Sunday, February 17, 2013

DIY Chick-Feeder / Bird-Feeders


I'm preparing a class for the Master Gardener chapter that I'm a member of on making bird-feeders utilizing natural sources, recycled materials and re-purposed items. Of course the best bird-feeder is what nature provides: nuts, seeds and fruit from native trees, shrubs and wildflowers (and native insects)... Here's my hand-out for my "bird" talk I give:  Creating a Bird Garden

But - this class is all about creating bird-feeders and I've been trying a few DIY feeders I've found over the Internet. These DIY chick-feeder inspired bird-feeders are all over the web, especially Pinterest and Etsy...  And if you happen to have a flock of backyard chickens that have outgrown these feeders, they're a great way to re-purpose. If you don't have a spare chick-feeder laying around (or never had a reason to purchase one), they are only about 2-3 dollars at a farm supply store.

I came up with three different ways to transform this domestic bird-feeder into a wild bird-feeder...

The first involves drilling a holes in a mason jar and glass plate. Click on this link for the steps in learning this skill: DIY Wine Bottle Bird-Feeders. Once the holes are drilled: add an eye bolt, a couple of rubber washers and nuts. The hardest part of this feeder was figuring out how to tighten the nuts (your hand won't fit inside the jar). My husband then brought me a basin wrench to accomplish this task, but it was still a little difficult to get the nuts tightened securely.

American Goldfinches
In my second feeder example, I wrapped 8-gauge copper wire (Home Depot: 66 cents/foot) around the jar and created a hanger.

Carolina Chickadee ~ Tufted Titmouse
For my final feeder (which is the easiest), I purchased a lid from a thrift store and epoxied it to the jar. I added a couple of zip ties to the lid handle to keep it from sliding on the sheppard's hook.

American Goldfinch ~ Tufted Titmouse

These bird-feeders are cute, but they really don't hold a large quantity of birdseed - but the birds and (my backyard flock) seem to approve!

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