Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Log Bird Feeder

There truly is very little gardening to be done - we've had frost for almost 2 weeks and the snow came just as predicted by those weather forecasters (makes a change).  I must admit that I get rather guilty when I'm unable to do any gardening - I don't even need much convincing to get out there and clear up the winter debris from those unwanted places.

As part of my 'gardening fix' I decided to have a go at making a Bird Feeder - I came across a picture of a recycled log feeder recently and thought that I could very easily fashion something from a log I rescued from a pile going to the council tip after a neighbour had 2 very dead conifers removed from her garden back in summer.  For the past few months I've walked by it as it lay on the path - yet to be given a purpose.  Well it needn't wait any longer.


Here is the log with screw in vine eye at either end.  These need to be spaced appropriately as they will provide the balance needed for hanging....



It will be necessary to drill a pilot hole first - I find the easiest way of screwing these in is to use a pair of pliers.  An alternative would be to drill a whole through the entire width, slip rope through and tie a large knot on the underside.  I did give this some consideration but decided that the wet weather would probably make the rope perish quicker.



In order to provide a supply of food for the birds you will need to create hollows along the length of the log.  I started doing this by using the largest size spade bit I had but found it wasn't doing the job to my nor Robbie Robin's satisfaction.    
      



Whilst persevering using the spade bit - I suddenly remembered that I had bought a set of core cutting bits years ago - but the question was WHERE WERE THEY??????????? An hours or so later I found them in an old tool box way at the back of the shed.  Note to self - sort out that shed in spring!!!!!  



As you can see in the picture below - this made the work much easier.  The down side to using a hole cutter is that it does not remove the centre.  However a mallet and a chisel soon has them out.  It is best to try smooth out the bottom of the hole as much as possible.



There we have it - the log with it's many varying sized holes.  I also gave consideration to drilling a smaller hole all the way through but decided that not having a wooden drill bit long and thin enough to go through the whole way - the expense of buying one wasn't worth it - as a new log would be free if it rots.  Cleaning should not be a problem either as I already use small bottle brushes for cleaning out other feeders - the same could be done with this.

       



Idealy, I would have preferred to hang my feeder from a stong branch of a mature tree - but seeing as there is none in my garden, I opted to hang it on the fence directly outside my kitchen window.  This would also allow us watch the birds as they feed.

A couple of redundant brackets used for hanging planting baskets were attached to the fence - make sure that what ever you hang your feeder from it is strong enough to take the weight.  I attached it through the faceboard and into the arris rail behind with good sized screws.  A couple of lengths of chain (left over from another project) was used as a means to hang it from the brackets.      




All that was left to do now was to fill it with feed and wait - rather strangely for the birds that visit my garden it took them a whole entire day before they began to investigate what goodies were on offer.

The selection of goodies on offer is  rolled oats suet pellets, sunflower hearts, mealworm, grated cheese and dried fruit. The birds seemed to like it - which after all was the main purpose of doing this.  
I didn't use seeds as I don't want an excess of weeds in the border below! 

A few other thoughts:
  • could just as easy be hung vertically - thought would need to be given to the food falling out.  Using lard or peanut butter as a way of solidifying the food could be an option
  • could also be used on the ground - no hanging required
  • make sure feeder is accessible for refilling
  • easy to remove for cleaning
  • choose size of log carefully - the larger the log - the heavier it will be
  • the nature of the log means that it will rot over time
  • not so accessible for cats
  • would be useful to hang on the inside of a balcony if you don't have a garden

I hope you find this inspirational and are tempted to have a go yourself.  Please let me know!!
   





11 comments:

  1. You sound like me, trying to figure out how to do a project with what I already have! Love the finished product, and I was intrigued when you mentioned "not so accessible for cats"!

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    Replies
    1. HolleyGarden - thanks for your comments.
      Not so accessible for cats = nothing for the cats to climb up onto. I have 3 cats, one of which has been known to spend the entire day sitting on top of the bird table!!

      Delete
  2. Oh, so fun to see the birds enjoying their treats after reading how you created this special feeder. What a great idea!

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    Replies
    1. PlantPostings - the birds are loving it!! I've been busy painting the kitchen today - I made sure I filled the feeder before I started and have enjoyed them entertaining me as I paint! Very easy project to do - at zero cost - makes it even better ;)

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  3. Hello, what a great project, I think I might 'pinch' your idea! The only problem would be how to keep the squirrels away, as they are incredible around here, and don't leave much for the birds...The squirrels seem to have wings, x-ray vision and are not afraid of anything. I will try it out on my tallest fence though :-)

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  4. Helene - thanks for stopping by. I hope you do have a go. Can't help you with advice on how to keep the squirrels off - not something I have bother with in my garden. Good luck!!

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Carol - very adaptable too!

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  6. Hello again, Angie :-) Thanks for stopping by my blog. I always love to see other people getting creative and making feeders for garden birds. I love the use of recycled items too – that’s always a bonus. Sad perhaps, but true, I hate throwing away pruned branches.

    As you’ve probably seen on my blog I have a peanut butter feeder that I made up. I used a large eyelet (like you) to hang my log style post to a pine tree trunk. I then secured it with twine at the bottom. Before hanging it up I took a chisel and cut a grove down mine and pressed unsalted peanut butter in it. It gets enough visitors to have made it worth doing and topping up :-)

    However, the Blackbirds are bouncing from below and trying hard to impersonate humming birds to get at the peanut butter. It’s fun to watch and some of them are getting quite good at it! Your hanging feeder idea would work well for our blackbirds feeding on peanut butter – thanks for the idea. Mmm… but I’ve run out of pruned branches. I’ll let you know if I find a way to give this a try :-)

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    Replies
    1. Shirl, whilst I was at work last night - I managed to browse through some of your older posts - I saw your peanut-butter filling. I might give another one a try and find somewhere to hang vertically this time.
      I actually have a picture(far too blurred to post though) of a female blackbird feeding on the feeder - so yes it would work.
      Perhaps a reasonable sized off cut of timber would work so long as it's thick enough to be able to chisel out grooves or holes.
      As luck would have it the size of holes I created also hold fat balls - so I'm finding that I am able to offer those too.
      As I'm writing this - I've just thought that I could make some sort of peanut butter ball and freeze it before putting it in the holes - that will give me something to try out tomorrow.
      Thanks for popping in and let me know how you get on :)

      Delete
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