A great tit on a homemade apple bird feeder
Creating a bird feeder at home is a fun activity for all ages, using all natural items. It's like making a homemade meal for your daily visitors.

Helpful Information

Timing: All year around

Where to do it: Indoors or outdoors

Garden space: Small or large garden or a balcony

  • Allows you to be creative and can be done indoors or outdoors over the winter
  • There is joy to be had in supporting wildlife. A bird feeder helps birds get the energy and nutrition they need
  • Watching birds fly in and out of the garden is a treat. Quiet moments can be happily spent spotting different species
  • A study published in Nature in 2022 found encounters with bird life could create lasting improvements in mental wellbeing
A robin singing in the garden
A robin singing in the garden

Lots of birds spotted in UK gardens love sunflower seeds, so will enjoy this apple bird feeder.

Look out for blue tits, great tits, finches robins, sparrows and more coming for a feast.

Top tip

Sometimes, people worry that bird feeders in the garden may attract rats or pigeons. Because this simple apple feeder hangs from a branch, it is not likely a rat could reach it. And, the twig perch is too delicate for a large pigeon!

Essential items

  • An apple
  • A corer
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Two sturdy but thin twigs/sticks per apple. These should be an inch or two longer than the apple at its fattest point, as birds will perch on them
  • Sunflower seeds
  • A chopping board or tray to work on

Optional items

  • A screwdriver and small knife

Tools to make it easier

  • Satsuma
  • Pencil
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Food/ freezer bag clip, to avoid having to tie knots

Follow these steps to create your homemade apple bird feeder with ease.

Step 1: Take out the core of the apple

A screwdriver is used to create a hole through the apple core
A screwdriver is used to create a hole through the apple core

Start by gathering the tools you will need for this task together.

Use a corer to take out the core of the apple. If you don't have a corer, you could push a screwdriver through the middle of the apple. Then, use a small knife to make the hole bigger. Be aware using a knife is fiddly with the risk of cutting yourself. You may want help, particularly if you have limited dexterity.

Make it easier

If you find an apple too tough to core, you could use a satsuma instead. Push a pencil through the middle to make the hole. Continue with the steps below using your satsuma.

Step 2: Make your hanger and perch

An apple with sticks for a perch and hanging string
An apple with sticks for a perch and hanging string

Tie your string around the middle of the first stick. Leave plenty of string length so you can hang your feeder. Poke or thread the stick through the hole you made in the apple. Once the stick is out the bottom, turn it sideways.

Push your second stick into the apple. It should go in sideways, near the bottom of the apple (this one doesn't go through the hole in the core). It will stick out a bit either side – this is where the birds will perch when feeding. Sticks one and two will make a cross shape when done.

Make it easier

If you find tying knots too fiddly, you could use a food / freezer bag clip instead of the first stick. Attach the clip to the string and push or poke through the hole in the apple. If needed, make the hole in the apple a little wider to fit the clip through. Once out the bottom, turn the clip sideways. This will keep the apple in place.

You can then push the second stick through the bottom of your apple to act as a perch

Step 3: Add sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds being poked all over an apple
Sunflower seeds pushed in place all over an apple

Take the sunflower seeds and push as many as you'd like into the outer edge of the apple. If you want to decorate them with faces or people's names, you can!

Make it easier

Push the pointed end of the seed in first so it goes in more easily.

You could use pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds, as they are a bit bigger and easier to handle.

Your apple feeder is now ready to hang – fantastically simple!

Step 4: Hang your feeder outside

A finished apple bird feeder hanging from a branch in the garden
A finished apple bird feeder hanging from a branch in the garden

Find a strong branch of a tree or bush in your garden, or a hanging space on your balcony. Tie the feeder to it using the string.

Birds like to feel safe when feeding. Look for a branch that is quite high off the ground, but within comfortable arm reach. You could make several apple feeders and hang them in different places around the garden. This will help you discover where is popular with birds.

Make it easier

Again, to avoid fiddly knots, use a food / freezer bag clip to make a big hanging loop at the top of the string.

All that’s left to do is find a comfortable spot to sit and watch as the birds fly in for a meal!

Once your birds have enjoyed their feast, place any remaining apple in the food waste. It can also go on the compost pile if you have one.

Birds enjoy extra food all year around, so you can always make another apple feeder once it’s gone. Or, you could try a different homemade feeder, like our recycled bottle bird feeder. Discover which they like best!

Top tip

It can sometimes take time for birds to discover new sources of food. Be patient and don’t worry if birds do not instantly appear!

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