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About a month ago one of the threads branched off into a discussion about birdfeeders and now I am back from India, it's time for Vinnie to reveal all. It could be a fun discussion.
As a side note, India is an incredible place, but very, very different.
I have used a 3/32 stranded cable. Hang the feeder at least 8 feet from the nearest tree trunk and 7 feet from the ground. No flying rodent issues.
First and foremost make sure there are no tree limbs within 10' of the feeder in any direction. I had a raccoon that was using it's weight to make a branch drop down to within a couple of feet of the feeder and then free falling the rest of the way.
The pictures show the rest. A 2' section of 8" stove pipe with the upper end closed off with a 8" circle of wood or plywood fitted inside the pipe and fastened with screws. Drill a hole through the center of this that will fit a piece of 3/4 inch conduit long enough to get it to the height you want it above the ground. Use a hose clamp on the conduit for the under side of the wood to rest on. Above that put the metal cone. Leave enough room for it to swivel on the support that comes with it. Makes it very difficult for anything to climb over it.
That takes care of the squirrels and raccoons, but the critters I had the most trouble with were the doves. The only way I was able to finally defeat them was to use wire fencing for a frame and cover that with the screening they sell at home depot for keeping leaves out of gutters. It took a few tries to get the openings size right. You have to have it big enough for the song birds to go through but small enough that the doves can't hang on to the side and stick half their bods through and get at the seed. They are like vacuum cleaners and will suck a feeder dry in a day. I watched them after I put the final version up and they were flapping their wings and hovering in front of the opening but could not figure out how to get at the seed. They finally gave up after several days and now they just go for the scraps the smaller birds knock to the ground.
I searched the internet and tried all kinds of systems that were supposed to work, I even bought a unit off the net that was guaranteed to be squirrel proof. It was, but it was also bird proof as only the smallest of the song birds could get to the feed. I finally come up with this combination of others I had seen. It has been the only one that has worked for me.
This feeder was here when we bought the place and I modified it as shown. It was a good feeder when it was new, but it is starting to show it's age. It's made of cedar, so I have kept patching it back together because it holds up better to the weather, but I think I am going to have to try and build a copy of it before long.
Anyway, I have been using this thing for two years now as shown and have not lost bird seed to any of the aforementioned critters, so I think it is working well. The birds seem to like it. I have counted as many as 20 birds on it at once if it has snowed and food is hard for them to find. They hang on the wire to the sides of the openings and wait their turn. Sometimes there are so many they perch in a tree that is about 15 feet away and wait for an opening. Lots of fun to watch, and I enjoy getting out the bird guide and field glasses when I see a new type and see if i can figure out what it is.
Edits: 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17 03/13/17
OK if I get my wife's approval I shall try it and report back.
Just fired up my system playing Kovacevich's version of Beethoven's Bagatelle. I think I am going to enjoy today's listening.
Is that a polite way of saying it looks like %$? : ) If you take a bit more care with it than I did you can probably up the WAF significantly. Some spray paint on the metal, careful cutting and placement of the wire, etc. This was a prototype. If I build a replacement copy I will spruce it up a bit.
Welcome back Ray. I will bet that was an interesting trip. If you are going to post pictures on your blog please let us know.
I will try and get some close up pics of my Fort Knox bird feeder tomorrow and post them here. It literally took me weeks of trial and error to come up with a squirrel, raccoon and dove proof feeder. The little buggers were robbing me blind.
The blog starts below. I'm still finishing it.
I screwed down an aluminum baking pan, those 2/$3 cheapos you get for the annual roast or Turkey, at each corner of the deck railing. 2 pans, no waiting.
Every morning I put a handful of Sunflower seeds in each pan, then sit down and enjoy my coffee. Soon the pair of Chickadees arrive followed by a quintet of Tufted Titmouses
It's a bit like the mountain top scene in Encounters as the more ponderous Cardinals then arrive simultaneously with the Towhees who all rest themselves in the pans, chewing away in contrast to the nervous little birds who dart in then up to a tree branch to crack the seed.
So I'm the Squirrel Lifeguard, once in the morning and again later in the day. Also, the small amount of seed I put out feeds the birds leaving little behind for a pair of Squirrels that do pillage the neighborhood. A $10 10-lb bag of seed lasts months.
They're also self-cleaning. Due to the position of the pans and their 3" sides, any wind above about 8 MPH blows the hulls right out of the pans. For rainy days I have a suet cage which is almost, but not quite, like the seed pans, Squirrel proof.
I use something similar; a couple of purpose built baking sheet size pans, with a center post for attaching. I have two mounted 5 feet apart on a horizontal 2x4, mounted on top of a 4x4 post, all about 5.5 feet high. Squirrel cone on the post.
I'm out in the country, so bird feeding is pretty much a large volume enterprise. The local Farm and Fleet sells 50 lb bags of decent feed for $12-15, so it's bearable. I dump about 5 pounds of feed on each pan every morning. A lot falls on the ground as the finches scratch through it, so between the large pans and the ground fall, a lot of birds can be fed at once. And the squirrels, possums, raccoons, and sometimes deer get fed too without them getting in the pans.
We get the extended ecosystem too, with a small sharpshank hawk hanging out picking off birds, and a fox picking off squirrels. The fox is so brazen, he naps in the middle of the lawn, looking up at the feeder occasionally to see if his breakfast has arrived yet.
they whittle down a population to a certain point within a portion of their territory, then leave for another area and let the survivors multiply.
In another 2-3 years, rinse and repeat.
What about the droppings and associated splatter?
I've never seen doo-doo in either pan but perhaps rain and the drainage holes make them self-cleaning.
I've thought about constructing roofs for the pans but you know where that leads: pretty soon they want a listening room and a hot tub.
A regular feeder at the suet cage, the Downy Woodpecker I call Stevie Wonder for the way he waves his head around as a prelude to feeding. His eyes are set farther forward than other birds and must limit his rearward vision
for the flying squirrel cannot be defeated.
Plus its just plain fun to say, or type, flying squirrel.
Correction, a 12 gauge can defeat a flying squirrel quite handily. However, I am fortunate in not having any in my area, so I don't have to worry about it.
for popping off shotgun at night. They are nocturnal and you'll never see them eating. They are everywhere.
Well, if they are around they aren't causing much trouble. Have not noticed the feed level going down overnight, but I will watch and see. Maybe I will have to put auto closing doors on it that are controlled by a photocell and shut when it gets dark. Where there is a will there is a way. : )
and that is why an air rifle is soooo entertaining. at least in the US, it is rare for them to come w/o built in mufflers. If you can deal with the poor BC, and sensitivity to cross winds the diabolo pellet delivers, they can be as accurate as rimfire target rifles. Squirrels within their range limitations stand *NO* chance...LOL
Friend, I would not hurt thee for the world...but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.
A .177 cal air rifle will take down squirrels at a good distance, but usually only with a headshot.
I'd like to upgrade to a .22 cal or larger eventually.
I used to do a fair bit of squirrel sniping because they tear the crap out of my yard, build huge nest in chimeys and try to invade my home at every opportunity.
Black squirrels are manditory kills, IMO. I hate those things.
Eastern Greys and Reds are OK for the most part, IME.
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