For many of us, school is ending soon and that means kids at home and planning summer activities to keep them busy and engaged and away from the television, computer and portable electronic games as much as possible. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent or babysitter, finding fun activities can be challenging. So what do you do when they come to you after a few days of vacation and say, “I’m bored. What can we do?”
We have a great activity and family-friendly craft to share with you that is inexpensive and can create endless hours of fun (and learning…but don’t tell the kids).
It’s bird watching – a fun activity for any age especially during the summer months when our fine feathered friends are back in New England enjoying their natural habitats. For any of you interested in doing a little bird watching this summer, we have a great make your own bird feeder activity using Oakhurst plastic gallon milk jugs.
This is a wonderful way to set the stage for some back yard bird watching for your family. To get started, you’ll need the following materials:
- A plastic Oakhurst gallon milk jug (we’ve used a skim milk jug but you can use your favorite)
- A knife or heavy-duty scissors (please ask for help from an adult before using one of these sharp tools)
- Small sticks
- Cord or wire
Once you have all your materials together, please follow the below easy step-by-step directions:
- Cut large holes (with a parent’s help) 2 to 3 inches in diameter in each side of the jug. (If your milk jug does not have flat sides, cut 4 holes equally spaced around the jug.)
- Cut a small hole, ½ inch in diameter, about 1 inch below each larger hole.
- Punch a very small hole in the bottom of the jug to allow any rainwater to drain.
Step 2: Assembling materials to make the perches for your bird feeder
- Find 2 small sticks that are less than ½ inch in diameter and about 18 inches in length. (These do not have to be straight sticks. A crooked stick works just as well.)
Step 3: – Creating the perch for your birdfeeder, and much, much more
- Insert the sticks through the small (½ inch in diameter) holes so that they cross each other inside the jug and stick out the other side. Make sure they stick out equally on each side of the jug.
- Fill the bottom of the milk jug with birdseed.
- Use a cord or wire to hang the jug from a tree limb or other support.
Step 4: The fun begins – Watching!
Watch your bird feeder – It won’t take long before birds start coming to your feeder. Some birds will perch on one of the sticks and stick their heads inside for the seed. Small birds may go inside the feeder to dine.
- Keep a pair of binoculars and a field guide that has pictures and descriptions of birds of the Eastern United States (borrow from your favorite library) near your monitoring station. The best time to watch is early mornings and early evenings.
- Keep a notebook and monitor your Oakhurst gallon milk jug bird feeder – note the days and times you check your birdfeeder and record the birds that have stopped by for breakfast and/or dinner. Some possible visitors include: Black–capped chickadee (Maine state bird), Sparrow, Cardinal, American Robin and many, many more.
- Discuss your visitors with your family and snap a photo or video.
- Fill with birdseed as needed.
We hope you have fun making our Oakhurst milk jug bird feeder. Please share with us pictures of your bird feeders and any special images of your bird visitors.