Skip to content

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

29-31 January 2021

Bird Feeding

In preparation for the Birdwatch and to help the birds in this season it is good to get birds used to finding food in your garden/outside space.  Make some of the feeders below and put some food out this week and save some for next weeks bird watch and don’t forget to keep feeding the birds at least until the spring.

Loo roll bird feeders

You will need:

  • A cardboard tube – such as toilet roll or kitchen roll
  • String
  • Spreadable fat such as lard or margarine or peanut butter
  • Bird seeds


  • Spread the tube with the fat and then roll it in seeds.
  • Thread some string through the tube and hang it in a bush or low tree.

Pine cone bird feeders

You will need:

  • Pine cones – Note - they are best if open - pine cones close up when wet and open up when dry.  If placed in a warm dry place they will open up in a few hours.
  • String
  • Spreadable fat such as lard or margarine or peanut butter
  • Bird seeds


  • Attach the string to the stalk end of the cone
  • Press/spread the fat in the cracks and crevasses of the pine cone.
  • Press seeds into the fat
  • Hang the feeder in a bush or tree

Milk bottle bird feeder

You will need:

  • Plastic milk bottle – 2 or 4 pints preferable
  • Stanley or craft knife – to be used by adult
  • String
  • Paints – acrylic paints are best and will last longer than usual children’s paint
  • Short twig
  • Bird seed.


An adult will need to use a Stanley knife to cut the milk bottle.

  • Cut holes in both sides of the milk bottle
  • Cut slits in the lower part of the bottle to put the perch through
  • Pierce holes in the base to allow water to drain away.
  • Tie string around the top and replace the lid.
  • Paint the bottle in camouflage type colours
  • Put seeds in the base of the feeder and hang in a tree or bush.

Bird identification

At the end of January each year since 1979 the RSPB hold the Big Garden Birdwatch and they encourage people to spend one hour recording all the birds they see in their garden or a park.  This helps to spot changes in bird numbers and is the first step to putting things right.  Even if you don’t see any birds that is an important result.

To take part it is useful to be able to identify the birds you are likely to see.  A colourful sheet of the birds you are most likely to see can be found here

On a walk, why not try to identify what you see.

Another way of learning to identify species is through games.  The matching pairs game is suitable for age 3+, and top trumps for age 6+.

Matching pairs game – to be found on RSPB website

Top Trumps game – to be found on RSPB website