Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bird feeder with Plastic bottle

Finch & Sparrow Bird Feeder
from Plastic Bottles

For pocket gardens or multiple feeders in a garden, homemade feeders made from small plastic bottles are ideal. If you use a sports drink bottle for the feeder, it is easy to collect a number of bottles for this purpose
in a short time.

Materials Needed:

Empty plastic bottle(s)-- I recommend "Propel" 16.9-ounce sports drink (they call it "fit water" on the label) bottles because of their relatively wide mouths, or 20-ounce Heinz ketchup bottles.

"Goof Off," "Goo BeGone," or other glue- and label-removing solvent.

Small-diameter dowel rods (I suggest 3/16" from crafts section of Wal-Mart, or a crafts store), suitable for use as a perch by birds the size of finches or sparrows.

Floral wire.

Ice pick.

Hand-held electric drill with bit size about 3/16".

Safety glasses.

Wire cutters or scissors.

Hunter-green spray paint suitable for use on plastic---such as Rustoleum brand "Paint for Plastic."

Bag of bird seed, preferably thistle or finch feed.

Duct tape.

Instructions For Use With "Propel" Bottles:

1. Remove the label from the bottle(s), and remove any remaining glue or gum with "Goof Off" or a similar product.

2. Put on your safety glasses.

3. Take an ice pick and punch holes in the bottle as follows: one hole on each side two inches below the cap; one hole on each side three inches below the cap and near or directly below the first two holes; and one (small) hole on each side 3/4 inch above the base.

4. Take the drill and use the bit to slightly enlarge the first set of holes two inches from the cap. Then take the drill and use the bit to enlarge the holes three inches from the cap until these two holes are each about 2/3rds the size of a dime. Move the drill slowly in a circular motion to expand the size of the holes.

5. Next, take a dowel rod and cut it to a length of about 10 inches (a wire cutter actually works quite well for this purpose). Push the dowel rod through one of the holes two inches from the cap, and continue pushing it through the bottle and the hole on the other side until you have the same length of dowel rod extending from each side of the bottle.

6. Cut a 10-12 inch length of floral wire using the wire cutter or scissors, and thread the wire through the holes located 3/4 inch above the base of the bottle. Intertwine the ends of the wire securely to form a hanger
for the feeder (you will hang the bottle upside down), then overwrap the intertwined part with a small piece of duct tape so you won't scratch your fingers handling it.

7. Spray paint the bottle and dowel rod a "hunter green" color. This step is optional if you are using a clear bottle such as a ketchup bottle, but the birds don't like the blue color of a "Propel" bottle for some reason and will not go near it unless you paint at least part of the bottle green. Trust me on this. I tried for two weeks to entice birds to feed from blue bottles without sucess. After I painted the bottles green, I had finches fighting over the feeder perches within an hour! They will also accept clear bottles, however.

8. Place your thumb and a finger over the holes three inches from the cap (or temporarily cover the holes with masking tape), remove the cap, and fill the bottle with bird seed. Replace the cap on the bottle.

9. Hang the bottle upside down by the floral wire from a tree branch or shepherd's crook, release your fingers from the seed openings (or remove the masking tape), and be prepared to welcome some feathered guests to dinner!

This craft is a good activity for children and scouts old enough to handle an ice pick and electric drill safely with adult supervision.

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