Sunday, January 9, 2011
Birds of a Feather
Several weeks ago I decided to get a little nature crafty and make my own bird feeders. It seems that I have this renewed interest in winter for watching birds. Maybe it's because during winter their natural food supply isn't as great thus the urge to feed my feathered friends.
I was thinking about ways to make bird feeders and came up with a few simple ways to promote my interest. I collected soda bottles, milk containers and storage containers and started getting crafty. You'll notice my menagerie of feeders hanging from a large rod that is connected to the outside of my home. How perfect that this hangs right outside a very large bay window that I have in my kitchen. Since I am in my kitchen a lot it seemed like the perfect place to hang my new feeders.
When making the feeders I used a wood burning tool to make the larger feeding holes and then the perch holes. On some, I added a clear plant saucer on the bottom connecting them with screws. In order to hang all of them I used an acrylic hanger and balanced the weight by hanging feeders appropriately. You may even notice that for some of the perches I used wooden cooking spoons and on others, simple dowels fit the bill!
Then came the 'feeder tree' as I like to call it. I put a Dwarf Alberta spruce in a large crock and added some boughs of pine and cedar and then just got silly with adding plumes of ornamental grasses and clippings of pyracantha. To finish it off, I added sprays of millet. What a joy it has been watching the birds waltz in and out of this feeder tree nibbling from the seeds and berries!
Some things I learned though along the way..
1) Even though I set the table for a fine 5-star restaurant it took weeks before they realized I was open for business.
2) I realized that the food of choice on the Downy Woodpeckers is suet with the occasional visits on the nut feeders.
3) My beautiful wind chime that hung very close by had to be moved as I believe it was scaring my new friends away. Apparently they like to eat in peace. Once I removed it the restaurant has been very busy with guests lined up on the perches.
4) Birds and feeders bring friends = squirrels. But, as long as they stay on the bottom and let the birds feed on top, I'm OK with that.
I can always tell when birds are visiting as I have my 12-hour bird watcher on standby, who I'm sure is wishing that he can go out and personally meet our guests!!
My next homemade craft will be the addition of suet. Check back soon as I'll be posting my recipe!
Are you a bird watcher? Let me hear your stories!