10 DIY winter birding ideas

Winter is the most wonderful time of year to spread some cheer and decorate - even for the birds! Try making these festive bird feeders to hang from your outdoor trees, hooks, and fences that provide food for the birds and double as beautiful holiday decorations this season!

Plus, if you have little ones at home for the holidays, this list is packed with easy DIY bird feeders that you can make together!

DIY winter bird feeders

  1. Bird garland

This colorful cranberry garland is as festive as it is yummy for the birds! String it around your trees outside and the birds will be grateful!

You’ll need:

  • String, twine, or yarn (avoid fishing line or floss)
  • Air popped popcorn (unsalted, unbuttered)
  • Cranberries, blueberries, or other berries (fresh or dried)
  • Orange slices (fresh)
  • Cheerios (optional – great for kids!)

How to make it:

To avoid a tangle threat once the garland has been eaten, cut your string into several separate lengths instead of one long length. Tie a knot on one end and string the treats in fun alternating patterns. Close the strand with another knot. String the garland around outdoor trees for a delightfully festive treat for the birds!

  1. Peanut butter pinecone bird feeder

With a couple of swipes of peanut butter and some tasty seed, this simple pinecone bird feeder is sure to bring joy to the birds this season!

You’ll need:

  • Pinecone
  • String, twine, or yarn (avoid fishing line or floss)
  • Peanut butter
  • Bird seed

How to make it:

Cut a small length of string, thread it around one of the top layers of the pinecone and tie it tight. Then tie the remaining string in a knot to form a loop. Spread the peanut butter generously around and in between the pinecone layers. Pour the bird seed out onto a plate and roll the sticky pinecone into the bird seed to complete your pinecone bird feeder!

  1. Ice cube bird feeder

Take a look at these stunning frozen ornaments for outdoor trees! As the ice melts, birds will be able to access the treats inside.

 

You’ll need:

  • Cylinder molds (like a donut pan or silicone tray)
  • String, twine, or yarn (avoid fishing line or floss)
  • Water
  • Bird seed, corn kernels, or nuts
  • Cranberries, blueberries, apple slices, or orange slices (fresh or dried)
  • Optional: Pine sprigs, boxwood leaves or pinecones

How to make it:

Place bird seed and fruit into festive patterns inside each cylinder mold. Fill the molds 2/3 of the way with water and place into the freezer for 3-4 hours. Remove the ice from the molds and tie a string around it for a hanger. Hang the ornaments in a place that receives sun.

  1. Holiday mug bird feeder

Have too many holiday mugs on your hands? Why not share one with the birds? Cheers!

You’ll need:

  • Holiday mug
  • String, twine, or yarn (avoid fishing line or floss)
  • Peanut butter or suet packet
  • Bird seed
  • Spoon or stick

How to make it:

Tie the string around the mug to create a hanger. The bird seed mix will be one part peanut butter or suet to two parts bird seed. If using peanut butter, mix one cup of peanut butter with 2 cups of bird seed. If using suet, follow the instructions to melt the suet over a low heat and follow the same 2:1 ratio for the mix. Pour the mix into a holiday mug, flatten it out, and place a stick or spoon opposite the handle for a perch. Place the mug into the freezer to set for 3-4 hours. Remove from the freezer and hang on a strong tree branch or shepherd’s hook.

  1. Snowman bird feeder

Enlist the help of Frosty the snowman to help you feed the birds this winter!

You’ll need:

  • Snowman
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Bird seed

How to make it:

Once your snowman has been carefully and magically created, place bird seed on his hat and gloves to help him feed the birds!

  1. Birdseed cookie cutter ornaments

Decorate your outdoor trees by hanging these festive birdseed ornaments to spread some delicious holiday cheer!

You’ll need:

  • Bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Bird seed
  • String, twine, or yarn (avoid fishing line or floss)
  • Cookie cutters

How to make it:

Pour out the bird seed onto a plate. Take a slice of bread and use cookie cutters to cut into fun shapes. Toast each shape and spread peanut butter on both sides. Dip both sides of the toast into the bird seed to coat. Poke a hole through the toast using a straw, skewer, or other thin and round object. Cut small lengths of string or twine and thread them through the holes. Hang them from outdoor trees for the birds to enjoy!

  1. Magic reindeer food

Sprinkle it on the lawn before night and the moon will make it sparkle bright! As Santa’s reindeer fly and roam, this will guide them to your home!

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup birdseed
  • 4 tablespoons red colored sugar
  • 4 tablespoons green colored sugar

How to make it:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and transfer to individual plastic bags. If desired, attach the poem above to each bag. On Christmas Eve, sprinkle the magic reindeer food on the lawn and watch it disappear the next morning!

  1. Wreath bird feeder

This gorgeous wreath bird feeder is fun to make, nutritious for the birds, and makes a stunning yard decoration. Create one and hang it outside your window this winter for festive birding fun!

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 8 cups bird seed
  • Cranberries (fresh or dried)
  • Bundt pan
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Strong ribbon

How to make it:

Prepare the Bundt pan by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray. Bring the water and corn syrup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and add the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin dissolves, then remove from heat. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in the flour. Add the birdseed and stir to combine.

Place the cranberries around the Bundt pan and pour the seed mixture on top. Once all the mixture is in the pan, press it down firmly to ensure it molds to the desired shape. Let the wreath dry for a full 24 hours. Once dried, remove the wreath from the pan and tie a strong ribbon through it to hang.

How else can you help the birds this winter?

Christmas tree bird shelter
While birds and critters have many ways to keep warm in the winter, they still seek protection from storms, wind, and extreme temperatures. Instead of tossing out your Christmas tree, set it outside to provide a place for birds to shelter.

Holiday window clings to prevent bird window strikes
Millions of birds die each year due to reflective glass on our home windows. To help prevent fatal window collisions, keep your window stickers and decorations up or swap them out according to the season!

In addition to your window décor, put up a window bird feeder to watch the birds up close like never before! Our Clear View window feeder is built with a suction cup mounting system that attaches directly to your window.

For more information on how you can retrofit your windows to prevent bird collisions, visit the American Bird Conservancy website.

 

Check out our winter birding guide for more cold weather birding tips!



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