How to Make a Bird Feeder from a 2-Liter Plastic Bottle

Making your own bird feeder from a recycled 2-liter plastic bottle is an easy, fun project that can provide hours of entertainment watching birds visit your homemade creation. With just a few simple materials and tools, you can create a functional and decorative feeder that will attract a variety of wild birds to your yard, garden, or balcony.

What You’ll Need

To make a 2-liter bottle bird feeder, you’ll need:

  • Clean, empty 2-liter plastic bottle
  • Birdseed mix
  • Drill with 1⁄4 inch drill bit
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Permanent marker
  • Twine or string

Optional items:

  • Acrylic paint and paintbrushes
  • Hot glue gun
  • Decorative embellishments like feathers, buttons, glitter, etc.

Step 1: Clean and Dry the Bottle

Start by thoroughly washing and drying a 2-liter plastic bottle. Make sure all labels and glue residue are removed. Allow the bottle to air dry completely before starting the project.

Step 2: Mark and Cut the Entrance Hole

Use a ruler to measure and mark a rectangular entrance hole about 1.5 inches from the bottom of the bottle on one side. The hole should be about 1.25 inches high by 2.5 inches wide so birds can easily fly in and out.

Carefully use the craft knife or scissors to cut out the entrance hole. Cut slowly and safely. You may need an adult’s assistance for this step.

Step 3: Drill Holes for Hanging

Turn the bottle so the entrance hole is facing away from you. On the opposite side of the bottle, use the ruler to mark two small dots about 1 inch below the bottle neck. These dots will be the holes for hanging the bird feeder.

Use the 1⁄4 inch drill bit to carefully drill through the plastic at the two marked dots.

Step 4: Add Perches

Birds will need a place to perch while feeding. Cut a few small slits below the entrance hole using the craft knife. Insert short sticks or cut straws into the slits to create perches. Place perches about 1-2 inches apart.

Step 5: Decorate (Optional)

Decorating your bottle feeder is optional but can help it blend into your outdoor space. Here are some ideas:

  • Paint the bottle with acrylic paint in fun colors or to match your surroundings
  • Glue on natural embellishments like feathers, pinecones, flowers
  • Add glitter, sequins, buttons, or stickers
  • Use permanent marker to draw designs or patterns

Make sure any decorations are weather-resistant and non-toxic.

Step 6: Add Birdseed

Once fully dry, it’s time to fill the bottle with birdseed! Unscrew the bottle cap and pour in a birdseed mix of your choice. Black oil sunflower seeds are popular, affordable, and attract many common feeder birds.

Fill the bottle about halfway full. Less is okay, as you can always add more. Screw the cap back on tightly.

Step 7: Hang Your Feeder

The final step is hanging up your feeder! Take your string or twine and thread it through the two drilled holes near the neck of the bottle. Tie the string to hang the feeder in your desired spot.

Good locations are near trees or shrubs, about 5-7 feet off the ground. Make sure the feeder hangs freely and doesn’t blow in the wind.

Fill with fresh birdseed as needed and enjoy watching the birds visit!

Tips for Success

Follow these tips to get the most out of your recycled bottle bird feeder:

  • Use good quality birdseed and change it out every 2-4 weeks to avoid mold or spoilage
  • Clean the feeder periodically with a diluted bleach solution to prevent disease
  • Position the feeder near natural cover like trees or shrubs so birds feel safe
  • Avoid placing directly on the ground where feed may get wet/moldy
  • Start feeding in winter to get birds accustomed to the feeder
  • Be patient! It may take a few days or weeks for birds to discover the feeder
  • Consider adding other feeders with suet, nectar, fruit, or mealworms to attract more species

Common Birds That May Visit

If you live in North America, here are some birds you’re likely to see at your 2-liter bottle feeder:

  • Mourning doves – Small grayish-brown birds with a distinctive cooing call. They scavenge on the ground below feeders.
  • Cardinals – Striking red songbirds that regularly visit platform and hopper feeders. Males and females both visit.
  • Chickadees – Tiny acrobatic birds with big round heads and a black cap and bib. You’ll hear their “chick-a-dee-dee” call.
  • Titmouse – Sparrow-sized gray birds with a black eyeline and crested head. Both tufted and black-crested titmice may arrive.
  • Finches – Small busy birds like house finches and goldfinches that travel in flocks and favor nyjer seed.
  • Woodpeckers – Colorful birds like downy and red-bellied woodpeckers that cling vertically to peck at suet feeders.
  • Nuthatches – Small agile birds that creep headfirst down tree trunks. Look for white-breasted and red-breasted nuthatches.
  • Jays – Flashy jays like blue jays and Steller’s jays may stop by to grab a snack. Jays can be bullies at feeders.
  • Sparrows – Drab brown birds that travel in noisy flocks. Look for house and song sparrows scavenging below.

The exact birds that visit will depend on your location. Be patient and you’re sure to attract feathered friends with your homemade 2-liter bottle feeder!

Alternative Designs to Try

Once you master the basic 2-liter bottle feeder, get creative with these alternative designs:

Suet Feeder

  • Use a wood drill bit to create rows of small horizontal holes on opposite sides of the bottle near the bottom.
  • Fill these holes with suet cakes or plugs to create a suet feeder for woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees.

Fruit & Mealworm Feeder

  • Cut the bottle in half near the shoulder, creating a funnel shape.
  • Invert the funnel and attach it to the cut base using hot glue to make a covered hanging feeder.
  • Add chopped fruit and mealworms in the cover to attract orioles and robins.

Hummingbird Feeder

  • Make a small nectar feeder by poking or drilling a few tiny holes in the bottle shoulder.
  • Fill with homemade nectar (1 part sugar to 4 parts water).
  • Add red food coloring or red ribbon. Hang with nectar holes facing down for hummingbirds.

Seed Dispenser

  • Remove the bottom third of the bottle completely using the craft knife.
  • Poke holes in the bottle cap with a thumb tack.
  • Fill with birdseed and hang right-side up. Seed will slowly dispense through the holes in the cap.

Two-Sided Feeder

  • Carefully cut the bottle in half crosswise below the shoulder.
  • Use rope threaded through drilled holes to hang each half upside down, with cut edges facing outward.
  • Fill each side with different types of seed to attract more bird species.

With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless for making unique and functional bird feeders from recycled 2-liter bottles. The best part is watching your feathered visitors enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of birds will visit a 2-liter bottle feeder?

The most common visitors will likely be songbirds like chickadees, titmice, finches, nuthatches, doves, jays, sparrows, and woodpeckers. The exact species depends on your location. With the right food, you may also attract less common birds like orioles, cardinals, and tanagers.

Where is the best place to hang a plastic bottle bird feeder?

Look for a sheltered spot near trees or shrubs about 5-7 feet off the ground. Near a window offers great viewing but may result in birds hitting the glass. Avoid hanging above sidewalks or paths where falling seed could be messy.

How often should you clean a plastic bottle bird feeder?

Every 2-4 weeks, take down the feeder to clean it with a dilute bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). This prevents mold and disease that could harm birds. Rinse thoroughly and refill with fresh birdseed.

Can you use a plastic bottle feeder for suet?

Yes, with a few modifications! Drill rows of small horizontal holes at the bottle base to hold suet plugs or cake pieces. Woodpeckers especially will appreciate the suet treat.

What food do you put in a 2-liter bottle feeder?

An inexpensive seed mix with black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn will appeal to most feeder birds. You can also add suet, fruit, mealworms, or nectar to attract specific species. Always use good quality, fresh feed.

How do you keep squirrels from eating all the birdseed in a plastic bottle feeder?

Squirrels are clever thieves! Try hanging the feeder on a pole with a squirrel baffle, using weight-sensitive perches, or coating the feeder with cooking spray to make it slippery. Keep cats away too.

Can you make a hummingbird feeder from a 2-liter bottle?

Yes! Cut or drill tiny holes in the shoulder of the bottle, fill with nectar (1 part sugar to 4 parts water), add food coloring, and hang up with holes facing downward. Change nectar weekly to avoid spoilage.


Crafting your own bird feeder from a recycled 2-liter bottle is an easy, enjoyable way to help local birds and bring some nature watching right to your yard or garden. With minimal materials and tools, you can create a functional feeder tailored to your space that provides shelter, food, and water for feathered visitors.

Watching the birds enjoy your homemade creation is relaxing and rewarding. The activity also makes a great STEM project for kids to learn about birds, recycling, and engineering firsthand. With a creative spirit and passion for wildlife, you’ll soon have colorful songbirds flocking to your hand-crafted 2-liter bottle feeder!