Easy DIY Bird Feeder (zero waste)

reading time: 6 min

Last year I shared how to make your own food dumplings for wild birds (and squirrels), so this time I want to show you my favourite DIY bird feeding station – using a flower pot! If you want to make this the easy way, just use a store-bought birdseed mix. However, I usually make my own customized birdseed blend. Recipe below!

Bird feeders are very easy to make yourself. Not only are they a great way to get crafty with kids, but they also help our local birds through the winter.

The great thing about this bird feed is that it's reusable! All you need to do is buy the perishable ingredients each winter, melt them all together, and fill up the reusable flowerpot. But more on that below ...

IMPORTANT: You can use your bird feeder during the months of November until late February, or late March. Do NOT continue to feed the birds in the spring because they will pass on the grainy birdseed to their young, which can't digest the heavy food and might even die from it! So no bird feeding after March!!

  • 1 small clay flowerpot (you'll need one with a hole in the bottom!) OR 1 coconut shell OR an empty clean yogurt pot
  • a tree branch or bamboo stick OR a thick rope, about twice as long as the flowerpot and about as thick as the hole in the flowerpot (if using a coconut shell, drill a hole that is as big as the branch you find; you don't need this when working with a mesh bag)
  • twine or cord
  • a small piece of cardboard
  • 1 1/2 cups (250g) coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (unsalted and unsweetened!!)
  • 3 cups (450-500g) birdseed – either a store-bought mix, or make your own (see recipe below)

My DIY customized birdseed blend:

1 cup sunflower seeds (both hulled and unhulled)
1/2 cup uncooked white millet
1/2 cup peanuts (unsalted!, cooked in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes to remove the trypsin which can harm birds)
1/2 cup uncooked oats
4 tbsp corn kernels or cracked corn
4 tsp wheat bran or hemp seeds or even poppy seeds
6 tsp raisins and/or dried cherries
optional: 10 drops vitamin D3 supplement (in liquid coconut oil form)

This birdseed blend is suitable for: Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Robin, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Crested Tit, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Jay, Song Thrush, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redstart.

It's best to research the local birds in your area, and adjust your birdseed mix accordingly. Since we mostly have various tits, sparrows, robins
, blackbirds and the occasional jays in our garden, this mixture works great for me. And of course, our squirrels will be delighted about this snack as well ☺️


Step 1 – Prepare the pot

Start by preparing the actual flower pot (or coconut shell or yogurt pot). If yours doesn't already have a hole, make sure to drill one.

Step 2 – Tie the twine

Cut off a good meter of twine or cord. Now take your bamboo stick or branch (I found mine in the garden), and wrap
one end of the cord around the stick, about the 1/3 point of the stick. Tie a tight knot. This knob of cord should be thick enough to prevent the stick from slipping through the hole in the pot. (In my case, a branch fork already served as a stopper, but I still secured the cord there.) The other end of the cord will be used later to tie the bird feeder to a tree.
Alternatively, you could also drill two holes into the upper 1/3 of your stick – in the lower one, you'll have to insert a small piece of wood – for example from a skewer or toothpick. This will act as the stopper inside your flower pot. The other hole will be used to secure the cord.

Step 3 – Cut the cardboard

To further seal the bottom of the feeder, take a piece of cardboard and cut it into a size that will fit at the bottom of the flower pot. Now cut a small hole in the middle of the cardboard piece, and push it onto the stick from above until it sits right above the cord knob.

Step 4 – Put together the pieces

Thread the other end of the cord through the hole in the flowerpot, then push the stick or branch with the attached cardboard piece through the hole as well.

Step 5 – Mix up the filling

Gently heat up the coconut oil in a small saucepan on low heat. Once it has melted almost completely, turn off the heat. 
Add in your unsweetened and unsalted peanut butter, and stir well to combine. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the birdseed. Mix well!

Allow the birdseed mix to cool down slightly, until you can touch it with bare hands.

Step 6 – Fill the flower pot
Spoon the cooled, but still soft birdseed and fat mixture into the prepared flower pot, pressing it down as you go. Make sure the mixture is spread evenly around the branch or stick. My branch was naturally wonky, so it turned out a bit lopsided, but that's fine :)

Step 7 – Allow to cool
Set aside to cool completely and solidify. Make sure the flower pot is still "right sight up" (aka the bird feeder is still upside down). To hold it up this way, you can use an empty Mason jar or a bigger cup. You can speed up the cooling process by propping up your bird feeder outside in the cold, like I did.

Step 8 – Secure the bird feeder
Once the birdseed and fat mixture has hardened, you can turn the flower pot upside down and secure it on your balcony or in your garden with the remaining cord.

You bird feeder is ready! All you need to do now is wait for your feathered friends to come flocking 😊
Be ware of hanging your bird feeder at least three meters away from the ground so that cats can't reach it.

- If you have some leftovers that don't fit in the flower pot, use your hands to shape them into chunky fat balls! I got three large fat balls out of the remaining mixture, which I then placed onto a plate and put in the fridge for a few hours to harden. Hang your fat balls outside by tying the cord on a tree or on your balcony rail.
- Regularly check your bird feeder for mould. If you spot any signs of mould, discard the birdseed and fat mixture, and make another one.
- Clean the bird feeder pot once it's empty! Otherwise diseases can spread between the birds. Do not use any strong cleaning agents though. Instead, simply use a good brush and some hot water, to which you may add a little bit of white vinegar or a drop of natural organic soap (such as the Dr. Bronner's unscented baby castile soap).
- If a few days have passed, and birds aren't visiting your bird feeder, try hanging it in a different location. 
- If you want to keep pigeons or crows from eating everything away from the little peeps, you can surround the bird pot with coarse mesh wire so that only the small birds can get to the feeder.
- Of course, you could also paint your flower pot to make it more pleasing to the eyes! How about sky-blue with white clouds? Or yellow sunflowers upon green?
- If you don't have a flower pot at hand, you can also use paper cups, and thread a thin cord through the bottom of the paper cups, securing it with several knots. Then pour the soft birdseed and fat mixture into the prepared paper cups. Et voilà!