twine. Choose a sheltered spot about 5-6 feet off the ground.
Where to Place Your Feeder
When deciding where to hang your straw bird feeder, keep these tips in mind:
Look for a location with natural cover like trees or shrubs. This gives birds a place to shelter as they come and go.
Avoid high winds that could blow the feeder around. Find a spot with good protection.
Place away from windows so birds don’t collide with them. Position against a neutral background.
Consider your viewing opportunities. Hang the feeder where you can enjoy watching birds from your home.
Keep about 5-10 feet off the ground. This helps deter predators while still being accessible to small birds.
What to Put in Your Upcycled Feeder
The straw feeder itself provides a great platform, but you’ll need to fill it with nutritious foods that birds like. Here are some of the best options:
Black oil sunflower seeds are a favorite of many small-beaked birds like chickadees, titmice, finches, and cardinals.
Millet attracts ground-feeding birds like doves, juncos, towhees, and sparrows.
Safflower seeds appeal to cardinals, titmice, finches, and chickadees. Squirrels tend to dislike them!
Nyjer seed is loved by finches and pine siskins for its high oil content. Use a mesh bag to contain the tiny seeds.
Suet provides fat and protein for woodpeckers, nuthatches, and wrens. Offer suet in a specialized suet cage feeder.
Peanut butter is relished by woodpeckers and chickadees. Mix with seeds or stuff into pine cones.
By offering a variety of bird feeds in your straw feeder, you’re sure to attract diverse avian species to your yard!
Bird Watching Through Your Window
One of the best parts of having a bird feeder is getting to watch all the feathered activity up close right from your home. Here are some tips to enhance your bird watching:
Keep binoculars and a bird field guide nearby for easy identification.
A bird watching notebook lets you log dates and species you see.
Taking photos of visiting birds is a fun way to document them.
Clean windows allow you an unobstructed view of the feeder action.
Using a bird watching app can help you identify different songs and calls.
Invite others like kids or grandchildren to share in the experience with you.
With your repurposed straw feeder providing a steady food source, you’re bound to attract an assortment of colorful and interesting birds to observe. Enjoy getting to know your new feathered friends!
Crafting your own bird feeder from used straws is an easy, eco-friendly project that anyone can tackle. With just a few basic materials and simple steps, you can create a nice perching and feeding spot that makes great use of throwaway items. Finding the right location, filling it with nutritious foods, and taking time to birdwatch are key to getting the most out of your straw feeder. I hope you’ll give this project a try and discover just how rewarding it can be help our fine feathered friends while reducing household waste. Get creative with your own designs and see what interesting birds stop by your new backyard habitat!