Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Feeding wild birds in your garden is important year round. But many bird feeders, particularly the plastic ones, can look a little ugly, especially in the winter when they are hanging off bare branches without leaves to disguise them.
So why not have a go at making a more natural looking feeder, which will help the birds and look attractive? Our simple to make peanut feeder will do just that.
Please note – it’s important not to feed loose peanuts to birds in the spring and summer months when they are nesting as they are not an appropriate food for chicks. Peanuts in ‘wire cage’ style feeders are OK as the birds can only peck out a little at a time.
Here’s how to create your own winter peanut feeder:
1. You’ll need some strong but flexible wire, we used 0.9mm galvanised wire. Something similar will be available in all good garden centres. You’ll also need some wire cutters and a supply of shell-on peanuts (“monkey nuts”). It’s also a good idea to have some thick gloves for when cutting the wire and, if you’re not particularly nimble, also wear them for threading the nuts onto the wire.
2. Cut a length of wire appropriate to the size of the feeder you want to make. The feeder we made had 60cm of wire to be covered in peanuts, plus 30cm for hanging, so a total 90cm length of wire was cut.
3. Carefully thread peanuts onto the wire and, when the required length is filled with peanuts, twist the ends together, leaving one end longer so you can use it to hang the feeder from the tree. Shape the feeder into a circle.
4. Loop the long wire round a branch of your tree, or anywhere else you fancy hanging your feeder. If you’re putting it round a tree, don’t wrap the wire round too tightly in case you forget to remove it when it’s empty and it starts to dig into the bark.
Once you’ve made your first feeder, why not get a bit more adventurous? Try making star shaped feeders or have a smaller circle hanging inside a larger one. You can also experiment with different foods; try threading a mix of sliced apple, pear or whole grapes on with the peanuts. Add a pretty ribbon and this can also make a good gift for Christmas, though we suggest wrapping some tape around the protruding ends of the wire so the recipient doesn’t catch themselves when opening their present.