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How To Make a Bird Seed Catcher for Your Bird Feeder

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Bird feeders can attract the prettiest birds,  but the problem is all the mess and weeds that you get from the bird seed! Learn how we made a birdseed catcher to keep the ground under our bird feeder weed and mess-free.

diy Bird Seed Catcher

How To Make a Bird Seed Catcher for Your Bird Feeder

Didn’t winter this year seem like it was never going to end? (We even lost a significant amount of our new landscape/plants due to a very late deep freeze – ugh!) But end, it did, and it seems like we skipped spring altogether!

We’ve spent the last couple of months getting settled in our new home, and have been hitting all the landscape projects hard.  We’ve gotten several large mulch beds done, and next week we have 30 yards of river rock getting delivered for the areas where there is a lot of water runoff.

We want all the birds!

A “secret project” Hubby and I are working on is that we are on a mission to start luring some of the colorful birds from our neighbor’s bird feeders over to ours! (Shhh…, don’t tell, lol)

We’re planning to add a small butterfly/bird garden, a new water fountain, and a couple of bird feeders to an area just outside my bedroom window.  We’ve been so busy with all the hardscape areas, we haven’t gotten to the flower planting yet, but the bird feeder is already up, and hubby will be working on my fountain this weekend. (similar to this one, but 3 tiered.)

How to Keep the Bird Feeder Area Weed Free

We absolutely love bird watching in our backyard, but the only downside to bird feeders is the mess the birds make and the weeds that germinate from the seed.

We got tired of pulling the weeds from under the bird feeder, so my hubby got creative at our last house and came up with a fabulous solution to the bird seed/weed/mess under the feeder.

In our case, we have two feeders for two different types of seeds.

In the larger feeder, we use black oil sunflower seeds, (which don’t seem to germinate) for the cardinals and lesser goldfinch (yes, these tiny little birds prefer the sunflower seed), and a smaller feeder for white millet for the other colorful songbirds. (We have stopped buying the wild bird blend because, over time, we have realized, the birds pick out and throw on the ground almost everything but the sunflower seeds. And the same with the millet blend – we just buy the pure millet now)

All the birds love this millet, but it is the messy one, and these seeds do germinate and grow like crazy. To keep the area under the feeder with the white seed clean, Hubby used a large water heater pan, painted it to match the ground cover, and placed it under the messy feeder to catch all the spilled seed.

You can see the bird seed catcher in action in the background at our old house in this photo full of discarded seeds and, most importantly…  NO WEEDS growing in our flower bed!

These photos were taken with my phone through the window, so the quality is not the best, but you can see some of the birds we get. (The yellow birds LOVE the bubble fountain we made.) 


This is the baffle we use. It works great for keeping the squirrels from climbing up the pole and cleaning out the feeders.

How to Make a Bird Seed Catcher:

Materials needed 

  • Large pan (water heater pan works great, the bigger, the better.)
  • Spray paint to match your ground cover
  • Shepherds hook/bird feeder holder
  • Drill
  • Bird feeders / seed

Project instructions:

Paint the top and sides of the pan.  Let dry completely.

Using the bottom prongs of the bird feeder as a guide, and mark the spot where the prongs need to penetrate the pan.

Drill holes through the marked spots.

How to Make a Bird Seed Catcher:

Put the pan in place and push bird feeder stand into the ground. (BTW, isn’t that grass gorgeous? We had it installed last month. It’s a new Bermuda product that comes pre-seeded with Winter Rye.)

mess free bird feeder

Backfill the pan with ground material.

how to keep the bird feeder area mess free

Set up your feeders, and you’re done!

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any tips to share on keeping the area under your bird feeder weed free? Sound off in the comments below!

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  1. kalamazoo says:

    so when you get the discarded/spilled birdseed in the catch pan underneath, how do you remove it? Seems like it would be difficult to pull up the shepherd’s hook each time. Do you just scrape it up with your hands? What happens when it rains?

    1. I just leave it, We have lots of wildlife, so birds, raccoons squirrels eat the seed in the pan. When it rains it gets wet. I guess you could remove the seed with a Whisked broom and dust pan if it bothers you.

  2. This seems like a good idea overall, but doesn’t the tray kill the grass underneath it?

  3. ColleenB. says:

    Great idea; not only for the smaller birds that eat from the hanging feeders but also wonderful for the ground feeder birds.
    We have had rabbits eating out of our homemade ground, platform feeders.

  4. No drain holes for rain water?

  5. Great idea! Will definitely do this since the birds have been making a mess in my yard.

    I actually have the same feeder as you do on the right – curious how you shortened the string? The existing loop leaves way too much slack between the feeder and the hook.

    Thank you!

    1. Hubby used 2 very small zip ties. They hold it great. We had to shorten it because the squirrels were jumping from the ground to the feeder, lol.

  6. Great idea and post but Is there a reason why you didn’t position the bird feeder stand in the center of the pan? One of your feeders hangs outside the catch pan..I’m confused.

  7. Leigh Ann says:

    I’m interested in who makes the Bermuda/Winter Rye combination as that’s what I was wanting for our yard? I’ll definitely be trying the bird seed catcher as I have multi feeder poles and need a bigger catcher?

    1. We got ours from a place called the Grass Patch in the Austin Texas area. It is definitely a seasonal product. (got ours in February) We called back in April-is and it was too late in the year to get it.

  8. How do you empty the eaten seeds from the catcher?

  9. Al Searsa says:

    What happens when it rains or you water the lawn?

    1. hopefully nothing, we get a few weeds growing through the hole drilled in the bottom of the pan. I (my husband 🙂 ) just pull them up.

  10. Your yard looks beautiful! I too am a lover of our back yard birds, we get so many!! The squirrels are always impossible to keep away, so I’ve given up…now there’s a new issue, recently I’ve spotted a rat near the seed that’s fallen on the ground…I just purchased a few seed catchers that hang underneath the feeders, we’ll see how they work…my question to you, do you have any problems with anything eating the seed that’s fallen into the pan? Like, has it attracted rodents or unwanted critters? Thank you!

    1. I haven’t spotted any mice, but the squirrels, cardinals, and doves do a pretty good job eating the fallen seed. No telling what we get at night though. I am certain the deer have figured out how to drink from the hummingbird feeder.

  11. such a smart idea, I am constantly pulling weed from around the feeder!

  12. I know what Ibotta is, but I haven’t seen that new feature. Sounds kinda neat.