We’ve been thinking of ways we can connect and care for each other during this winter lockdown. Making your own bird feeder using recycled glass bottles is a fantastic way to encourage birds to visit your garden. The birds appreciate the steady supply of nourishment during these cold winter months, and beyond. You’ll love their charming company infusing your garden with song.
In fact, a survey conducted by the Natural History Museum during the pandemic revealed that 73% of us said we heard more bird song during lockdown, probably in part due to heavily reduced traffic and other human noise. Three scientific case studies conducted through the Museum show that bird song soothes our stress and fatigue levels. A beautiful glass bottle bird feeder is a wonderful gift, perfect for brightening a loved one’s day.
Upcycle your glass wine bottles and make new friends
For the cost of your favourite bottle of wine (or water) and easily sourced materials you may have waiting in your shed, you can fill your garden with song birds. If you collect coloured glass wine bottles, they make fantastic bird feeders. This straightforward process is an ideal craft project for all age groups. Making your own glass bottle bird feeder takes roughly a relaxed morning or afternoon’s work. An enjoyable, absorbing activity for children taking a well-earned break from remote learning. Or a fun step by step project for tech-savvy friends and family to make together, connecting online.
How to make a simple bird feeder using glass bottles
Start with an empty glass wine or water bottle. You’ll need a 20cm thick and 1metre long board of exterior grade plywood, easily sourced from your local hardware shop or online. Exterior plywood ensures that your glass bottle bird feeder withstands blustery weather.
Using your wine bottle as a measure, cut the rectangle backboard 150mm bigger than the glass bottle. Then cut the bird feeder table and glass bottle neck supports. These need to be 10mm larger than your glass bottle. A handy hole saw will create the centre of your bird feeder’s glass bottle neck support. Sandpaper for a cosy fit that will hold your glass bottle in place.
Next, secure your bird feeder table to the base of your bird feeder backboard. Secure 10mm strips of ply around the perimeter of your table. If you have any extra beading to hand, this is ideal. These serve as guard rails against seed spillage and to help reduce waste.
A beautiful glass bottle bird feeder
Stepping away from the bird feeder table for a moment, pick up the glass wine bottle and place inside the neck support. Return to the bird feeder table and place the glass bottle (still inside its neck support) on the backboard, roughly 20mm from the surface of the bird feeder table. With your pencil, crayon, sharpie or chalk, mark the spot where your neck support will go. Remove the bottle, and attach the neck support to the backboard at your mark with screws.
Now make some plywood support for the bottle base using plywood strips 20mm wide. These pieces of plywood must also be 20mm wider than the width of your glass wine bottle. While we are here, a clever cross beam will help finish the bird feeder nicely. Add another 20mm slice of plywood. Your goal is a cosy hold on the plywood, allowing for flexibility without any annoying rattling.
The best location for your glass wine bottle bird feeder
Birds need a good vantage point in order to feel safe enough to feed. Position your glass bottle feeder in a quieter area, away from busy communal areas. An ideal location for your glass wine bottle bird feeder is near smaller bushes and shrubbery. The birds use the shrubs as a perch. It gives them somewhere to line up to feed, digest their food, rest and monitor the garden for a stealthy cat or curious dog.
Discourage our furry friends from visiting your bird feeder by positioning away from boundary fences, overhanging branches and cables. The more open the space is around the bird feeder, the better.
Food for your new feathered friends
Fill your glass bottle with food for your new feathered friends. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) recommends black sunflower and sunflower hearts for nourishment all year round. These gorgeous glossy seeds have plenty of oils essential for birds’ vitality.
Once your glass bottle bird feeder is installed, you can enjoy the action at a discreet distance, perhaps with binoculars, a sketch book, watercolour paints, or an SLR camera. Perfect for a relaxing reprieve from the world with a cuppa, listening to birds’ tuneful chatter as they happily snack on seeds.