Frugal Bird Feeding: Bird Feeders and Bird Houses

Frugal living is for the birds…too! My family and I love feeding the birds in our backyard. The kids have a lot of fun observing the birds behavior and identifying the different species. It has also been a great learning experience for them. So far, we’ve seen blue jays, woodpeckers, tiny finches, chickadees, morning doves, and some colorful songbirds with yellow heads that we haven’t yet identified.

One of the things I noticed in the stores is how expensive good bird feeders are. I have been advised that

I really should stay away from the less expensive feeders for a few reasons. Cheaper ones tend to fall apart quickly or essentially become squirrel feeders. But I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money.
Fortunately, we inherited a few feeders when we bought this house. But I wouldn’t suggest buying a new house just to get bird feeders. Here are some ways that you can save when it comes to bird feeders and bird houses.

Right outside our window is a flat platform that is just right for feeding the birds. It is essentially a piece of wood with a slight lip on it. It will hold a lot of seed, the squirrels can’t get to it, and it brings the birds close enough for the best viewing. It requires only a bit of scrap woods and some brackets. And, that is very frugal. I’ve been warned that bird feeders close to the house might attract mice, but so far, we have never seen any evidence of the little critters.

You can also go online and get some free plans for building birdhouses. Just do a search on the terms, and you’ll see that there a lot of designs to choose among.

Think outside the box. I bet that there are plenty of things around your home that could be turned into cozy birdhouses. I have a friend who uses an old wooden dollhouse that someone was throwing away.

Landscape with trees, plants and bushes that bear fruit. This way, you are sort of killing two birds with one stone. Okay, poor choice of metaphor. But the fruit will attract and feed the birds with no extra effort or expense on your part. Landscaping will add value to your home, and you are essentially getting free bird food in the process. You’ll also get a wider variety of birds, since some birds only eat fruit and bugs and not seeds.

Ask for bird feeders for birthday and holiday gifts. Friends and family are always looking for hints on good gifts. Be specific about you want, and you’ll avoid another clock, lamp, light up sweater or froggy figurine that you would rather not have.

Do you have any more tips for frugal bird feeders and bird houses?

Mary Ann Romans also writes for the Computing Blog here at Families.com where she shares everything from the latest news on technology to cool downloads and fun websites.

Related Articles:

Frugal Spring Cleaning: Taking Advantage of Nature

The Hidden Expenses of Moving

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com

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