How to Make Bird Seed Balls

By Contributing Writer
Make Bird Seed Balls
Images: M.J. Doran

Setting out seeds in your back yard makes bird-watching easy. But as the weather turns cold, wild birds will be looking for a little fat, in addition to their normal diet of seeds, nuts and fruit, to help them survive the winter. These seed balls are ideal for winter bird-feeding because they include fat in the form of lard and suet. Choose bird seed to attract common winter species in your region. Then make up a few seed balls to hang in your yard, and you'll enjoy bird watching at home all winter long.

How to Make Bird Seed Balls

a 2-yard length, yarn, the yarn, sixths

Cut a 2-yard length of yarn. Fold the yarn into sixths, so that three closed loop strands are formed at one end.

the yarn strands, the end, the loops, Braid

Knot the yarn strands together at the end, away from the loops. Braid the three yarn loop strands to form a cord about 14 inches long.

the yarn loops, the end, the braid, the loops

Tie the yarn loops securely at the end of the braid. Trim two of the loops, leaving one loop intact.

a 1-yard length, 24-gauge craft wire, Thread, the wire

Cut a 1-yard length of 24-gauge craft wire. Thread the wire through the large knotted end of the braided cord.

half the wire length, the knot, the knot, the middle

Pull half the wire length through the knot, so that the knot is in the middle of the wire. Twist the wire ends together and fold them over so that no sharp edges are exposed.

the wire, a loose ball, diameter, the cord

Crunch the wire into a loose ball about 2 inches in diameter. Keep the cord knot roughly in the center of the wire ball.

Mix 2 cups bird seed, a half-cup lard, a quarter-cup suet, a mixing bowl

Mix 2 cups bird seed, a half-cup lard and a quarter-cup suet together in a mixing bowl.

the bird seed ball, the bird seed mixture, the wire ball, the ball

Form the bird seed ball. Press the bird seed mixture into the wire ball. Add more mixture and form the ball with your hands until it is about 3 inches in diameter.

Chill the bird seed ball in the freezer for 2 hours, or chill outdoors if your climate is cold. Chilling solidifies the seed balls so they're less fragile and easier to hang.

the birdseed ball, a tree branch, hook, the braided cord

Hang the birdseed ball from a tree branch or hook. Pull the braided cord through the small loop at the end of the cord to make a larger loop for hanging.