Girl Power: Making a Tree Branch Bird Feeder with the Artemis Outdoors Club for Girls
Here’s a DIY involving power tools
(… which I personally find empowering) and mixing goopy messiness (which children seem to always enjoy) – a tree branch bird feeder made by drilling holes in a discarded log and packing the holes with a mixture of peanut butter and birdseed. It is a beautiful, sturdy, long-lasting project that can make a nice holiday gift, maybe for a grandparent, or simply for the birds in your yard.
Artemis Outdoors Club for Girls
I made this recently with my daughter Josephine, through Access After School’s program at Ross Montessori School, which hosts the Artemis Outdoors Club for Girls. Led by Artemis Ambassador Genevieve Villamizar, Artemis is a national women’s conservation organization within the National Wildlife Federation.
We began our afternoon with a grounding meditation led by Genevieve. With their eyes closed to the warm afternoon sun, the girls imagined themselves as winter birds searching for food amongst the many species of Colorado’s native trees. And with their last breath, the girls imagined themselves as birds discovering an unexpected but delightful bird feeder filled with a bounty of peanut butter and birdseed. Now it was time to get to work.
Logs – 16”- 24” long and 2”- 4” in diameter. Look for logs with small branches where birds can perch.
#16 single-loop chain. Each bird feeder will need a 12” – 18” length.
An eyelet screw for each bird feeder.
Bird seed, mixing bowls, spoons.
Natural peanut butter – without sugar or hydrogenated oils.
¾” – 1 ½” spade bit (for boring holes to hold the birdseed.)
¼” – ½” drill bit (for adding extra branches, if desired.)
The girls chose a branch from a selection of logs that we had gathered. Some girls chose to drill small holes to add extra limbs where birds could perch. Then they used a larger drill bit to drill holes for packing birdseed into the branch.
Next, it was time to use pliers to pry apart a length of chain. The girls considered the thickness of the branch from which their bird feeder would hang and how far down they wanted it to hang.
They placed an eyelet screw into the top of the log. First, they used a hammer to tap the eyelet screw into place so the screw teeth could enter the wood. Then they twisted it down into the wood. They looped one end of their chain through the eyelet and used pliers to clamp it shut.
Any consistency of the birdseed-peanut butter mixture will work. The girls were encouraged to go with their instinct for how thick the mix needed to be. According to the Audubon Society, most birds love black sunflower seeds. Try adding thistle to attract goldfinches. Peanuts attract woodpeckers, but don’t buy red millet – most birds don’t like it.
Time to get hands “dirty” working with the sticky gooey concoction of peanut butter and bird seed. In the rewilding of girls, getting dirty hands is essential, and with this project, using bare hands to fill up the bore holes is the only way to go!
“I brought Artemis to the schools to empower girls through connection with genuine, legit nature. Agency and autonomy with hand tools, power tools? Using the detritus of nature to give back to nature? Yes, please. Dialing in on this full-cycle experience with them is wild!”
Artemis, a program with the National Wildlife Foundation