Start a Bird Cafe

In winter birds find it hard to find enough food and use a lot of energy trying to stay warm.

You can help them out by setting up a bird cafe in your garden over winter.
Our native birds like to eat different things – some prefer seeds, others prefer nectar. Make a menu to please all the feathered visitors in your garden. Below are some suggestions.

Fruit feast

 Silvereyes will love your bird cafe. Photo: Robyn Windsor

This is really easy! Just cut an apple or orange in half and spike it through a tree twig. Birds love the sugar in the fruit.

Make sure you change the fruit regularly (if it doesn’t all get eaten first) because mould isn’t good for birds to eat.

 Pine cone bird feeder


Next time you are out for a walk, collect fully opened pinecones and make a feeder. You might get a bit messy!

You will need:

  • String
  • Open pine cone
  • Unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 slice stale bread
  • Bird seed
  • Raisins (optional)

What to do:

Tie a piece of string from the stem of a pine cone

Spread unsalted peanut butter all over the cone, stuffing it in the gaps. Unsalted peanut butter is needed because birds can get sick if they eat salt.

Crumble bread slices into a bowl and mix in bird seeds. Wholegrain is the best and this is a great way to use up stale crusts, just make sure the bread isn’t mouldy.

You can also add a small handful of raisins if you want to.

Roll the pine cone in the seed and bread mix until it’s well coated

Hang the pine cone from a tree branch, making sure it’s well out of the reach of cats. You’ll notice silvereyes will love these, as well as sparrows and chaffinches.

Milk bottle bird feeder

Recycle your old bottles into bird feeders.
You will need:
- Empty, clean milk or other bottle with a lid
- String or wire
- Scissors
- Hammer and nail
- Bird seed
What to do:
1. Cut a hole in the side of your bottle about 5cm above the bottom. The hole should be about 5 cm high and not too big, or the seed will fall out.
2. Make a few small holes in the bottom the bottle using your nail. This will let any water drain out.
3. Make a hole in the middle of the lid using your nail (or a drill if you have one). The string needs to go through the hole to make a loop to hang your feeder.
4. Fill the feeder with birdseed and screw the lid on. Hang it in a tree or somewhere high for the birds out of the reach of cats.
5. Make sure you empty and clean your feeder often. If it begins to wear out, recycle it and make another one.

Send us pictures of your bird cafe to kcc@forestandbird.org.nz