DIY Bird Feeders

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While I had a few days off around Christmas I finally tackled a little project I’d been wanting to do for a while, creating a few more bird feeders for the yard.  I had seen spiral copper feeders online and loved the simple design, so I did a quick search on Pinterest to find a tutorial and gave it a try.  I used small copper tubing, which is typically used for the water line on newer refrigerators.  It’s a soft metal so it bends very easily.  The tutorials I found suggested using a rolling pin to get the circular shape, but we don’t have one so I used a soda can instead.

I wasn’t able to get pictures during the process due to needing both hands and the hubs being busy with another project, but it’s really as simple as placing the beginning of the tubing against the can and pressing gently as you turn the can toward the tubing.  Once I had a spiral tall enough I snipped the tubing with wire cutters to make a clean end and wrapped that around the can as well to complete the final loop.  After I removed the can from the spiral I pulled the top loop up so it was perpendicular to the rest of the spirals so I’d have somewhere to hang the feeder from.  I stretched the spiral out a bit to make spaces between the loops and once I was happy with how that was looking, I curled the bottom loop a bit tighter so it could act as a stopper at the end.  I had enough tubing left over to make a second as well.  Here’s they arebefore I filled them.

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A

I filled them with apples and hung them outside on the hooks where my hanging baskets go during the summer.  I haven’t seen any of the wildlife visit them yet, but it might take them a while to investigate and learn this new food source.  I’m considering making more of these for my Etsy shop, but am not sure if they would be big sellers or I they would ship well so I might post them on a few of the local buy/sell pages and see if they get any traction there first.

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I continued my DIY feeder making roll with this simple S hook orange feeder. The hubs drilled a hole in a piece of drift wood from my stash and I positioned it where I thought it would work best as a perch then added a bit of hot glue to keep it in place. We could have just made the hole smaller to begin with so the perch would fit snuggly but I didn’t want to risk breaking it when maneuvering it on the hook.  I cut an orange in half and just stabbed it onto the end of the hook.  The hubs enjoyed cleaning up the other half of the orange so it didn’t go to waste.

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This one hasn’t had any visitors either from what I’ve seen, but I’ll leave it up for a while to see if the birds and squirrels find it just like it did for the peanut ring feeder which I filled while I was at it.  This continues to be a huge draw for both squirrels and birds so I might just let it run empty to encourage them to explore the other new feeders.  If I still don’t see any traffic at them in a few weeks I might switch to using homemade suet balls or blocks instead of fruit and see if that’s more appealing to our neighborhood’s critters.

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I picked up this store bought feeder several weeks ago and placed it farther down the fence from the peanut feeder so the smaller birds would have somewhere to eat when the squirrel is devouring the peanuts. The perch is on a spring that can be adjusted to different tensions for different sized birds and pulls down over the openings if there is too much weight, such as a squirrel, which was the main selling point for me.  Plus I like the bright red, barn style too!  I’m still playing with the different spring settings to see which works best for our area’s flock since it didn’t come with instructions or info other than the price tag, but I have seen groups of chickadees sitting on the ledge and pecking at seeds so it must be appropriately set for them.  And because it has such a large reservoir, it hasn’t needed filling since I put it up so it’s perfect for the far area of the yard where we don’t often go.

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Hopefully all of these options will make the birds stick around come spring, so they can keep the mosquito population in check allowing us to enjoy the deck more.  If you have any tips on how to attract birds to new feeders or suggestions for feeder styles that work best I’d love to hear them!

Slinky + Embroidery Hoop = Peanut Squirrel Feeder!

Done

When we first put the bird feeder out we had a kamikaze squirrel who took up residence on the branch it hung from and kept up a constant chatter to proclaim his turf.  Of course he only wanted the sunflower seeds and would knock everything else out of the way to get to them, thus most of my bird seed mix ended up on the ground wasted.

I quite enjoyed watching his aerobatic endeavors and didn’t want to shoo him off, so I decided to make a feeder just for him.  I’d seen metal hoop peanut feeders for WAY too much so I scouted Pinterest until I found a DIY version using a slinky, which I just happened to have thanks to the $1 zone at Target.  I picked up a small plastic embroidery hoop at Michaels for  few buck with a 40% off coupon and paired the two together with a key ring to keep the two ends connected. It was that simple.

FeederReadyCloseup

Although she didn’t offer any assistance or guidance, Luna supervised my work and gave it a good inspection before it was filled.

FeederInspect

Since I used a small slinky and hoop, I only needed about a half bag of peanuts to fill it completely.

FeederPeanutsNow that the fence was  mostly done I added my plant hooks and hung the feeders from the raised posts.  This gives Luna the perfect vantage point to supervise who visits each feeder.

LunaWait

And safely watch what her siblings are doing without being in their midst!  It is pretty funny watching her get to this lookout though – since she can only jump high enough to get her claws in the top board.  After that she gets an ab workout hauling herself up.

Luna

I’m sure these hooks were intended to be used with the flat side as the top, but it felt more secure to have the hook curl over rather than under.  And I’m pretty sure that the birds and other critters partaking in the buffet won’t give two hoots which way they sit.BirdBathI haven’t seen squirrely squirrel back since I put the feeder out and no one else seems to appreciate my handiwork just yet, but I’ll leave it out because soon their food sources will grow scarce and they’ll  be on the hunt for yummy things to stash away for those cold winter days. 🙂

 

 

The Little Birdies In Our Backyard

I rarely go in the backyard here at the rental.  There’s nothing out there but a hillside of mossy weeds for the dogs to run in and a small grouping of trees.  Granted that’s on purpose since we decided not to do anything in the yard because we knew this was a temporary residence and we’d rather spend money on something permanent at the new house.

That being the case, it was unusual for me to venture out into the trees to spread some flower clippings.  I like to throw things that will biodegrade out into ‘nature’ rather than in the trash can whenever possible.  It’s just one more way to recycle in my mind.  As I stepped into the trees I came face to face with a little bird peeking out at me from around the other side of a tree.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera on me to get a shot of him checking me out from around the tree and every time I’ve gone back out in search of him he’s no where to be found.  I believe he was a downy woodpecker because he matched the pictures I’ve found online for that species.

There is a bird feeder out back and the trees provide a nice little oasis from the suburban area nearby, so I can understand why birds would want to hang around. I found it quite nice to be still and listen to the wind in the leaves while I waited for Mr. Woodpecker to appear.

Tree

It’s been almost two weeks with no sign of him.  Although Mr. Woodpecker is apparently camera shy, I did spot this little sparrow.  He flitted around from branch to branch and then flew off in search of a less populated hang out.

Sparrow

During another visit to the ‘woods’ I discovered this nest in one of the trees.  I was excited to see who might be inhabiting it, but I haven’t heard a peep or seen anyone visit it yet.  I guess whoever built it has moved on to a bigger tree.

Nest

And every time I venture out into the ‘woods’ my little assistant tags along with this “What the heck are we doing mom?” look.  I think she hopes we’re on a quest to find the perfect throwing stick and doesn’t understand why mom seems to keep looking up rather than down. 🙂

Assistant