Feathered Friends: Making a bird feeder

Birds come in all shapes and sizes. In the UK alone, over 400 different species of birds have been recorded. They are entertaining to watch, sometimes funny and often beautiful.

August is a particularly good time to help our feathered friends. Moulting season, which is when birds shed their damaged feathers and grow new ones for the winter, is a tiring time. Birds have less energy and are unable to fly as far while they regrow their feathers.

Luckily, DIY bird feeders are easy for you and your child to make together and hang in your garden or balcony. Here are two simple methods that can be adapted depending on the materials you can find.

Toilet roll bird feeder

You will need:

  • Empty toilet roll tube
  • String
  • Bird seed
  • Edible sticky food such as lard or vegetable suet
  • Tray


  • Spread lard or suet over the empty toilet roll tube
  • Sprinkle bird seed onto the tray and roll the tube in the seeds
  • Thread a short length of string through the middle of the tube and tie the ends together
  • Let your child choose a place to hang the feeder from
  • Remove and recycle the feeder once all the seeds have been eaten

Later on in the year, try using this technique with pine cones instead of toilet rolls.

Depending on your preference, lard, meat suet and vegetable suet can all be used to make a bird feeder. Do not use margarine or butter, as these are harmful to birds. Take a look at the RSPCA’s picture guide on which foods you can safely feed to birds.

Orange seed bowl bird feeders
You can make two feeders using one orange!

You will need:

  • Orange
  • String
  • Bird seed


  • Cut an orange in half
  • Use a spoon to hollow out just the centre of the half, leaving some of the juicy flesh round the outside
  • Make four holes in the sides of an orange half and thread string through so it looks like a hanging basket
  • Help your child fill each orange half with seeds
  • Hang outside

Birds will enjoy the seeds, as well as the vitamins and energy from the sweet, juicy orange.


Check out the RSPB’s Birdwatching Guide for Children and download their handy Birdwatching checklist.


Books to read and inspire your child

  • Nest by Jorey Hurley, fiction, 1-2 years
  • No Two Alike by Keith Baker, fiction, 1-2 years
  • Bird Sounds by Sam Taplin, non-fiction, 3-5 years
  • My First Book of Birds by Zoe Ingram, non-fiction, 4+ years
  • Vanilla Ice Cream by Bob Graham, fiction, 4-7 years


More information:

If you’d like to try and identify the birds on your feeder take a look at the RSPB online bird identifier: