This rustic DIY bird feeder makes a lovely addition to your garden for feathered friends.
Most of us understand the importance of promoting biodiversity in our gardens. Do you also know that many bird species have fewer sources of nutrition during the coldest months? Keeping a bird feeder well stocked in your garden from November to February will help them get through the winter. The rest of the year most bird species can find enough food elsewhere, so you can provide less. There are many bird feeders widely available, but why not make a special garden ornament while also supporting wildlife?
Our DIY guide takes you through how to make your own hanging bird feeder using a log and a chainsaw.
The wood you use for this homemade bird feeder should be weather-resistant and not too hard. We recommend soft coniferous wood with a low resin content.
STIHL pro tip: We used a carving attachment when making our bird feeder. This attachment allows you to cut the wood with greater precision.
This wooden bird feeder is not a complicated DIY project, and you should be able to get it done in around 30 minutes.
Rather than using a workbench, we created a custom work area: a tree trunk with a v-shaped notch cut into it. The notch prevents the piece from rolling away while you are working on it.
Don't forget, you should always wear your personal protective equipment when working with your chainsaw. This includes cut protection trousers, safety boots, safety glasses, a face shield, gloves and a helmet where there is a risk of falling objects. You don't need to wear ear protection if you are using an MSA 140 battery-operated chainsaw as recommended above, but check the operating instructions for your product for further details. Before you use your chainsaw for the first time, you should familiarise yourself thoroughly with the tool and ensure it is in flawless condition before each use. On request, your STIHL dealer will be happy to prepare your tool for its first use, and will also advise you on models and sizes of protective clothing that you can try at your leisure. Please remember that personal protective equipment is no substitute for safe working techniques.
First separate two side pieces with straight cuts. The two resulting discs of wood will be reattached to the finished piece later, to form the side walls. Our tip: mark which side is which, so you can match the bark when you reconnect the pieces together.
Now, carefully make two parallel lengthwise cuts, ensuring you cut no deeper than two-thirds through the diameter of the log. This will become the feeding table.
You must now make a plunge cut to release the wood between your lengthwise cuts and create the interior of your bird feeder. Remove the inner piece. Your log is now a c-shaped tube, and the interior space will soon be a feeding table and access space for birds.
Make plunge cuts slowly and carefully. Please note that this method of working has an increased risk of kickback. Please be sure to check the safety instructions for your chainsaw in the instruction manual for more information. You should only use this technique if you are experienced in using a chainsaw.
Now nail the side walls of the feeder onto the main body; you’ll only need two nails for each side. Theninsert the screw eyes in position so that the floor of the feeding station will be horizontal after you hang it up. The exact place you need to put the screw eyes in depends on the centre of gravity of your specific bird feeder. All that remains is to feed the cord through the eyes and your DIY bird feeder is complete and ready to hang!
Once the weather-resistant cord is on your DIY wooden bird feeder, you can hang it up anywhere that you can access it easily (to fill it up) and where birds will be able to access the food undisturbed. A sturdy, high branch is a good place. Remember to position it so it's safe from cats and other animals.
There are many different kinds of bird food to choose from, but most species love unshelled sunflower seeds. Be careful not to feed the birds anything that is too fatty in spring, since this may be harmful to fledglings.
And finally, one more tip: birds can become reliant on stable sources of food. This means that if you begin feeding them in winter, they will appreciate it if you do so consistently. Take care during breeding season though, as not all bird food is suitable for fledglings.