This weekend’s project was to build a prototype (tui) bird feeder. The design took in the following considerations:
- Birds like to perch and crap. Therefore a solid base is not ideal.
- A bird-feeder will attract cats, particularly in Eden Terrace. It cannot be enclosed.
- Generally NZ birds are nectar feeders (because of the warmer winter climate). The feeder needs to supply nectar supplement rather than seeds and grain.
- Tui in particular thrive on an especially made sugar solution comprising one part sugar and two parts water. This however will ferment after a couple of days. So the feeder needs to be easily accessible for regular restocking.
With this in mind we headed out to Kumeu Hardware Supplies to source some scrap plywood and begin construction.
Bird feeder components:
- 2 420 x 180 mm plywood (for the roof)
- 2 350 x 200 mm plywood (for the sides)
- 2 80mm x 300 mm plywood (for bracing to mount on fence/post/tree)
- 1 110mm x 16 mm Dowel
- PVA glue, nails, and a couple of long wooden screws for mounting
- Drill press
- Electric drill
- Jig saw
- Compound saw
- Cut plywood to specified size
- Draw out inside shape for side panels. To cut the inside hole we first drilled 25mm holes in the corners with a drill press, and then used a jigsaw to cut out the shape.
- Drill three holes in the bottom of the side pieces for the dowel.
- Glue and nail together the roof at a 90 degree angle.
- Pre-drill holes, and glue and nail together bracing and sides.
- Insert and fix perches
- Glue, pre-drill and nail on roof to base.
- Attach finished bird-feeder to post, tree, or fence in back-yard
- Add a container of sugar solution, and a couple of pieces of over-ripe fruit and wait for tui.
Pretty soon afterwards the bird-feeder was investigated by an army of wax-eye birds.
Although I haven’t noticed any other birds visit it yet, I already see a couple of minor changes will be required for the beta version:
- There needs to be a mesh underneath the bottom perches, and/or they need to be closer together, so the fruit doesn’t slip through once it is pecked at.
- The birds land on the roof, but are then hesitant to go underneath, as they can’t see what is there. This is particularly applicable to tui, who tend to be more cautious. The roof should only be a partial cover, with the remainder consisting of perches.
- Lots of perches are good, and allows the more submissive birds to wait their turn while the aggressive ones gorge themselves into a sugary stupor.