Attracting birds to your garden with repurposed feeders has a number of benefits:
- They are attractive and incredibly interesting
- You get to help local wildlife, and some of those species may be endangered.
- You’re repurposing something you’d normally throw away or recycle
- Many smaller bird species, once they’re in your garden, will feast on insect and invertebrate pests that would otherwise damage your plants, whether ornamental or edible.
Making a juice carton bird feeder (or a milk carton bird feeder) is incredibly simple and, if you’ve got kids, it’s a fun, educational activity for them, too.
- Milk or juice carton
- A craft knife or pair of sharp scissors
- A strong twig or thin piece of dowel
- Wild bird food
- Whatever you want to decorate it with
- Some lolly sticks, some twigs from the garden, or a flat piece of plastic
- Non-toxic glue
First things first, wash out the carton with a little detergent and warm water, then rinse and flush thoroughly with just water. Stand it upside down to drain and dry off.
About 1.5 inches from the bottom of the carton, cut out a rounded door shape roughly 3 inches tall in the front. Repeat this on the back side.
Pierce two small holes in the upper lip of the carton to thread your string through.
Cut away the round plastic spout (if your carton has one).
Glue the lolly sticks or flat piece of plastic onto the sloping edges at the top of the carton. Make sure the sticks are long enough to protrude over the front and back edges, as this helps to ensure the seed remains dry when it rains.
Thread string through the two holes in the upper lip, so you can easily hang the feeder in a tree.
Decorate. While you can leave the feeder plain, if you’ve got kids or just enjoy getting creative, decorating the carton is a fun activity. Additionally, adding bright color will encourage more birds to visit. Paint the body and cover it in paper flowers or paint it red with black spots to look like a giant ladybug. Once you’ve finished decorating, set it aside and allow it to dry.
Once the feeder is dry, grab yourself a sturdy twig or a thin dowel rod. Push it through the juice carton bird feeder, below the cut-out door shape, and out the other side. This provides a comfortable perch for visiting birds while they enjoy their feast.
Fill the base of juice carton bird feeder with good quality wild bird seed, preferably organic. You can also use nuts, like peanuts. During cold weather, opt for high energy food such as black sunflower seeds and nuts. Once filled, simply hang your feeder on a tree branch and wait for the birds to arrive.