You don't need to spend a fortune on a bird feeder. This one can be made for less than $10.
Platform feeders attract a multitude of birds and are the ideal type of feeder to start out with if you have never fed the birds before. Birds will fly by and see the seed because it is not covered. The screen in the bottom is durable and will drain well when it rains.
This project was featured in the November 2009 issue of Birds & Blooms Extra. You can find it here on their web site.
- 4 - pieces of rough sawn cedar, cut to size, 15/16" x 2" x 9-1/16"
- 4 - pieces of parting stop molding cut to size, ½" x ¾" x 9-1/4"
- 1 - 10" x 10" piece of aluminum screen
- 8 - 1 ½" panel nails
- 16 - 1" panel nails
- 4 - 8mm or ½" eye screws
- 4 - 10" long pieces of #16 jack chain (chain for hanging plants)
- 1 - link of chain about 1-1/4" long (larger chain also used for hanging plants)
- exterior wood glue
- scissors to cut screen
- ruler or square
- needle nose pliers
- 1/16" drill bit
- hand saw or table saw to cut wood and molding to length
- staple gun (optional)
Instructions (Click photos to make them larger and to print them:
- Once the wood and screen are cut to size, assembly is pretty simple. The finished feeder will be 10"W x 10"L x 2-3/4" H.
- Glue the four pieces of cedar together to make a square box (See attached diagram). Wipe off any glue that may have oozed out the sides. Allow the glue to dry.
- Hammer in two 1 ½" panel nails at each intersection to help reinforce the glue.
- Determine which side you would like to be the top. Place the frame, bottom side up on your work surface and then center the aluminum screen on top of the frame. You can use a staple gun to attach the screen to make it easier for you to handle, but it is not necessary.
- Place the molding strips on top of the screen, again forming a box, overlapping the joints of the feeder to add strength.
- Using the 1" panel nails, hammer four nails, evenly spaced along each side to secure the molding and screen to the base of the feeder.
- Turn the feeder over so that the screen is closest to your work surface. Using your ruler or square, determine the center of each side and mark it with a pencil or by making an indentation with an eye screw.
- Drill a pilot hole using a 1/16" drill bit, no deeper than a ¼", in the center of each side. This pilot hole will help prevent the wood from splitting when attaching the eye screw.
- Screw in the eye screw to each side using the pilot holes you created. You may need to use a pair of needle nose pliers to help you turn the eye screw. Put a piece of duct tape on the end of the pliers if you find it is scratching the metal.
- Attach one 10" length of chain to each eye screw, using the needle nose pliers to open and close the links.
- Using the larger link of chain, attach the end of each of the 10" chains to the larger link to make the hanger.
Use and Maintenance:
Hang your feeder from a hook in a tree or from a Sheppard's hook. We suggest using a quality mixed birdseed to attract a wide variety of songbirds. It should contain black oil sunflower seeds, striped sunflower seeds, sunflower chips, safflower, and peanuts. A small amount of white millet and cracked corn is OK, but that will attract less desirable birds. Avoid seed mixes with milo or red millet as the birds will not eat it. Dump out any shells before refilling with more seed.
Clean your bird feeder 4-6 times a year using a stiff brush and clean water. Then soak the feeder for 30 minutes in a bleach solution of nine parts water to one part bleach. Rinse the feeder well and allow it to thoroughly dry before putting more seed back into the feeder.
Good luck and happy bird watching!
A PDF document of this project, suitable for printing, can be viewed here.