Draw More Birds To Your Yard With A Simple Soup Can

If you're a passionate birder, there's nothing more thrilling than observing local or rare species right in your backyard. A quality bird feeder hung in the right spot allows you to do just that, but professionally assembled bird feeders can be pricey. A tube bird feeder can cost around $50. With a few simple tools you probably already have at home and an aptitude for DIY, you can create a bird feeder by eating a bowl of canned soup. The resulting empty tin makes an excellent, lightweight, long-lasting spot for birdseed.

Any sized tin can works for this project, but we recommend starting with a medium-sized can, such as a 12-ounce soup can. You'll also need a dowel rod about double the length of your can — even a wooden spoon will do — and some sturdy twine or ribbon. Wish to paint your tin can? Use a non-toxic exterior paint designed for metal. Avoid white, purple, pink, and anything shiny. These colors and finishes shouldn't be in your garden if you're trying to attract birds. If you're looking for a more nature-inspired aesthetic, gather small sticks from your yard to glue to the outside of the can or wrap the can in natural-colored twine. Tool-wise, you'll need a can opener, a pair of tin snips or (very) sharp scissors, and a drill, awl, or a pair of hole punch pliers.

Assemble your bird feeder

Remove the label from your can, especially if the label is plastic. You don't want bits of it ending up in your garden or a bird's stomach! Open one side of the can halfway around only and empty the contents into a food-safe dish. Pop that in the fridge to eat later. Open the other side of the can like you did the first. Trim a sliver of metal off each flap of the half-lid, use a long stick to apply pressure to the inside of one lid, then bend the flap inward. Repeat on the other side. Use gloves if you're worried about cutting yourself. This ensures no sharp edges and creates a hollow space to hold the birdseed.

Grab a drill bit a little larger in diameter than your piece of dowel. Drill one hole into each half-lid and two holes in the top of the can, on the side devoid of a lid flap. Push the piece of dowel through the holes in the half-lids — that's your perch — and guide the twine through the two holes in the top of the can to make a hook for hanging the feeder. Do you have a few glass or wooden beads on hand? Add a bit of personality to your project by threading them onto the twine before knotting it. Mount the bird feeder outside your window, fill it with birdseed or fruit slices, and settle in to celebrate your first visitor.