Create a fun apple bird feeder to attract garden birds! An easy, eco-friendly project for kids and a treat for wildlife.
- Family Friendly
- Time & Effort
- Supplies Needed
Look after the birds in your garden with our super easy DIY bird feeder apple slices. They are so easy to make. Perfect for any time of year of course but especially in the winter months when food is scarce, and birds may need a little extra help.
They are also a great way to help attract birds to your garden for the RSPB Big Annual Birdwatch and of course a lovely hands-on way to teach children about wildlife care.
And if you include some bird-favourite worms in the food mix, you’re bound to up the intrigue and excitement when making these feeders.
Why Apple Bird Feeders?
Apples are not just great for us but also for our feathered friends. They’re natural, biodegradable, and a real treat for garden birds. Plus, they’re a superb choice for a bird feeder as they’re easy to come by and safe for our winged visitors. You might even attract some of the UK’s favourite garden birds like robins, blue tits, and sparrows.
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make these bird apple slices.
Any apples will do. Obviously the crisper they are, the easier they are to work with.
We used a mixture of wild bird seed and mealworm. Both were readily available in the supermarket and good for a wide range of wild garden bird species.
Obviously you can leave out the mealworm if they really don’t appeal. However, they are great for a little bit of ick factor to get the kids excited – they honestly don’t feel as “wormy” as they look! Plus, plenty of garden birds such as blue tits and robins love mealworm so you’ll have a better chance of attracting these visitors to your feeding station with mealworm on the menu!
You’ll only need about a handful of each bird food so no need to buy too much. And you may already have items in stock at home that you can use. For example, lots of garden birds love oats, peanuts (unsalted of course, and preferably halved to avoid young chicks choking) and sunflower seeds. Raisins are great for birds too.
One word of caution: Some of our feathered friends’ favourite foods are not safe for our four-legged friends. So, if you have a dog in your household, be sure to check which bird foods are safe to use (and be sure to steer clear of dried vine fruits, such as raisins).
We use the lard here as a way to stick the bird food to the apple slices and also to provide the birds with some extra nutritious fat to keep them well nourished over the winter months. You could replace the lard with suet if it’s easier to find.
If you don’t want the hassle of melting anything, peanut butter works well too – just spread it on the apple slices with a knife.
You’ll need something to hang the apple slices up with and twine is a great eco-friendly option.
Other Items Required
You’ll also need:
- Large chopping board
- Apple corer
How To Make Bird Apple Feeders
The brilliant thing about making apple slice bird feeders is how simple they are! It won’t take more than a few minutes and then you can have all sorts of fun watching out for bird visitors. Plus, it’s a really child friendly activity so the whole family can join in.
- Melt the lard in a small saucepan.
- Core the apples and slice them into pieces around 1cm thick. You’ll want them to be chunky enough that they can hold the bird food and don’t disintegrate too quickly on the tree.
- Cut a length of twine and feed it through the middle of the apple slice and then tie the two ends in a knot to forming a hanging loop. Repeat for each apple slice.
- Prepare plates or bowls of wild bird seed, mealworm, and any other bird foods you’ve found to use.
- Holding the apple slice by the twine, dunk it into the melted lard (taking care not to get any of the hot fat on you). Ensure the apple slice is completely coated.
- Dunk the slice immediately into the largest of the bird food items (in our case, that was the mealworm). Coat it on both sides. Then dunk it into the next size food (the bird seed for us) and so on until all the bird foods you’ve chosen have been visited. We found it useful to use a spoon to help cover the slice. Gently shake off the excess and lay the apple slice on a board to cool and set.
- Repeat for each apple slice. When all slices have been placed on the board, spoon some of the remaining lard onto the slices to help set the bird food in place. Allow to cool and set before turning over and repeating on the other side. We prepared the apple slices outside on a very cold day so the apple slices set almost immediately.
- Once completely cool and set, hang your apple slice bird feeders up outside ready for feathered friends to visit.
Setting Up Your Bird Feeder
Once your apple bird feeders are ready, it’s time to find the perfect spot to hang them. Choose a place where you can easily watch the birds come and go – near a window or in a spot visible from your garden seating. Different heights can attract different birds, so why not experiment a bit?
Here’s the guidance from the RSPB on where to position your feeders. “Somewhere:
- Quiet – where birds won’t be disturbed.
- Safe – not too close to bushes where predators could hide in wait, but close enough to cover that birds can easily dart to and from. Birds like to have a view all around them while feeding.
- Sheltered from harsh winds.”
Observing Your Feathered Friends
Now, the fun part – birdwatching! See which birds visit your feeders and how they interact with this fruity treat. It’s a great chance to learn about the different species that frequent our gardens.
Grab a pair of binoculars and maybe a bird guidebook, and you’re all set for a bit of bird-spotting. You could even join the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch which takes place in the UK each year.
Involving Kids in the Fun
This activity is a brilliant way to get the children interested in wildlife. They can help make the feeders, hang them up, and then keep a little journal of their bird sightings. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get kids thinking about life outdoors during the winter months. And a chance for them to learn about different bird species and the importance of caring for our environment.
Homemade Apple Bird Feeder Instructions
Here’s the detailed instructions with materials and step-by-step photos for how to create our bird feeder apple slices. Have fun!
DIY Apple Bird Feeder
- 2 apples any kind
- handful wild bird seed
- handful mealworm
- 100g lard
- Melt the lard in a saucepan.
- Core the apples and slice, approximately 1cm thick.
- Thread a piece of twine through the centre of each apple slice and tie to create a hanging loop.
- Dunk an apple slice in the melted lard to coat it fully (taking care to keep hands away from the lard as it will be very hot).
- Dunk the slice in the mealworm on both sides and then in the bird seed. Use a spoon to add more feed to both sides if necessary. Place the coated apple slice on a board.
- Repeat for each apple slice.
- Spoon over a little more lard to help hold the bird feed in position. Let it cool and set (put in the fridge for a few minutes if necessary) and then turn over the apple slices and repeat on the other side.
- Hang apple slices in tree for the birds to enjoy.
We’d love to hear how you get on with your DIY apple bird feeder slices, so do share your stories and photos with us. What other homemade bird feeders do you use in your garden?
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