Build Your Own Bird Feeder

Make a bird feeder out of recycled materials to foster both plants and wildlife.

About the Activity

Wildlife and gardening go together like s’mores at a campfire. Without plants, wildlife would not exist, and without wildlife, plants would not exist. They work together and support the circle of life. Learn how you can support both by making a bird feeder using recyclable and compostable materials.

This activity is part of our 4-H At-Home Garden Series. See the rest of the activities here.

Grades: 3-8
Topic: STEM, Biology
Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Brought to you by Prairie View A&M University, Cooperative Extension Program, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

A bird sitting on a branch

Supplies

These simple supplies are all you’ll need for this activity. Some of these, like the seeds, you may need to find at a plant store:

  • Toilet paper roll or paper towel roll
  • Peanut butter or glue
  • Bird seeds
  • Yarn/string
  • Plate
  • Butter knife
supply list icon

Activity Steps

  1. Set up your workstation with a plate and a butter knife.Did you know? Decomposers like earthworms and Roly-Poly bugs are so important for gardening because they decompose organic materials and break it down in the best soil you can get, usually called “Black Gold.”
  2. Pour the bird seeds on to the plate.Did you know? Some examples of pollinators are bees, bats, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even lizards! They play an important role in gardening, because if a flower is not pollinated, plants cannot produce fruit or seeds.
A bird with a piece of food in it's beak
  1. Grab your toilet paper or paper towel roll and cover it with peanut butter using a butter knife. If you do not have peanut butter, glue will work too! Did you know? Toilet paper and paper towel rolls are made of cardboard, which is totally compostable! In fact, cardboard is one of the decomposer’s favorite snacks!
  2. After your roll is covered in peanut butter or glue, completely cover it with the bird seeds so the seeds stick to the surface.Did you know? Plants provide shelter for wildlife; they can be a place to lay eggs, an important food source, and protection from other predators or severe weather.
  3. Put a piece of yarn or a string through the roll, and hang it somewhere near your garden, like from a tree branch!Did you know? Wildlife can spread plant seeds through their scat or poop. If you ever see a strange plant growing in a strange area, it probably got there from an animal’s scat.
  4. Hang back, and watch the birds flock to your recycled bird feeder!Did you know? If you ever see a pollinator like a bee or a butterfly in your garden, don’t bother them, and don’t be afraid! Their job is to gather food and to pollinate. They are not out there to hurt you!

Reflection Questions
Bonus questions to inspire wonder:

  1. How do wildlife and plants benefit each other?
  2. Can wildlife that could hurt plants? If so, how?
  3. What would happen if no one pollinated plants? Think of everyday items that would be affected by it.
lightbulb icon

Investigate and Explore
Take what you've learned to the next level to learn more and explore the possibilities.

Our actions influence so much in our environment. It’s up to us to help our plants and wildlife. Let's learn to appreciate nature!

If you see a bee, let them work so that way we can continue to have food on our plate and clothes on our back. If you see trash heading for a water source, pick it up and keep plants and animals from getting hurt.

Once your garden is up and growing, spend time looking at it to see all the different kinds of wildlife that interact with your garden!

A bee sitting on a flower

Shop 4-H Curriculum and Products

Shop 4-H offers university-backed curriculum, educational kits, and products to grow your interest in gardening, environmental science and more!

gardening bingo activity from Shop 4-H

Gardening Bingo

Players select picture boards and place a chip over the corresponding garden image as cards are read aloud. Each card has facts about flowers or plants.

$16.99

 
Marigold Kit (1)

Marigold Grow Kit

This 4-H Grows Here terra cotta colored planter kit includes marigold seeds, a soil disk, and instructions.

$3.25

 
gardening essentials from Shop 4-H

Gardening Essentials Bundle

This Gardening Essentials Bundle is the perfect way to introduce youth to growing and nurturing their favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs or flowers, right in their own homes.

$18.50

 

Gardening Level A: See Them Sprout

Grades: 3-4

 

12 fun activities that include germinating seeds, growing pumpkins, experimenting with plants, and exploring vegetables and vegetable products.

$6.95

 
4-H tool tote from Shop 4-H

4-H Tool Tote

Helps you take your brushes & tools to the Fair or spend an afternoon in the garden. Features 6 outer pockets and one large opening. Tools not included. Please note size before ordering: 8" tall x 8" diameter

$9.95

mini herb garden from Shop 4-H

Mini Herb Garden

Grow herbs right inside your kitchen with this mini herb garden! Perfect for any windowsill, this kit comes with 3 pots to grow your own parsley, basil, or chives.

 

$9.95

 

Brought to you by:

No endorsement of these supporters' products or services is granted or implied by 4‑H.

Help 4-H Provide Equal #Opportunity4All Kids