Sunday, March 31, 2013

DIY Sunflower Tower Bird-Feeder

I recently conducted 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 was all about creating bird-feeders and I came up with a few originals and I experimented with several I found on the Internet. Sunflower seeds will attract the widest variety of birds (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1980) and I wanted to demonstrate a feeder that specially offered this seed. My inspiration for this feeder was actually a similar design that I saw at Walmart for around $15.00...
Supplies:
Two 6" terracotta saucers
1/4" mesh hardware cloth
Glass and tile drill bit - 1/8"
3/32" vinyl coated wire rope (about 2 feet) 
1/8" ferrule and stop set
Zip ties
Pliers, drill, wire cutter
Start by drilling 1/8" holes in the center of each saucer. It's pretty easy to drill these holes with the appropriate drill bit. I also purchased a ceramic bird (to set on top of the feeder) and drilled a hole in the top of the bird also (Michael's $2.00).


Roll the hardware cloth into a tube that will fit inside the flat bottom part of the saucer. Using a wire cutter, carefully snip all the sharp edges of the hardware cloth. - I folded the vertical edge of the mesh to give an added protection of any sharp edges... Fasten the tube edges together using zip ties. Pull the ties closed on the inside of the tube then cut off the excess. 

Thread the wire rope through the top saucer, mesh tube and bottom saucer. Using pliers clamp the ferrule and stop onto the wire at the base and top.

Because I had an extra piece of hardware cloth and the appropriate drill bit, this feeder cost less than $10.00 to construct. Hardware cloth is fairly expensive though and I'm not sure if you can purchase only a small portion. The $15.00 Walmart feeder might be cheaper in the end, but I like the looks of this one much more! 

Male Cardinal, Male Goldfinch and Female Purple Finches
Male Goldfinches and House (or Purple?) Finch
Male Goldfinch and Downy Woodpecker
Heritage Chickens!   

This feeder has quickly become the most popular feeding station. The mesh cloth prevents very little birdseed waste, but if any sunflower seeds do fall to the ground - they are quickly devoured by my busy flock of foraging hens...

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20 comments:

  1. What a great post and I enjoyed your photos of the birds too. Thanks so much and have a great week!

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  2. This looks do-able! Thanks for the inspiration ;)

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  3. Great post. You did such a good job with the step by step instructions and I love seeing the birds.

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  4. nice job! looks tough enough to resist squirrel teeth, too - at least for a while.

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  5. very crafty... they look quite happy:-)

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  6. Great job making this birdfeeder. Well done!
    Lovely photos too!

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  7. Very nice bird feeder and the birds obviously like it.

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  8. Wow, this looks easy and is a great feeder. The birds seem to love it. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. You never cease to amaze me, and you continually give me some fantastic ideas!!!

    Great job, great post.

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  10. Nice project, with very productive results. I cannot use a feeder here on my south Florida lake, as the Muscovy Ducks, Monk Parakeets and pigeons can scatter all the seed in minutes.

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  11. Lots of customers on this one. Another great idea!

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  12. Wonderful post and excellent photography of nature's beauty and your great bird feeder ~ Wow! ~ ^_^

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  13. Great feeders! Great results! Great bird photos!
    Thank you for sharing.

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  14. Obviously, the birds agree with you! Great project!

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  15. Looks like they work!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW- Stewart M - Melbourne

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  16. Rebecca. I wanted you to know that I am reading all your blog posts on my IPAD, but it is hard to comment. I love all these DIY projects you are sharing..Michelle

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  17. I enjoy your pages of information. I have a problem.... Hope you can help.
    I LOVE letting my chickens run free. We have plenty of room that is safe from most predators. Once in a while an Eagle will fly over but the Guinea Hens usually sound off and everyone takes cover.
    My problem is that my Chickens, young & mostly the older 2 like to eat my flowers. I have MANY different Hostas and they LOVE to eat them. I thought possibly they were eating the slugs and I kept them locked up for a longtime so the Hosta could establish themselves again this year and they grew wonderfully. No real slug problem that I can see. Once I let the chickens out they started eating them again... So, I only let them out if I am around to spray the hose to scatter them back towards the coop or another delectable field of grass or weeds for them to eat.... but they keep returning. I live in a natural setting and I really don't want fences all over the gardens... Is there any other choice? An idea or two would be great!

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    Replies
    1. Other than fencing the chickens in a run or fencing in your garden there isn't much of a way to keep a determined chicken from destroying or eating your plants... I have put chicken wire on the ground (secured with bricks) to keep them from scratching up annuals or perennials. I haven't noticed the chickens eating my hostas, but I have a hard time keeping the deer away from them! Good luck!

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