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In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to give you a fun recycling activity for you and your family. Typical backyard birds don’t know the difference between a fancy bird feeder and one that is homemade.  Save your money and create a feeder out of your empty milk cartons.  By recycling a milk carton and turning it into a homemade craft, your kids can make new-feathered friends!

Be sure to dig up an old pair of binoculars and invest in a bird identification book to keep handy when you put up your feeder.  It is always fun to encourage your children to keep a diary of the birds that visit your new bird feeder.

Skill Level: Moderately easy
Time involved: 2 hours


What You Need:

  • Milk carton
  • Popsicle sticks
  • 1 dowel stick
  • Glue
  • Stapler and staples
  • Masking tape
  • Brown paint (non-toxic)
  • Scissors or a knife (and adult assistance)
  • Twine
  • Birdseeds


Step-by-Step Guide of What to Do:

  1. Clean and dry the milk carton thoroughly.
  2. Staple the top of the carton shut.
  3. Take the masking tape and wrap the entire outside of the carton with it.
  4. (WITH ADULT ASSISTANCE)  Cut openings on opposite sides of a clean carton and coat with nontoxic paint over the masking tape on the carton, which will make the birdhouse look more like wood. (Make sure it is non-toxic paint because when it rains, the paint can drip or even chip and you don’t want the birds pecking at toxic paint!)
  5. Glue Popsicle stick shingles onto the roof (the top of) the milk carton.
  6. For a perch, poke holes below the openings and slip a dowel through the holes.
  7. Fill the bottom of the feeder with birdseed mix. (You can make your own mix by combining a variety of nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, millet, thistle seeds and yellow corn.)
  8. Poke a hole through the top of the feeder, and string a piece of twine through the hole.
  9. Then hang the feeder with twine in a spot that’s easy to see from the house or at least 20 feet away, but far enough away from fences or posts to prevent other animals.

Tips:

  • A quart size carton works perfect because it is not too large and holds a good amount of food.
  • Check your bird feeder regularly and refill as needed.
  • If you have a lot of squirrels in your backyard, you might want to invest in a squirrel-proof pole birdfeeder.

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