Do you love watching the birds in your garden? Can you identify the different species and are you fascinated by their little antics as they come and go? Do you care enough to spot the occasional health problem, maybe consulting an online symptom checker to see what your feathered friend might be suffering from?
If you’re a bird lover and could happily spend hours watching them feed and interact, making your own bird feeder is an excellent way to attract all sorts of birds to your garden. Of course, home made bird feeders can take many different shapes and sizes, but whichever design you choose, make sure it is fit for purpose.
Your feeding table should have a roof to keep the seed as dry as possible, and a little lip around the edge of the feeding table to stop any food from falling off. Seed on the ground can attract rats and mice, which is the last thing you want in your garden.
Here’s a basic wooden bird feeder that should do the job nicely. Even if you’re not a do-it-yourself expert, you’ll have a lot of fun putting this easy-to-construct feeder together in 5 simple steps.
Here’s what you need
A bird feeding table can be made from spare timber you may have lying around in your garden or shed, or you can buy the wood cheaply from any hardware store. This particular design is very straightforward and is really simple to make.
Table Top 18 mm thick plywood, 24 inches long x 16 inches wide
Side Supports 8 inches high x 3 inches wide
Side Sections 18 inches wide and 4 inches at the highest point
Edge Trim 4 x 1-inch x 1-inch soft wood battens
Roof 4-inch feather board plus some angle bead for the ridge line of the roof
Support Brackets 4 x metal angle brackets
Wood glue (exterior)
Central Post 2 inches x 2 inches thick and around 5ft long (it’s best to buy a treated post as this will last a lot longer)
Post Stabilisers 2-inch x 2-inch softwood
You’ll also need a power drill, a screwdriver, some screws and pins, a hammer, a mitre block and a tenon saw for cutting the 45-degree angles.
Construction in 5 easy steps
- First, using a saw, cut the edge trim to size and pin it all around the outer lip of the table top. Now secure the table top to the central post using a couple of screws about two inches long – for added support screw on the 4 angle brackets underneath the table top as shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Angle Brackets for extra support
- It’s vital that your feeder is sturdily built and remains stable in bad weather. Most commercial feeders have legs that are fixed at a 45-degree angle. This is the best way to ensure stability. In order to cut the 45 degree angles, you’ll need your mitre block and tenon saw. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: 45 degree angles fixed with screws
- Once you’ve dealt with the legs, you can now add the supports and side pieces to the feeder table top. You’ll need your drill and a few more screws to do this. For the roof you can use any thin board, but what works really well is feather board … and it looks great as a bird table roof.
- Finish off the roof by adding a piece of angle bead. This will allow the water to run off the ridge and keep the inside of the feeder watertight.
Figure 3: Roof with feather board and angle bead
- Of course, you might also want to paint the feeder. If so, it’s best to use a paint that has a water-based preservative. You should only use paint that’s non-toxic so that your feathered friends don’t come to any harm.
You might also like to fit a few hooks around the outside of your new bird feeder. These are useful for hanging fat cakes and netted peanuts and any other bird food that fits neatly onto the end of a hook.
Finally, for inspiration or if you feel like stretching your DIY skills to a more advanced level, here’s a video demonstration of how to make a beautifully ornate little bird feeder.
What should you feed the birds at your table?
Once your DIY bird feeder is ready to go, it’s time to fill it with bird food. There’s a wide choice of food for garden birds available; why not try a combination of wild bird seed, peanuts and fat cakes (which you can make yourself). You can also put out all sorts of fruit including sliced apples, pears, grapes and pieces of melon.