There’s a tradition in my family of working on projects together. Always. For as long as I can remember. Take this picture, for example, of my Dad and I building a bird feeder. I had probably just turned four that fall.
Here’s my Dad and I posing with the finished product (and my little sister) as we put seed in the feeder for the first time.
Fortunately I have a nephew who likes building things with me, so I’m able to carry on the tradition that my parents established. When he and his brother came to stay with us for a few days, building a bird feeder was top on my list of projects.
Using the measurements from my Dad’s feeder, we drew it out on a sheet of 5/8 plywood. He held the wood in place while I cut out the pieces with my skilsaw. Then, we switched jobs, and I held the pieces while he nailed them together. We used a bit of wood glue on each joint and some 1 1/4 inch finishing nails.
If I was to build another bird feeder, I might consider painting it before putting it together, but let’s face it, when working with an almost 14 year old, waiting for paint to dry is as exciting as… well… watching paint dry. So we put the feeder together and, after letting the glue set, I was on my own for painting (and yes, I used pretty much the rattiest piece of plywood I could possibly find for the roof).
A few quick coats of paint on the feeder and one coat of Tremclad on the pole that my cousin welded for us–seriously, the most sturdy bird feeder post I’ve ever seen–the feeder was ready to go outside.
As my nephew hasn’t come back to visit yet, Matt stepped in as my helper. He hammered the post into the ground, and I screwed the feeder onto the post. Still nephew-less, I did the first ceremonial seed dump on my own.
Perhaps the birdies are waiting for his return before they partake of the seeds, because no one has come to test out the feeder as far as I’m able to tell.
I’m thinking it could be because they feel the feeder is a little exposed. I put it on the turnaround where I can easily see it from the dining room table. However, that means there’s no bushes or trees close by for cover.
Birds do hang out on the turnaround, so I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time before they discover the feeder. I know the design appeals because nearly 30 years later my parents still have the same feeder in their backyard, and they have a steady stream of customers.
If you’re interested in building a bird feeder of your very own, I drew out the plans and you can download them here. This is a perfect project to do with kids because it’s quick and there’s lots of parts they can help with. And if the birds ever show up, I’m sure they’ll like watching them snack too.
Do you have a bird feeder? What bird seed do you use? Any tips for enticing birds to a feeder? Do you like to build things with your children or nieces or nephews? Or did you build things with your parents when you were growing up?