How to fail and succeed at making a bird feeder

Every once in a while, I decide to make something. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. In the case of building a bird feeder, I did both.

Last weekend, I was cruising around the internet and found instructions on how to make a bird feeder out of an empty wine bottle, of which I have a few. I enlisted my boyfriend Derek in the project and we headed to the hardware store to purchase a $30 glass drill bit.

photo1Long story short, we drilled for hours and broke three wine bottles. I’m well aware that we must have been doing something wrong, but by suppertime, we simply threw in the towel.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again — but do something a little different the second time.

So I found a different type of homemade bird feeder, one that didn’t require drilling glass until your arms hurt. Then we modified it a bit.

birdfeed1Materials: a glass bottle; a small glass bowl; three nails (or screws); a hammer; a drill; some thick; malleable wire; scrap wood; superglue or some sort of adhesive; and a screw hook to hang the feeder.

Since I didn’t have any extra glassware around, I visited a local antique shop and purchased an old Coca-Cola bottle and an old glass medicine bottle for $2.50 each. I also picked up some old glass bowls (big enough to hold dip or berries).

In our scary dirt basement, we cut an old piece of cedar fencing in two pieces: a square larger than the base of our glass bowl, and a rectangle about 6 inches longer than our glass bottle and a few inches wider than our glass bottle. We then nailed the two pieces of wood together at a 90 degree angle, creating an L-shaped shelf.

birdfeed2We drilled two holes in the wood to snake wire through, then created two wire loops to hold the glass bottle about 4 inches above the base of the shelf. And on the base, we glued the glass bowl (so its edge was just above the mouth of the upside-down bottle). After screwing a hook on the top, the bird feeder was almost ready to hang outside on the fence. In fact, Derek made a one and I made one, so we had two.

The next morning, I made a funnel out of newspaper and filled both glass bottles with birdseed. Plugging the top of the bottles with my fingers, I turned them upside down, placed them in the wire loops and let go. Bird seed spilled into the glass bowls below, stopping when the seed reached the mouth of the bottle. Voila, a simple, refilling bird feeder. Lets hope the birds like it.

To learn about the importance of cleaning your feeders (and beneath them) and the different food that can attract a variety of birds to your yard, check out a recent story I wrote, “Maine experts offer advice on how to attract returning birds to your backyard.”

Recommend this article
Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.