Birds and Blooms Blog

Get the latest birding and gardening tips from our expert bloggers.

Twine-Wrapped Bottle DIY Bird Feeder

Jill Staake

Not long ago, I bought a cool little gadget that allows you to turn a plastic soda bottle into a DIY bird feeder, with the intention of doing this project with my nephews when I visit them next month. In the meantime, though, I discovered that this adapter can also be used on glass bottles, and decided to try a project for myself instead! This DIY bird feeder is made by wrapping twine around a glass bottle, held in place with double-stick tape. Here’s how I did it.

Twine Wrapped DIY Bottle Feeder

Twine-Wrapped Bottle DIY Bird Feeder Supplies

  • Soda Bottle Feeder adapter (shown below)
  • Glass bottle (be sure your bottle fits the adapter)
  • Jute twine (I got 3 rolls for $1 at the dollar store) in color(s) of your choice
  • Double-stick tape
  • Metal corner bracket (found at your local hardware store)
  • Superglue, scissors

Twine Wrapped Bottle DIY Bird Feeder

Twine-Wrapped Bottle DIY Bird Feeder Directions

  • Wrap a few inches of the bottle with double-stick tape. I found it easiest to work one section at a time, rather than wrapping the whole bottle at once. I used a very wide double-stick tape to make the process a little faster.

Twine Wrapped Bottle DIY Bird Feeder

  • Begin wrapping twine. Tuck the end underneath the first few rows as you work for a neater appearance. Keep each row of twine very close to the next, pushing it firmly into place as you go.

Twine Wrapped Bottle DIY Bird Feeder

  • Continue wrapping. Change colors as desired, wrapping the end of the old color beneath the new color as you work.
  • Twine Wrapped Bottle DIY Bird FeederWrap until you’ve covered as much of the bottle as desired. Be sure to cover all visible tape. Use a dot of superglue to hold the final bit of twine in place.
  • Glue the metal bracket to the bottom of the bottle and add twine to hang. (See this project for more info.)
  • Fill your DIY bird feeder, add the bottom feeder piece, and hang!

One note: I haven’t tried this feeder out in very rainy conditions yet – I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it doesn’t hold up to intense rain very well. Still, it was fun to create, and cost only a few dollars. It will be great for the drier winter months here in Florida, and I can always bring it in if it we have lots of wet weather in the forecast.

Looking for more DIY bird feeder ideas? Check out the Birds & Blooms Backyard Projects pages!

Friday Funny Photography: Heron the Roof!

Lorie Enjoy some funny photography and caption this photo!

Friday Funny Photography: Heron the Roof!

Birds & Blooms’ Friday Fun Photography snapshot for July 25, 2014: Heron the Roof! by Candace Warhanik of Onalaska, Wisconsin. Candace writes, “I was having my morning coffee and reading the latest issue of Birds & Blooms when I heard a noisy thump and some scratching on our roof. I looked up through our kitchen skylight and here was this large blue heron peeking in at me! Our home is near the LaCrosse Rive, and we love to watch the different birds that are native to our beautiful area.”

Do you have a clever caption for this fun photo? We’d love to hear it!

Drought Tolerant Garden: Beauty in the City Part 2

Beautiful, drought tolerant landscape

Ocotillo, deer grass, and desert marigold make up this beautiful, drought tolerant landscape

Last week, I shared with you Part 1 of my visit to a beautiful, drought tolerant garden located in the middle of a city in the Southwestern desert.  The beauty of the design and plants belie the fact that this garden needs very little supplemental water.

Scottsdale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden Ocotillo

The Scottsdale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden showcases plants that thrive in areas that regularly experience drought.  Varieties of Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica), bougainvillea, flame honeysuckle (Anisacanthus quadrifidis var. wrightii), globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua), lantana, penstemon and Texas sage (Leucophyllum species) are just a few of the drought tolerant plants that are on display.

The demonstration garden is located next to a water treatment plant and part of the garden sits on top of a reservoir that contains 5.5 million gallons of treated water.

Concrete cistern lined with river rock.

Concrete cistern lined with river rock.

Throughout the garden are examples of water harvesting, which captures rainfall that otherwise would end up as run off, where it finds it way to the storm sewer.  By creating cisterns like this one, storm water is saved and once the cistern if full, the excess water is directed to run through a swale lined with plants that benefit from the rain.

Mesquite bosque

Mesquite bosque

Another innovative example of channeling rainwater is seen in this grove of honey mesquite trees (Prosopis glandulosa).  This section of the garden is lined with concrete walls that form a spiral down toward the center.  There is a gradual slope, which directs rainwater toward the plants in the center.

Scottsdale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden-005

At one end of the garden stands a large cistern that holds the average amount of water that a household uses in 1 week, which serves as a powerful example of why we need to conserve water.

Mourning dove enjoying a drink of water.

Mourning dove enjoying a drink of water.

Around the cistern is a Native American saying:

“THE FROG DOES NOT DRINK UP THE POND IN WHICH HE LIVES”

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of a beautiful drought tolerant garden.  Next week, I will talk about different ways that you can save water in your own garden.

The Beauty of Bird-Friendly Coffee

scarlettanagerbag

Bird-friendly coffee. Have you heard this term and wondered what it means? I know I didn’t the first time I heard it.

Let me explain it in a nutshell. Basically, bird-friendly coffee means that the coffee is grown in the shade. And by growing the coffee in shade, it helps to protect vital habitats that support bird populations. In fact, it helps support many of the birds that show up in our backyards every year. Baltimore orioles, summer tanagers, yellow warblers, barn swallows, indigo buntings, ruby-throated hummingbirds…these are just a few of the birds that you can help protect by buying and drinking coffee grown in the shade.

If you want to do your part by drinking bird-friendly coffee, then I would encourage you to check out the company Birds & Beans. They were our supporters this spring for our Bird Day Challenge. They have an outstanding reputation among birders as being a wonderful company with really great-tasting coffee. (Our staff has tasted it, and they agree.) Now we don’t go around endorsing just any product, but we really want people to know what a worthwhile concept shade-grown coffee is and what a good company this is.

Curious about shade-grown coffee? You can look for it at your local store (or ask a manager to start carrying Birds & Beans). Though an even easier way to try it is to order some coffee through the Birds & Beans online store. Be sure to come back and let us know what you think. Or if you’ve tried shade-grown coffee and have additional recommendations, leave them here!

 

 

 

 

Costa Rican Bird Species

Rob Ripma

I’ve been traveling in Costa Rica for the last week and have seen some incredible places and even more incredible bird species. So far, I’ve visited Rancho Naturalista and Savegre Mountain Lodge and today, I’m heading to the northern part of Costa Rica to a lodge called Laguna del Lagarto. The birding has been spectacular and through yesterday, my group had almost 300 bird species! The following photos are just a few of my favorites that I’ve taken so far.

We made a short stop on our drive to Rancho Naturalista at some ruins and were plesantly surprised to see a very cooperative Blue-crowned Motmot.

We made a short stop on our drive to Rancho Naturalista at some ruins and were plesantly surprised to see a very cooperative Blue-crowned Motmot.

Flame-colored Tanagers are extremely colorful birds! They were one of the stars of the show at Savegre Mountain Lodge.

Flame-colored Tanagers are extremely colorful birds! They were one of the stars of the show at Savegre Mountain Lodge.

Volcano Juncos can only be found above the treeline at the very top of the mountains.

Volcano Juncos can only be found above the treeline at the very top of the mountains.

Fiery-throated Hummingbirds are only found at high elevations. We stopped at some hummingbird feeders that had at least 20 of these coming in!

Fiery-throated Hummingbirds are only found at high elevations. We stopped at some hummingbird feeders that had at least 20 of these coming in!

 

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