Building A Bird Feeder

Building a backyard bird feeder can be an enjoyable hobby, learn how to squirrel proof, and protect our feathered friends

Birds are wonderful to watch, and they are also great insect eliminators. If you would like to attract a few more birds to your yard, feeding them is one of the easiest ways. A bird feeder does not need to be elaborate, or expensive, as long as it will hold a supply of birdseed birds will come to it. You will need to create a system to prevent squirrels from raiding the birdfeeder.

Squirrels are smart, at least when it comes to defeating most anti squirrel devices. Your best bet is to use several different squirrel deterrents, and change them as soon as it appears that they have discovered how to defeat them. The anti-squirrel devices should not deter the birds, as long as you leave the feeder in the same place.

The types of birds that inhabit your area, as well as the ones you wish to attract will be a determining factor in the types of food you put out. You should not leave more than a day or two's worth of food out at a time, because if an ill bird visits it could infect all the birds that use your feeder. It is extremely important to clean the feeder in hot soapy water periodically, to reduce the chance of infection, or illness from spoiled food. If you feed the birds during the summer months do not suddenly stop, some birds will depend upon your feeder to make it through the cold winter months.

You should also consider providing a birdbath as a source of water, even in the winter. This can be a little difficult since frozen water is of no use to birds, but if you empty out ice and refill several times a day during the winter you will provide the birds with a ready source for the water needed for their health.

What type of food you are going to feed the birds will help you decide upon what type of feeder you want to make for your birds. If you would like to feed them suet as well as seeds you will need a wire cage for the suet as well as a tray for the seed. If you will be occasionally putting out fruits and vegetables you will need an open tray. On the other hand if you will be using strictly seed mixtures then a box with a shallow tray will work fine.

Your feeder can be a simple piece of wood about 8 or 12 inches square, with a low lip on all four sides, no roof or cover. If you prefer something a little more elaborate, four posts with a sloped roof slightly smaller than the base will protect the seed from the weather, and allow the birds to perch on the feeder to eat. Adding sides to your feeder is a simple matter, just allow an inch or so for the seed to slide out onto the tray below.

Where you hang your feeder is as important as how often you clean, or refill it. You will want an area that allows the birds to feel secure from predatory birds, also protected from cats, and dogs that might be near by. If you have trees or bushes in your yard, then somewhere near them, so the smaller birds have a safe haven, is your best choice. A hanging feeder will be easier to squirrel proof, and will help stop cats from climbing up to visit. A string of thin wire strung between two trees, with the feeder, hung half way will foil squirrels at least temporarily. If you can add a circular piece of thin wire, or metal with a radius of 8 to 10 inches that freely spins on either side of the bird feeder will provide an additional hindrance to squirrels. A series of smaller baffles that are no more than 1/2 inch apart on either side of the feeder will again help prevent raids by squirrels.

Nothing will completely prevent squirrels, but if you change the locations, the sizes and the number of squirrel baffles fairly frequently, and avoid getting into a pattern you should be able to stop them from raiding your birdfeeder too often. On the other hand, when they do come to visit, you might enjoy watching them as the squirrels try to figure out the newest series of baffles you have installed. Feeding birds can be an enjoyable hobby for young and old alike.

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