Before having our kids, I was devoted to our backyard birds. I made sure they were always well fed and even ordered no sprout food in bulk online (to avoid weeds). Then, life happened and we had four babies at one time. I had no time for the birds as I was busy feeding my own flock. When our babies became toddlers, there was still no time or opportunity to feed the birds. Now, that they are preschool age and have an interest in birds, the wild birds are being welcomed back into our yard. We made finch feeders which was a fun engineering project for the kids using inexpensive and re-purposed supplies.
Build a Finch Bird Feeder 2 Ways With Simple Supplies
Feeder #1: Double Decker Luxury Finch Bird Feeder
You Will Need:
- Two pairs of girls tights or two pairs of dollar store nylons/tights. We used tights that Capri used to wear in dance class at age 3.
- One 7 Hook Rack (which we found at the dollar store) (see picture below)
- Two Mesh Laundry Bags with zippers (also found at the dollar store) (see image below)
- One or two pipe cleaners (chenille stems) or gardening wire
- Duct tape
- Nyjer seed to fill the feeder
- Scissors that you feel comfortable with your kids using to poke holes in the tights
- Scoop or large funnel
Open up the 7 hook rack and duct tape the center of it so that it is no longer movable. Have your children put the mesh laundry bags through the two openings so that there is one circle on either side of the feeder with the zipper in the middle (as shown below).
Cut the pipe cleaners or wire into pieces and use them to secure the mesh bags to the feeder using the holes in the rack (like the ones pictured above nearest to Xayden’s hands).
Next, cut the legs off of the two pairs of tights and have the children fill each one with nyjer seed. They can scoop it out and pour it in or pour it through the large funnel. If you don’t have a scoop or funnel, they can simply put it in with their hands. Have the children take turns holding the tights open and filling them with the nyjer seed. Once each one is filled, loosely knot the tops so they won’t spill but can be reused. Then, have the children poke lots of tiny holes in the filled tights using the sharp end of the scissors. This needs to be supervised (depending on the age and skills of the child for safety reasons).
Unzip the zipper in the center of each mesh bag and place one filled tight ‘bag’ on each side of the zipper (two per mesh bag). Hang the feeder on a hook using the top of the feeder itself over the hook or using strong wire. We tried to use a pipe cleaner at first, but it was not strong enough to hold in the wind with the weight of the feeder. It held much better simply hooked from the top of the rack itself.
Feeder #2: Simple Sock Style Feeder:
You Will Need:
- One pair of re-purposed girls’ tights or a pair of dollar store tights/nylons
- Dollar store plastic nut cracker
- Nyjer seed
- Scoop or large funnel
- Empty yogurt cup (we used a Greek yogurt cup-see photo)
Cut off one leg of the tights leaving the top part of the tights intact. Have your child place the yogurt cup in the foot of the tights open side down. use the scissors (adult task) to poke a large hole through the yogurt cup on both sides so that you can insert the nut cracker. Insert the open nut cracker through the holes in the yogurt cup facing the direction where it cannot collapse when the birds stand on it. The center of the nutcracker is larger than the outside which should prevent the nutcracker from coming out of the yogurt cup. If the holes you cut are too large and it is at risk of coming out, you can always reinforce it with duct tape. Have your children fill the feeder as described in the directions for feeder #1 above and poke holes for the birds with scissors.
Grab the part of the tights not filled with seeds at the top and turn it through the hole to make a loop as shown in the picture. This allows you to refill the feeder as it is not a knot. Hand the feeder up and enjoy watching the finches indulge. Note: This photo was taken before the holes were poked through. Your feeder will have tiny holes poked all through the feeder to make it easier for the birds to access the seeds.
Looking for more STEM ideas? Check out the rest of the ideas featured on 31 Days Of Outdoor Stem over at Little Bins for Little Hands!