Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

The following 101, on making your own Mason jar bird feeder, comes from HOMEGROWN's flock tender, Jennifer, whose favorite common feathered friend is the red-winged blackbird. 

Having my own place has led me to acquire a few other firsts: my first rain barrel, my first composter, and now, my first bird feeder. While browsing the web for DIY ideas, I found this feeder on 2 Bees in a Pod. I liked the simplicity of the design (no carpentry necessary!), the sturdiness, and the time commitment: 5 minutes flat. Once you’ve gathered your supplies, it doesn't take any longer to make your feeder than it does to read this 101. Let’s get started!



» quart-sized Mason jar

» galvanized chicken feeder (You can also find these in plastic.)

» 3 or 4 feet of heavy-gauge wire (Mostly for looks but also for safety, I choose 100-pound-weight vinyl-clad steel wire.)

» wire cutters

» birdseed (Read what the National Wildlife Federation, Mass Audubon, and the Humane Society have to say about types.)



1. Round up your supplies. Because I’m in a city where the corner hardware stores cater more to apartment dwellers than to farmers, I ended up ordering the chicken feeder and the wire online. I picked up the birdseed at the grocery store, but judging by the links above, I could have opted for black oil sunflowers seed alone. Just be careful not to buy the stuff for humans, which usually comes salted.


2. Once you’ve got your goodies together, set a stopwatch. Let’s see if we can’t break the five-minute mark. First, remove the ring and the lid from your Mason jar and set them aside. You won’t need those, but they’re worth saving for future projects.


3. Fill your jar with birdseed.


4. While the jar is still sitting on its bottom, screw the galvanized chicken feeder onto the rim of the jar.


5. I tried wrapping the wire around the rim of the jar, per the suggestion of 2 Bees and others, but because I had chosen such a heavy-gauge wire (safety first!), I wasn't getting as tight a coil as I wanted. 

7. Instead, for extra stability, I decided to flip the whole thing over and thread the wire through two holes of the galvanized feeder. Then I wrapped the wire up the jar, gladiator-sandal-style. Having the wire run through the feeder could make it slightly harder to unscrew and reload, but I'll probably leave the whole thing intact and refill the feeder by pouring birdseed directly into the galvanized feeder's metal holes. 

8. If you hang it, they will come!


Got another homemade bird feeder project to recommend? Or a question for Jennifer? Post your comments below and keep the conversation rolling! You might also be interested in 101s on making candleholders out of turnips and other veggieshanging planters out of vinyl records, wind chimes out of wine bottles, tote bags out of t-shirts, ink stamps out of potatoes, wreaths out of coffee filters, and tumbling composters out of trash cans (and if you like that last one, don't miss Joan's dog-poop composter). You can always find more things to make, craft, cook, preserve, plant, grow, and wrap in the HOMEGROWN 101 library.


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