I love feeding wild birds and look forward to what we'll see at our feeders each spring. This year we have had red-winged black birds which has been a surprise. I'm used to seeing them out in the fields but not at our feeders. We've had tons of robins of course, and a variety of finches, juncos, and chickadees. Every now and then a whole flock of cedar wax wings will swoop in and eat the fruit off of our crabapple. Such a beautiful site!
I hope you enjoy these creative bird feeders that can easily be made with items you already have on hand. They're fun crafts and so rewarding for everyone when the birds start to appear. Be sure to check the archives for even more homemade bird feeder ideas!
I've been teaching an after-school art class and am loving working with young kids again. One of the first lessons we did was inspired by one of my very favorite artists, Brian Wildsmith and specifically his book, BIRDS. I am in awe of his use of color and texture and could look at his images for hours. I'm including some reference links at the end of this post if you are interested in finding out more about him.
This lesson was with 7 - 10 year olds and took about an hour and a half. We looked at the book BIRDS and discussed the general shape of each bird by outlining it with our fingers and talked about the many layers of color and how different marks were used to create texture.
The kids decided what kind of bird they wanted to make and drew the basic body shape on a piece of corrugated cardboard. Try to make sure the channels inside the cardboard are running vertically. If they wanted, they could also add three dimensional elements such as wings and eyes from separate pieces of cardboard. Since the cardboard is thick some of them needed help cutting them out.
Besides looking beautiful, oil pastels blend well to achieve those multiple layers of color that we were going for. Texture marks were added at the end.
They had several options for eyes: cardboard, color directly on their bird body, or white paper with black marker.
Feathers were poked into the channels of the corrugated cardboard and glued onto the body.
The feet were made from one chenille stem. Cut the chenille stem into six equal parts. Bundle three pieces and twist together half of it, leaving the untwisted pieces to be the toes/claws. Separate the three pieces - two toes in front, one in the back - and bend horizontally so the foot will stand up. Poke the twisted end of the foot piece into a channel of the corrugated cardboard on the bottom of the bird. You can use a pencil or such to make the holes a bit bigger if needed. Squeeze some glue in the hole too. (You can alternately tape or glue the feet to the back of the bird.)
While the feet are drying, the kids made the base for their bird to stand on. The swan stands on a dock while others are on branches in the sun and grass.
To finish, glue the birds feet onto the cardboard base and let them dry.
If you do this lesson I'd love to hear about your experience and see the results!