Birds help boost our mental health

11 Oct, 2022

This month our Men’s Shed focused on making bird feeders and mental health.

These will help keep our feathered friends fed throughout the Autumn and Winter months. The idea to make the feeders came from an RSPB magazine that one of our gents subscribed to and gave instructions on making a recycled birder feeder from an empty drinks bottle.

making bird feeders for mental health

If you would like to make your own, please see the instructions on how to build your very own recycled bottle feeder below:

You will need

  • Plastic drinks bottles
  • Yoghurt pots or milk cartons (make sure they’re clean)
  • Wire or string
  • Bird seed
  • Scissors

Making Bird Feeders

Step-by-step guide

  1. Cut a hole in the side large enough to allow a free flow of seeds, but in such a way that it won’t all fall out on the ground in the slightest puff of wind and won’t get wet if it rains.
  2. Make a few small holes in the bottom of your feeder to allow any rainwater to drain away.
  3. Fix a stick or piece of bamboo through the bottle, so the birds have a perch.
  4. Hang it with wire or strong string from a tree or your washing line.
  5. If your feeder starts to wear out or the food in it goes mouldy, recycle it and make another one! Remember to keep your feeders well stocked, especially in Winter.

The gents proudly hung up the feeders around our Burton site and in the Trent Court courtyard, hoping we might attract some little birds. Luckily, the Burton site has some lovely bamboo which we were able to chop into little stands for the birds to rest on whilst eating the seed. We listened to the radio and enjoyed a chat as we crafted away. Happy to say the gents were really pleased with the results.

Hand made bird feeder

Getting out in the garden, albeit for just a short period, can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Birdwatching can be a very meditative activity; it allows those taking part to spend some time in a quiet place without any distractions. It also allows our ladies and gentlemen to get out during the cold months to replenish the feeders and experience the nature around them.

There are lots of benefits to birdwatching

Getting back to nature

Getting out of the house and into nature, even for 10 minutes, can significantly impact your mental and physical well-being. Fresh air is great for your mind, body and soul. Even in Winter, we can absorb vital amounts of Vitamin D, which helps keep our bones and muscles strong and beats the Winter blues away.

Fresh air can also help to improve our concentration and memory; indeed, research has shown that as little as 10 minutes in nature can substantially improve the health of those living with mental health disorders and dementia.


Birdwatching forces you to be mindful. It requires your full attention; for instance, you can’t keep up with what is happening on the TV and watch out for waxwings. This helps our ladies and gentlemen concentrate on the here and now.

Birdwatching has parallels with meditation, which is excellent for reminiscence work as the mind calms, and we have time to process our memories and emotions.

Keeping fit

For many people, Winter is a time for getting cosy, watching tv, reading, or participating in an indoor hobby. All are mostly sedate activities, and we can fall into the habit of not moving around much. Although birdwatching can be enjoyed from inside the house, it is also an excellent opportunity to wrap warm and get out to a nearby park or garden. This can help you keep physically fit, stretching muscles and reducing the risk of falls.


Not only does birdwatching help us physically stay healthy, but it can also support our mental well-being by connecting us with others. It can also help the flow of conversation when family and friends visit.

Birdwatching has been a hot topic of many conversations in many of our homes. It has helped to span the generations with grandkids showing their feeders and logs of garden visitors to our ladies and gents. Many of our ladies and gentlemen have bonded over making their birdfeeders and planning for the big garden birdwatch.

According to Friends of the Earth, if you want to see who visits your garden or local area during the autumn and winter months, these are the top ten birds to look out for:

Top Ten Autumn/Winter Birds

  1. Tufted duck
  2. Woodcock
  3. Sparrowhawk
  4. Waxwing
  5. Fieldfare
  6. Redwing
  7. Chiffchaff
  8. Blackcap
  9. Robin
  10. Long-tailed tit

For more information about these birds, please check out the Friends of the Earth website here.

We can’t wait to see who visits us over the next few months and to get involved in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in January! If you want to get involved or just see what it’s all about, head on over to their website here.