DIY Window Bird Feeder Options – A Step-by-Step Guide

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For countless backyard bird watchers, our birdfeeders bring us a lot of joy.

There are so many varieties of feeders, like those that are designed for specific birds like orioles or hummingbirds. Or you could choose birdfeeders based on size, materials, construction, or mounting style.

One of the really fun aspects of backyard birdwatching is providing neighborhood birds with a variety of interesting and enticing feeders.

Of course, the habit of buying birdfeeders can get pretty expensive! Sometimes, you just need something a little simpler and easier than another expensive or fancy feeder.

That’s where DIY projects come in handy!

Why Should You Make a Window Feeder?

Window feeders may be one of the most delightful ways to feed the hungry birds in your backyard.

Because of the proximity of the feeder to your home, you can sit in your kitchen, living room, or bedroom and watch the birds visit all day!

If you make your own window feeder, you don’t have to buy something fancy or expensive. You just need to use a few basic components to build a feeder that brings the birds right up to your window!

The instructions we’ve put together here are some of the easiest and most straightforward to follow!

What’s Best? A Storebought or a DIY Feeder?

The answer to this question really depends on what you need! Sometimes, you really don’t have the time or energy to build something, and it’s best to just go out and pick up a feeder or place an order online. That’s fine!

However, sometimes you are especially budget-conscious, or you are looking forward to a new challenge. If that’s the case, a DIY feeder is a great idea!

DIY window feeders are also made entirely of your own preferred materials, so if you want cedar or pine instead of plastic, that’s your choice!

You can create whatever you want as the perfect feeder for you, whether that’s something that looks a certain way, matches an element of your landscaping, or fits your budget.

There is no “right” answer about whether a storebought feeder or DIY feeder is best, but if you want to try a DIY bird feeder, we’re confident you can make it work!

Step-by-Step Guide for Making a DIY Window Feeder

  1. Measure the length of the windowsill you want to use for mounting your feeder.
  2. Purchase a 1/2-inch thick piece of cedar or pine and cut it to the length of your window.
  3. Add a 1-inch high lip to the exposed side of the piece of pine or cedar. This will prevent the bird seed from blowing off or being kicked off by the birds. Make the lip just a little bit shorter than the length of the board itself, leaving a 2-inch gap at both ends. This gap will provide a “gate” to brush the old seed and shells out. This will also help keep your feeder clean!
  4. Before installing it to the window, treat the shelf with bird-friendly sealant. This will protect the wood and make it last longer.
  5. Attach the cedar or pine to the outside of the window. (You can use one of the methods we outline below!)
  6. Drainage is also an important factor. The feeder should be installed with a little tilt to allow water to drain away from the window, through the corners which have been left open. Another solution is to drill holes in the feeder at strategic points to allow drainage.
  7. If you want to avoid frequent re-filling, you can always rig a seed bin at the higher end of the shelf. This will be a seed reservoir, replenishing the birdseed as it is eaten. One option is to use a plastic container, which you can screw onto the shelf through the bottom of the container after you put a hole in it. Snap on the lid, and now the seed is protected from the elements, too!
  8. An optional add-on is to attach a suet feeder to the shelf. To do so, attach a vertical board to one end of the window feeder. Staple a small piece of wire mesh onto the inside of the end board, creating a pocket that can hold a big block of suet. You could also purchase a suet cage and attach it to the vertical board.

3 Ways to Attach The Free DIY Windowsill Bird Feeder To The Window Ledge

Let’s talk about the options for attaching the window feeder to your window! The best option for one person isn’t necessarily the best option for the next person, so keep in mind that each of these is a workable strategy!

  1. You can attach brackets underneath the board, which can be drilled into the wall underneath the window. This supports the feeding shelf. However, this isn’t ideal if you don’t have a good, accessible wall underneath the window itself.
  2. You could also attach brackets to the top of the board at each end, and then attach those brackets to both sides of the window frame. This is a great strategy if you don’t have an accessible wall beneath the feeder.
  3. If you cut the exact right size of the board, you may be able to wedge it into the window for a tight fit. This is the least secure method, but it requires the fewest tools and the least amount of permanent change to the window. This is great for anyone who rents a home or apartment and wants to put out a window feeder!

What If You Don’t Have the Time or Tools to DIY a Window Feeder?

DIY Window Bird Feeder

You still have options, even if you don’t have the time or tools to make your own feeder. There are some great window feeders on the market!

If you’re purchasing a feeder, consider a lightweight plastic feeder that attaches to the window with suction cups. (Like this one from Amazon!)

Sale
Mrcrafts Window Bird Feeder for Outside with Strong Suction Cups, Fits for Cardinals, Finches, Chickadees etc.
  • 【STRONG SUCTION CUPS】Mrcrafts WINDOW BIRD FEEDERS design with 3 ultra-strong suction cups to stay put even with many birds...
  • 【REMOVABLE BIRD SEED TRAYS】Removable tray makes it easy to quickly and easily clean. Simply remove the tray, and discard any...
  • 【FITS FOR WILD NORTH AMERICAN BACKYARD BIRDS】Show your neighborhood birds some love. It’s one perfect choice for North...

Last update on 2023-01-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This method is inexpensive and requires no permanent change to your window frame. What a great option for renters or people who don’t feel very “handy.”

Plus, you can use this to try out a window feeder before you build your own – these plastic, suction-cup feeders are usually pretty budget-friendly!

The drawbacks are:

  • These feeders usually aren’t very durable – the plastic can crack and warp with heat, cold, and moisture
  • The suction cups may not be very strong – you might end up having to re-mount your feeder regularly

These are definitely worth a try, though, especially if you’re looking for something that you can hang up immediately, without waiting to gather supplies and finish the building process.

Learn More About Suet & DIY Feeders

Want to learn more about DIY feeders, including suet feeders? We have lots of information!

  • More Bird Suet Recipes
    How much fun can you have feeding birds suet in your backyard? Just have a try with the easy and unique set recipes in our post full of suet ideas. We provide the instructions for “Birder’s Delight,” “It Must Be Love,” and the ever-popular “Captain Crunch!”
  • Even More Recipes For Suet
    You can provide suet for the birds all year for lots of energy for their busy lives with “Four Season Suet” & “Leave Out the Starlings” with these additional suet recipes that backyard birds love! Suet is an especially great option to put out in the winter when birds need extra calories!
  • Share Your Bird Feeder Plans
    We want to hear your ideas! Submit your plans to us and let us know what works well for your backyard birds! Even if you don’t consider yourself to be the most accomplished DIY-er, we want to know your ideas! Let us know the interesting ways you have fed your feathered friends, or what your family and friends have shared with you!
  • Take the Suet Feeder Quiz
    Do you need “fattening up” with your knowledge about suet and the feeders that hold it? Discover your suet “smarts” while you enjoy this little quiz about a favorite wild bird food.

How to Encourage Birds to Visit a Window Bird Feeder

Once you’ve built and mounted your feeder, how do you make sure that the birds actually take advantage of it? After all, it can be pretty frustrating to build a new feeder and then see it go unused!

There are a few steps to making sure your feeder is a hospitable and appealing place for backyard birds!

  1. Keep the feeder full of fresh and healthy foods that entice the kind of birds you’re hoping will visit. For example, if you want to attract orioles, your feeder will need to include fruits and jellies. If you want to attract birds that eat sunflower seeds, then you should put out sunflower seeds!
  2. Keep the feeder clean. Don’t forget to regularly clean the feeder, keeping it empty of bugs, mold, and old birdseed.
  3. Add a birdbath nearby. Birds love the opportunity to bathe in clean, fresh water, and a birdbath can help your backyard birds feel safe and invited to your yard. A nearby birdbath goes a long way in bringing birds right up to your window.
  4. Don’t hang the feeder at your busiest window. If there is a room in your house with constant activity, the birds may be frightened away by this. It’s better to hang the feeder where you are able to watch the birds, but not where they are going to be startled by human movement and noise.
  5. Don’t put the feeder too low to the ground. If your window-mounted feeder is close to the ground, the birds may not feel safe because they are at risk of being stalked and attacked by your pets, or by other pets in your neighborhood. As with most other feeders, you should hang your window feeder at least 5-6 feet above the ground.
  6. provide a safe area nearby. For example, you could put your feeder near a woodpile or some large, protective bushes. If the birds can hide or perch nearby and approach the feeder when they feel safe, they’re more likely to view your feeder as a welcoming, safe place rather than as a risky one!
  7. Be patient! Birds may not appear right away, as it can take time for them to realize that there is a new food source available to them. And then they need to discover that it is a safe place for them to visit! Don’t get discouraged if the birds are hesitant to visit right away – they will come! Keep providing popular birdseed options and you’ll see them soon enough!

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Liz Ranfeld

Liz Boltz Ranfeld is an independent educator and writer from Indiana. She lives on the edge of the woods with her husband, 2 kids, dogs, chickens, and hedgehog. One of the best things of living in rural Indiana is spotting hawks, pileated woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and other wild creatures. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and gardening, and one of her personal heroes is the conservationist and birdwatcher Rosalie Barrow Edge, who paved the way for the protection of birds around the globe.