Homemade Tube Bird Feeders

A great way to focus on nature and spend time with the family is building a homemade bird feeder. Tube feeders are for small birds that often get pushed away from other types of feeders by bigger birds. Building a tube feeder is easy, fun and beneficial.

Gift to Nature

Birds feed from a large tube feeder

Giving your feathered friends in the yard a bird feeder is a great way to help them find food when food is scarce, especially during the bitter cold winter months. Choose a bird feeder that best serves the types of birds in your back yard. Remember that not all birds will eat from all kinds of feeders, so it's great to have more than one or one that serves most types of birds. One of the most commonly used feeders is the tube feeder. The tube feeder is long and skinny and has several perches and food dispensers from top to bottom--perfect for small birds.

The Small-Bird Tube Feeder

A small bird eating from a homemade tube feeder.

Most common for finches or chickadees, tube feeders allow the birds to eat without being harassed by bigger species. Tube feeders spill a lot less seed than other types of feeders because they dispense less seed than other feeders. Additionally, these feeders are great if you want a squirrel-proofed feeder because of the internal seed storage and smaller dispensing holes.

Preparing to Build

Tube feeders are easy to make in the comfort of your own home, and a fun project for your whole family to do together. Your children can see their work benefiting nature, and that in itself is quite rewarding.

The ingredients to build your own tube feeder include a plastic tube (an old medicine bottle or plastic soda bottle), a skinny dowel cut into 6-inch pieces, a hook with a screw at one end, a hot glue gun, nontoxic paint and a quality drill with different sized bits.

The Steps

First, drill holes in the plastic bottle for the perches. Remember to make sure the holes you drill are smaller than the dowels. This will make it easier for them to stay in place when inserted. Depending on how big the plastic tube (or bottle) is, you can make several perches, alternating them on all sides and going up the side of the tube. When cutting the dowel, make sure to leave each piece long enough on each side for the birds to perch. Glue the dowels/perches in place with the glue gun. About an inch above each perch, make a 1/8-inch hole to serve as a feeder. Lastly, attach to the part of the tree where the feeder is going to hang. If you want to paint the feeder to make it more aesthetically pleasing, feel free.

Once you hang up your new tube feeder, fill it with colored seed to attract birds. Then, you can sit back, relax and watch your friends eat.