Last spring we decided to create a space in our back yard which would attract birds so that we could enjoy watching them from our kitchen window. Since our garden has no trees and we don’t own any of the fencing, we had nowhere convenient where we could hang some feeders. So the first thought was in creating a standing bird table or a feeding station where we could hopefully tempt some small songbirds with some food. Our main challenge was that we also did not have any money to invest in the project which meant that we’d have to opt for a DIY solution.
Looking around at various tables and feeder stations, we had a good idea of what we wanted but the prices were really prohibitive. We figured that we’d rather spend that money on supplying good quality seed and treats through the year rather than on what are essentially just bits of wood. Besides, I figured that the birds really would not care what the equipment looks like, just as to whether they could easily and safely get to the food.
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Making Your Own Bird Stations and Tables
It is still possible to create your own feeding areas, even when you have little money to spend. However, before you start on your journey to make a feeding station or table for your backyard or garden birds to feast at, consider whether you really need one at all.
If you have trees with sturdy enough branches, then you have somewhere to hang the feeders and food from already.
You may also have a hut, shed or garage in your garden that you can fix brackets or hammer long nails into for holding bird feeders and small hanging seed trays.
You may even have a strong and no longer used washing line to use as well.
Food does not have to be hung up. You can offer seed and treats like dried mealworms in a simple tray on the ground or raised up on a simple platform such as an upturned plant pot or a tree stump.
If money is an issue and you’re trying to keep costs down, think about the places in your outdoor space that you can utilize simply and cheaply. Always bear in mind that the birds do not care how expensive the feeding equipment is, what it looks like or even what color. All they care about is having safe and easy places where they can eat.
A Really Basic No-Skills Bird Feeding Table
Image Credit: Shared by Elliott Brown on Flickr with a CC License
Anyone can make an easy construction like this one. This image here shows a really basic bird table or feeding post. It’s just a stump of natural wood with a flat wooden tray on top. The advantage of this design is that it can be extremely cheap and easy to make. If you’re not good at doing any woodwork, you can use a tall and sturdy plant pot placed upside down with a plastic or metal tray stuck on top. We use an old metal cake tin on a plant pot to offer dried mealworms so I know it works. That’s how easy it can be.
Advantages of this simple design:
Birds love this design and many will happily feed from it. It appeals to big and small birds alike.
The design can be very easy to make and can be low to the ground or high up as you wish.
It can be made from very cheap and inexpensive materials such as an old tree stump, thick wooden post, tower of cemented bricks + old plastic tray, metal cake tin, old saucepan lid on top.
Disadvantages of this simple design:
Food offered in this way is open to the elements which means it can get wet in the rain or go rancid quickly in strong heat. Spoiled food means wastage plus it could be harmful to our feathered friends too.
Cats can jump and sit on top of designs like this which is naturally off putting to the birds since they are a natural predator.
The food is there for rats, squirrels and other creatures to get to and eat instead. You may attract animals that you do not want in your garden.
Bigger birds such as pigeons and doves can feed easily from this type of station. Personally I love attracting and will welcome any birds into my garden but you may want just the little birds like tits, finches, sparrows and wrens.
So it can be a great design or a bad one depending on exactly what you want.
Making Our Own DIY Bird Feeder Area
Our homemade DIY bird feeding station and one table partly made from an inexpensive kit. The birds love them and they keep the food in the feeders dry. Our very first homemade feeding station was the rough and ready effort which you can see from the images below. It cost £6 to make which is probably the equivalent of $10. Because we used left-over pieces of wood including some of our old wood flooring, we only had to buy the central ‘pole’ section.
This forms the basic structure of the table or station and shows the bottom crossed feet.
Some left-over flooring panels create a top square platform for the DIY bird feeder
The design was made entirely using my husband’s basic woodworking skills and my input as to what I was looking for. I wanted a tall design (this is around 6 ft high which is the size of a very tall person) that had a flat top with screws underneath to hang the feeders from.
The wood has been treated so it lasts longer in the wet British weather!
Having a top means that the food is sheltered from our typical wet, English weather! It has a large cross-shaped base which helps to keep it sturdy and from toppling over when our heavy wood pigeons do an emergency landing on the top. It looks rough and ready but it does exactly what we wanted and the birds love it.
The top of our bird table station which keeps the feeders dry underneath.
Starlings love our fat balls and suet cakes best although because they squabble and get a bit rowdy, we had to make another table to spread the food out more. Starlings in the UK are on the RSPB’s highest red status list because they have been in a huge decline. It’s a beautiful bird and their antics are so funny to watch. I love welcoming them into the garden.
How You Can Make Something Yourself
I was lucky that my husband was able to construct my idea of what I wanted as a feeder station. He was taught basic woodworking at school and he was able to make the whole wooden design in a matter of hours.
If you are looking to make your own, I recommend reading the RSPB’s advice on making a table. Plus they have a free basic plan too:
Here in the UK with all the wet weather we have, those metal pole stations are not the best idea since the hanging food is completely exposed to the rain. People still use them, however, because they are inexpensive options and the metal will last longer than wood. I prefer more natural looking and rustic wood designs myself and the beauty of wood is that you can easily add on more of your own attachments so you can hang up or attach even more trays and feeders. So wood just seems more versatile to me.
There are lots of different methods for how other people feed birds in their backyards and gardens. If you don’t feel up to the task of making something yourself now you’ve read this, there are some ready-made versions instead.
How to Make a Simple Bird Bath With Found Items
Where Best to Put Bird Feeders in the Garden