Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday:
Birdfeeder On The "Cheep"

I love to feed and watch the birds at this time of year. This Cardinal is one of two sets that visit us often.

This cold little bird was all hunkered down in the bush. He seemed to be holding on for dear life as the gusty wind whipped the snow in sheets down off of the roof. Anyone know what kind of bird he is? He doesn't seem to fit any of the pictures in my field guide. The closest I see is a Tree Sparrow.

Or this one? This is the first time I've seen one like this at our feeder. He (or she) was fluffy and beautiful, and about the size of a robin. I can't find any birds in my book that come even close.

Check out this Three Foot Cardinal!! We grow them big here in Indiana! Just kidding. My son just happened to be rounding the bend and coming up the sidewalk while I was snapping pictures of the birds. Through the lens of my camera, it looked for all the world like he had dressed his little brother in a big fat cardinal costume!

The next picture puts things back into perspective.

This is the platform feeder I wanted to tell you about. A friend of ours from Pennsylvania used an old window screen on a wooden frame as a platform feeder outside his kitchen window. "Humph, I can do that," I said. What a cool idea!

Not having an old screen, but having plenty of scrap wood, I made a no frills square frame and cut a piece of screen to fit. You can get a roll of replacement screen at Wal-mart for pretty cheap, by the way. I stapled the piece of screen to the top of the frame, and Wallah! A platform feeder. The screen is good because it lets the bird feed dry quickly.

I attached the feeder I to the window trim beneath my kitchen window. That didn't work so well. Raccoons climbed up and made short work of the food, and to my horror, our cats made short work of the birds. I still feel guilty over luring those little birds in for their last supper.

So I decided to mount the platform differently. I screwed an eye hook into each corner, then hung it with fishing line from one more eyehook in the soffit (which is not in the dictionary, by the way) outside our kitchen window. I liked it so much, I decided to make a second one and hang it from the first one. Pretty nifty, eh? The neat part is, even with the second level, it's too high for the raccoons or cats to raid, but still close to the window for us to enjoy!

I stabilized it with more string between an eye hook on the house, and a shepherds hook in the border bed. It keeps it from whipping in the wind and smashing the window.

That's always nice.

The cats walk forlornly by...so close, and yet so far. They still have their effect, though. As you can see, they can clear a feeder and ruin a photo op like nobody's business.

Oh! One more thing! You can go right up to this window and the birds can't see you! You see, the first year we were here, we covered the window with this energy saving film made by Gila. The Platinum one isn't cheap, but it acts like a mirror so that if it is lighter outside than inside, all the bird (or neighbor, or peeping tom) sees is a reflection. That's especially good if you have modesty challenged boys parading through the house! (is there any other type of boy??)
Allowing the birds to eat without getting eaten is a good thing. Making a cool bird feeder on the "cheep" is also a good thing. Being able to watch so many beautiful birds right up close and personal is just way cool.

Check out other great tips and ideas on "Works For Me Wednesday" hosted by Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer.


Christina said...

What a clever feeder idea! We used to simply spread bird seed on our wide porch rails. but then, we didn't have cats or raccoons. I'm almost positive the second bird is a sparrow, though I can't get any more specific than that.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! We have several feeders in our yard, but I love the idea of hanging one, or two, near a window.
I didn't know you could buy window film either. Why didn't you tell me about it years ago? :-)
(We have 4 boys!)

~*Michelle*~ said...

*very* cool idea.....thanks!

Mo said...

My mom - who lives in Pa, BTW - has one of these, and she luvs it, too! And, so easy...

Thanks for sharin, and enjoy the rest of your week! (Great pick of the "boy in the cardinal suit" by the way! That made me giggle!)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures! I especially love the giant cardinal one, hilarious! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a sweet comment!

Anonymous said...

I loved my screened feeder, I need to make a new one! The bird below the sparrow looks alot like our Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus). According to Birds of the Puget Sound Region by Morse, Aversa & Opperman: 7-3/4". Dark hood, upper body contrasts with rufous side, white belly. Bold, white spots on back, white outer corners on black tail. Dark conical bill, red eye with black center.
My Mama used the window film on her kitchen window over the sink where the hummingbird feeders are. We can enjoy them without them knowing just how close we are!
Thanks for the post and the chuckle over the giant cardinal! Wish we had them here, even the normal sized ones!

Raise Them Up said...

Thank you so much! I think you just solved the mystery bird!

Holly said...

Really pretty photos! How cool to be able to get such a good view from your window. My grandma used to call 'her' cardinals by banging the coffee can (she kept bread scraps in it for the birds) on the feeder, and they would come to her!

Holly said...

I thought I left a comment already...I don't know if it shows up later or what. Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog!