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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Create a Backyard Bird Oasis!

Create a Backyard Bird Oasis!

One of the best parts about spring and summer is waking up to sunshine and singing birds. If you’re a lover of these peaceful singsongs, why not enjoy them all day long by adding birdfeeders to your garden? Attracting birds to your backyard offers an array of benefits to your family and your garden–for example, birds help to control pests, such as mosquitoes and spiders, which may help limit your use of harsh chemicals on plants.

Bird feeding began in the days of Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau, when new city dwellers longed for an outlet to nature. They began to use birdbaths and birdfeeders to mimic the environment that drew these creatures, so that they could enjoy their presence.

By providing an outdoor oasis for neighborhood birds, you’re also providing an educational resource for your family. Children will enjoy watching the birds and squirrels sneak some food from your feeder. They’ll be able to experience nature up close, right in their backyard. And when winter frost rolls around and food becomes scarce, these birds will remember your backyard and gain much-needed energy for their flights south.

Here are some projects that will make a fun summer activity for the whole family. So head out to buy some birdseed, and spend an afternoon building feeders–your children will love watching the birds fly in to have a taste!

For the Kids: A PB & Seed Birdfeeder
Materials:
Empty toilet paper roll
Smooth peanut butter
Birdseed
Twine or String (Stray from bright colors, as that might deter the birdies from visiting.)

- Cut a stretch of twine and wrap through the toilet paper roll. Be sure to tie the ends together with a strong knot, leaving enough twine to hang the roll from a tree.
- Use a spoon or knife to gently spread the peanut butter around the entire outer area of the toilet paper roll.
- Spread a handful of birdseed on a sheet of wax paper, and roll the peanut butter-covered cardboard until it’s completely covered in birdseed.
- Take your new birdfeeder out and hang it on a tree near the window, so your munchkins can watch when the birds stop by for a treat.

For the Garden: A Vintage-Inspired Teacup Birdfeeder
Materials:
Antique teacup and plate (Round these up secondhand at places such as Goodwill or garage sales. You’ll get a great, inexpensive variety.)
Epoxy adhesive, such as E6000
1/2” Copper pipe, around 3 ft. long (Find this at your local hardware store.)
1/2” Copper Cap
Rough Sandpaper
Q-Tip
Birdseed

- With sandpaper, lightly sand the base of the teacup and area of the plate on which it will sit. Creating a rough surface will help the glue bond strongly.
- Add glue to the base of the teacup, and press down firmly onto to the plate. Apply pressure with something heavy, such as a book, and allow to dry completely.
- Once the glue has cured completely, turn the plate over. Use sandpaper to lightly sand the middle of the plate’s bottom.
- Lightly sand the top of the copper cap, and glue firmly to the bottom of the plate. Again, adding a small weight while this dries will help create a strong bond.
- Push the copper pipe into the ground of your garden, and set up the fully cured teacup feeder by attaching the copper cap to the pipe.
- Fill with birdseed, and enjoy!

6 comments

1 Jaime McLeod { 05.31.12 at 4:12 pm }

Ginger, It won’t kill the grass, no, but depending on the seed, some of them may take root and grow. Whether that’s a problem or not depends on how much of a grass purist you are. I’ve had sunflowers I didn’t plant, and even corn, sprout up in my flowerboxes near the bird feeders. If you mow regularly, though, you won’t see anything that dramatic.

2 citizen montag { 05.31.12 at 12:32 pm }

The seed is good for the birds and the song and activity good for you. We like to plant birdseed like millet so they have a recurring foodsource, and it is cheaper than buying seed.

3 Ginger { 05.31.12 at 12:29 pm }

My mom heard that if you use birdfeeders over your lawn, and some seed spills out, it kills the grass. Is that true??

4 BC Lassie { 05.30.12 at 6:25 pm }

Making your own suet feeders are fun. I mix peanut butter–left over bacon fat — bird seed — sunflower seeds — and a 1/4 cp mixed frozen berries cranberries – blueberries etc. I use square sandwich plastic containers and line them with saran wrap (for easy removal) fill it up and put it in the freezer. When frozen remove and plob in your suet feeder. I make about 10 at a time in one batch and it works out to less than .50cents each. Way cheaper than buying them prepackaged at the store. I know my birds around here just love them.

5 TLM { 05.30.12 at 1:16 pm }

We use pine cones instead of toilet paper rolls for the peanut butter – bird seed feeders. The chickadees love them in the winter.

6 B. Jeffries { 05.30.12 at 10:35 am }

great ideas

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