In an earlier feeder project you were shown how to make a bird feeder using a plastic gallon milk jug. In this project you will learn how to make a different bird feeder using a 2 liter pop bottle.
This project is rated as MODERATE. It requires sharp tools and should be done under the supervision of an adult.
Materials needed: Plastic bottle (2), wire, chain, washers, S-hooks, dowel rod, bolts and nuts, glue, electrical tape, drill and bits, scissors
You will be shown two versions of the feeder. The above list of materials includes items needed for both types.
Your completed feeder will look something like the picture below:
It is possible to buy the lower part of the feeder and attach it to an empty bottle. However, it is more fun to make your own.
1. The bottle needs to have a hanger attached. Punch holes on opposite sides of the bottle (refer to the drawing below to get an idea about the approximate positions of the holes.) Bend a heavy piece of wire into the shape shown in the photo. Bend the ends of the wire upward so they form a small hook. Spread the wire and insert the hooks into the holes you have made.
2. You now need to make a pan to hold the bird seed. This pan can be made from many different kinds of containers. For example, you can use the bottom of a: plastic pop bottle, plastic half gallon milk jug, metal can, etc. The width of the pan is not very important. The ones illustrated are about 4 inches.
3. Prepare the pan so that it is about three-fourths of an inch deep. (Note: Plastic bottles can be cut with heavy duty scissors.)
4. This pan needs some perches for the birds to rest on while they eat. Many types of materials can be used. One quarter inch dowel rod is recommended. Cut two pieces of dowel rod. Each piece of dowel rod should be about 6 inches longer than the width of the pan. This will provide a perch that is about 3 inches on each side of the pan.
5. Each piece of dowel rod must pass through the sides of the pan. Drill a one-quarter inch hole on opposite sides of the pan and slide the dowel rod through. The two pieces are to be placed at right angles each other. Due to the fact that they must cross in the center of the pan, the two sets of holes must be offset from each other so that one dowel may pass underneath of the other. (Note: You should punch a few small holes in the bottom of the pan so that rain water does not collect in the pan.)
The above instructions are applicable to both types of feeders. The following instructions are divided into an "A" set and a "B" set for the two different types.
This type of feeder has the pan suspended from the neck of the bottle by chains or wires.
6A. Wrap a piece of heavy gauge wire around the neck of the bottle. Number 12 bare electrical wire is suitable. Only 2 turns are needed.
7A. Prepare 4 short pieces of chain. In the example, each piece is only 3 links in length. Slide each piece of chain on to the wire used in step 6A. Space the chains evenly around the circumference of the bottle neck. (You can probably use only 3 chains.)
8A. To attach the chains to the pan, you need some S-hooks that can be puchased at a hardware store. Place a hook on the end of each of the chains. (The length of the chains with hooks should be such that the pan is suspended so that the opening of the bottle is about even with the top of the pan. As seed spills out of the bottle, it fills the pan and when the pan is full the seed stops flowing from the bottle.
9A. Make 4 (3) small holes equally spaced around the pan near the top edge. Since the plastic is not very strong, the holes should be reinforced. Gummed notebook paper reinforcers may be sufficient to do the job. In the example in the picture, metal washers were glued around each hole in the pan and electrical tape was wrapped around the pan for extra reinforcement. When this process is complete, place a hook into each hole.
Your type A feeder is now complete. Set the bottle upright, swing the pan to one side (it may be necessary to un-hook one of the hooks temporarily,) fill the bottle with bird seed. You may need to use a funnel when filling the bottle. Take the feeder outside and quickly invert it so that some seed falls into the pan. You may then hang the feeder from a tree limb or from the eave (recommended) of your house in front of a window. The eave will protect the pan from collecting rain water and you can watch the birds through the window.
Here is a close up of a type A pan:
This type of feeder may be a little more difficult to make, but it has the advantage that the pan is easy to remove for filling, and the distance from the pan to the bottle can be adjusted. Look carefully at the above drawing. The pan is suspended from the bottle cap by bolts.
6B. In this version the bottle's cap is used. You must cut out the top of the cap so that seed may flow through it. You can drill several holes through the cap and then cut between the holes to remove most of the top. The edges then can be smoothed with a knife or a file.
7B. Glue 3 bolts to the cap. In the drawing, only 2 bolts are shown for clarity; however, for the proto-type, 3 bolts were used. The bolts used are 3/16 inch bolts that are each about 2 inches long. The tricky part is holding the bolts in place while attaching them. The method used on the proto-type was to place the prepared cap on a large dowel rod (broom stick might do) then the lower end of each bolt was temporarily bound to the dowel with masking tape. The bolts are to be positioned at equally spaced intervals around the cap with the head of the bolt hooked over the bottom edge of the cap. Once the bolts are positioned, apply glue (such as epoxy cement) to the bolts so that they are fastened to the cap. After the glue has set, wrap several turns of electrical tape around the cap for additional strength.
8B. When the cap with bolts has been prepared, center the cap in the pan so that the bolts straddle the dowels of the perches. Mark the location of each bolt in the bottom of the pan. Then drill a hole at each bolt location.
9B. Insert the bolts through the holes and then put a nut on each bolt. You can adjust the distance from the pan to the cap by screwing the nuts up or down. If you find that the pan tilts when a bird lands on a perch, it may be necessary to put 2 nuts on each bolt, one on the inside of the pan and one on the outside. Tighten the nuts so that the pan is held firmly between the two nuts.
Fill the bottle as in the other example. Then you can screw on the pan assembly to the bottle. Take it outside, invert it and hang it as described before.
Here is a close up of a type B pan:
Next month I will feature an information file about different types of birds that may come to your feeder. If you have finished a feeder and birds are coming and you want to know more about them and you can't wait until June, e-mail me and I will tell you how to have a sneak preview.
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