Things You'll Need
Lard or suet
Providing bird seed during the winter brings the birds that overwinter in your area to your yard for easier viewing. Bird feeders come in many styles, but one of the simplest to make is a cylinder feeder. The main body of the feeder is actually a birdseed cake. This is attached to a reusable platform and hanger. Make several cakes at once and store them in your freezer. Just replace the cake on the platform as needed.
Cut a cardboard tube--such as a wrapping paper roll or paper towel tube--to a 12 inch length. Wrap a square of aluminum foil around one end of the tube and secure with tape to form a bottom on the tube. This is the mold for the cake.
Melt 2 cups of lard or suet in a medium saucepan over low heat. Allow to cool then heat a second time.
Blend in 1 cup of peanut butter with the melted lard. Add 2 cups cornmeal, 2 cups bird seed of your choice and 1 cup dried fruit pieces or raisins. Mix well.
Pour the mixture into the cardboard tube. Stand the tube upright and allow to cool completely.
Remove the foil from the bottom of the tube and push the the seed cylinder out. If it sticks, tear the cardboard away from the cylinder.
Drill a hole in the center of each of two 6-by-6 inch square wood pieces. Use a ¼ inch bit to drill the holes.
Cut an 18 inch length of heavy gauge wire, such as a coat hanger. Twist a loop in the end of the wire that is larger than the hole in the wood. Thread the wire through the first piece of wood.
Push the wire through the center of the bird seed cylinder, lengthwise. Place the second piece of wood on top the seed, threading the wire through the hole in its middle.
Make a loop on the end of the wire large enough to slip over a hook. Hang it from a hook outside or tie it to a tree so the birds have easy access to the bird feeder.
Purchase pre-cut wood squares at craft stores or ask the lumber department at a home improvement store to cut it down to size for you.
If storing extra cylinders in the freezer, remove them from the cardboard mold and wrap in foil or plastic wrap for storage.
Feeders hanging from trees are more likely to feed squirrels. Hanging the feeder from the roof eaves or a patio cover makes them harder for squirrels to reach.
Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.