Easy DIY Bird Feeder

My husband, Andy, has kindly agreed to guest blog to share how he made this easy DIY bird feeder for the deck of our current home.  Thank you, Andy!

Wood Peckers on DIY Bird Feeder - UsingWhatYouHave.com

This is a pretty simple woodworking project, particularly if you have a miter saw and drill press but neither device is essential. The end result is not squirrel proof but does force squirrels and chipmunks into spectacular gymnastics in order to steal the bird food as demonstrated below.

Easy DIY Bird Feeder tutorial - UsingWhatYouHave.com

Basic material is 2” x 2” pressure treated wood mitered baluster sold by Lowes, Home Depot or equivalent for use as deck railings. They come in various lengths and you may need 2 or 3 depending on the finished dimensions you want.

Some thought is necessary beforehand to determine where you want the feeder to hang for best viewing (and maximum squirrel deterrence) and how you are going to mount it. Together these considerations will dictate your dimensions and how many balusters are needed.

In addition to the wood you will need countersunk screws for the joints and an eye screw to hang the feeder. All of these screws need to be weatherproof so I used deck screws and either galvanized or zinc plated eye screws.

How to Make a Bird Feeder

I’ve made two of these now (this article includes pictures from both) and I haven’t used specific dimensions for each component, just laying the wood on the ground and judging by eye what looks like good proportions and where the cuts need to be. I have mitered the joint at the 90° corner but that’s just because I have a miter saw and can do that easily, although a simple butt joint would also work here.

In theory any cut edges should be treated with wood preservative; however, with a total cost for the project around $5 I’ve accepted that if it begins to rot then I will simply replace the entire unit. Each joint is held with deck screws with countersunk holes pre-drilled to prevent the wood from splitting. Again, having a drill press makes getting these holes in the right place easier but a handheld drill also works just fine.

The nut/seed bird feeder attaches to the eye screw using a spring-loaded link. This allows the feeder to be readily removed for re-filling. Generally we find that this sort of clamp cannot be removed by the squirrels although I have to concede that from time to time we have found the entire feeder unit removed and lying on the ground below the support. I tend to blame visiting raccoons for this with their manipulative ‘hands’ but it could just be an extra crafty squirrel.

Easey DIY Bird Feeder - UsingWhatYouHave.comWe also learned the hard way that feeders made from wire mesh would eventually succumb to squirrel teeth and this latest version uses a sheet metal construction that has survived several years of rodent abuse.

Below is a picture of a chipmunk on the deck – possibly with a mouth full of the food from the feeder?

Chipmonk - UsingWhatYouHave.com

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