The much anticipated birds, bees and butterfly series begins with a super simple family project… a backyard/balcony/local park/anywhere-you-can-hang-it bird feeder. Yes, soon you will be joining my daughter in calling out to your fine feathered neighbours, “Birdies, come eat at our house! We have food for you!”
Full-disclosure: I totally took the easy way out with this project. With a long list of construction projects already going on in our backyard, when I came across this easy-to-assemble wooden bird feeder I made an impulse buy.
On a Sunday morning I gathered my construction crew and within less than 15 minutes we had a new bird buffet hanging in our yard.
This little wooden beauty was truly so simple that a two year-old could assemble it (with a little help). The wood fits together like a puzzle with no need for nails or glue. Clever design.
But anything can serve as a receptacle for your bird buffet–feel free to get creative (ideas below). Some things you may want to consider are a feeder that keeps the bird seed dry and adding a little cayenne pepper to the bird food to keep squirrels from stealing the meal from the birds. A wise plant biologist recommended the cayenne tip. A good example of know thy enemy: only mammals (including squirrels) can taste cayenne, birds cannot. So the cayenne discourages the squirrels while the birds don’t even notice the spice.
When you’re looking for what to feed your local birds black oil sunflower seeds are the most popular choice–broadly appreciated by birds and widely available. The black oil sunflower seeds have a higher fat content and a thinner shell that is more easily opened by birds than other types of sunflower seeds. Hulled sunflower seeds are another option. Millet and even peanuts can be added to the mix.
The addition of cayenne makes the bird feed a little bit more risky for kids to handle, but as long as you use a spoon to stir in the cayenne and keep fingers (that could then be rubbed into eyes) out of the seed mix you should be okay. Filling the feeder is an exciting moment, but not as rewarding as when your first diners stop by.
Making and hanging bird feeders could become a hobby in itself. Don’t limit yourself to your own yard or balcony, string some feeders among the trees at your local park or community garden and bring a little more life to your favourite parks.
I hope you find something you like in these bird feeder ideas. Connecting a little more closely with some of our non-human neighbours is a great way to get kids excited about the natural world and how they can be a part of it.
If you’re looking for some other activities to inspire kids, check out the upcoming events posted on the Little Bean Farms’ On the Farm page.
Enjoy the sun and see you next week for talk of bees and butterflies.