If you're looking for a simple, easy, biodegradable bird feeder, look no further than your produce section to make this easy orange bird feeder. Fast to create and flexible to use, this fun feeder can add a touch of whimsy and color to your bird feeding stations.
What You Need
To create a simple dish feeder from an orange, you will need the following materials:
- Awl, paring knife or wooden skewer
- Yarn, string, jute twine or similar
- Spoon or manual juicer
- Birdseed or other foods for birds
When choosing your orange, look for a fresher, slightly less ripe fruit that has a thick, strong rind to make a more durable feeder. Alternatively, you could also use a lime, lemon or grapefruit for this project, though limes and lemons tend to be quite small and a grapefruit may be too large, depending on the variety. It can be colorful to make several feeders from different citrus fruits, however, and create an all natural feeding station for birds to enjoy.
Turning an Orange Into a Bird Feeder
With just a few easy steps, you can turn your orange into a fun bird feeder.
- On a knife-safe surface, cut the orange in half and use the spoon or manual juicer to hollow out each half of the rind. You may use the fruit's flesh for a fruit salad, your favorite orange recipe or feed it to orioles if desired. Another option to hollow out the fruit is to make fresh-squeezed orange juice. Any small bits of pulp left inside the rind do not need to be removed – the birds will appreciate the sweet treat.
- Using the awl, paring knife or skewer, create four holes around the cup of the rind, approximately a half-inch from the cut edge. The holes should be evenly spaced around the rind's circumference, but do not come too close to the edge – as the rind weakens when the fruit decays, holes that are close to the edge may break and the seed will spill.
- Cut two lengths of string, yarn or twine 18-24 inches long, and string them through the holes in the rind. Each string should go through two opposite holes, creating an "X" shape in the middle of the cup when both strings are in place. If necessary, use the awl or skewer to push the string through the holes, or use a large-eyed needle. Do not mind the string crossing through the cup; it can serve as an additional perch for birds, and they will easily be able to reach around it to eat the seed.
- Knot the strings together at the top to create a pair of joined loops. This will be your hanger for your orange bird feeder. When tying the knots, take care that the lengths are balanced so each loop will help support the orange and keep it level. Note that if you want to tie the feeder directly to a tree around a large branch, it is necessary to keep the strings untied until you hang the feeder, saving this step for last.
- Fill the rind cup with birdseed. Any type of seed is suitable; choose the seeds your backyard birds favor to encourage them to use the new feeder, or you can opt for a peanut butter or suet mixture instead. Other foods you can put in an orange bird feeder include grape jelly to feed orioles or peanuts for jays.
- Hang the feeder from a tree branch or hook in a visible area where you can enjoy watching the birds visit. The orange color will catch birds' attention, and they'll soon find the treats it contains.
Orange Feeder Tips
Making a bird feeder from an orange is a simple process that can be done in minutes once you have a little practice with the technique. Furthermore, each orange yields two feeders, making this project twice as valuable. To make the most of your easy orange feeders…
- If the feeder is slightly off balance, not to worry. Hang the feeder before filling to avoid spilled seed, and the birds will adjust their balance easily when feeding.
- Check the feeders daily for signs of decay or rotting. A thicker rind will last longer, and in cool weather these feeders can last a week or more.
- When the feeder does soften and decay beyond being usable, add it to a compost pile or otherwise discard.
Making an easy orange bird feeder is a fun and simple project, perfect for backyard birders of all ages and experience levels, as well as great for a school, senior center or youth group project. By knowing how to turn an orange rind into a functional bird feeder, you'll never let a rind go to waste again.
Photo – Easy Orange Bird Feeder © Melissa Mayntz