Have you ever wanted to bring more birds into your backyard and watch them feast on delicious seeds? Look no further! In this article, you’ll discover a simple and fun project that will attract a variety of feathered friends to your garden – the DIY platform bird feeder. With just a few basic materials and a little bit of creativity, you’ll have a charming feeder that not only serves as a source of food for birds, but also adds a touch of natural beauty to your outdoor space. Get ready to welcome a symphony of tweets and chirps as you embark on this delightful DIY adventure.
Understanding Platform Bird Feeders
Platform bird feeders are a popular choice among bird enthusiasts because of their versatility and effectiveness in attracting a wide range of bird species. These feeders consist of a simple platform or tray that holds bird food, offering a convenient and accessible feeding spot for birds. Understanding the different types of platform bird feeders, the benefits they provide, and the species of birds they attract can help you make an informed decision when it comes to setting up your own bird feeding station.
Types of Platform Bird Feeders
There are several types of platform bird feeders to choose from, each with its own unique design and functionality. Traditional platform feeders feature a flat, open tray where bird food can be placed. This design accommodates a variety of bird sizes and allows for easy access to the food. Another option is a fly-through platform feeder, which features open sides and a roof, creating a sheltered feeding area for birds. These feeders are particularly popular in areas with frequent rain or snow. Additionally, some platform feeders come with built-in perches or raised edges to provide additional support and prevent the bird food from scattering.
Benefits of Platform Bird Feeders
One of the main benefits of using a platform bird feeder is that it attracts a wide range of bird species. From small finches to larger birds like jays and cardinals, these feeders offer a versatile feeding spot suitable for various bird sizes. Platforms also allow multiple birds to feed simultaneously, promoting social interaction and attracting a greater diversity of species to your yard. Additionally, platform bird feeders are easy to clean and refill compared to other feeder types, making them a convenient option for bird enthusiasts of all experience levels.
Species of Birds Attracted to Platform Feeders
Platform bird feeders are known to attract a diverse range of bird species. Depending on your location, you may observe birds such as cardinals, finches, sparrows, jays, and chickadees visit your platform feeder. These feeders are especially popular among ground-feeding birds and those that prefer open feeding areas. By providing a platform feeder in your yard, you can create an inviting space that attracts a vibrant array of bird species, enhancing your bird-watching experience.
Materials Needed for DIY Platform Bird Feeder
Building your own platform bird feeder can be a rewarding project that allows you to customize the design to suit your preferences. To get started, you will need certain materials, including appropriate wood for construction and additional materials for assembly.
Type of Wood to Use
When selecting the wood for your DIY platform bird feeder, it’s important to choose a durable and weather-resistant variety. Cedar or redwood are excellent choices due to their natural resistance to rot and insects. These types of wood also provide an attractive appearance and can withstand outdoor elements without the need for chemical treatments. Alternatively, you can use exterior-grade plywood if you prefer a more cost-effective option, but be sure to seal and protect the wood to ensure its longevity.
In addition to the wood, you will need various materials to assemble your platform bird feeder. These may include screws or nails for securing the components, hinges or hooks for easy access to refill the feeder, and wire mesh or plastic trays to hold the bird food. It’s essential to choose materials that are sturdy, durable, and safe for both the birds and the environment.
Finding Cheap or Recycled Materials
If you’re on a budget or looking to reduce waste, consider sourcing materials for your DIY platform bird feeder through recycling or repurposing. Visit local salvage yards, thrift stores, or online marketplaces to find affordable or second-hand wood that can be repurposed for your project. Additionally, repurpose household items such as old baking trays or wire racks to serve as the feeding platform. By utilizing recycled materials, you not only save money but also contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly project.
Designing Your Platform Bird Feeder
Designing your platform bird feeder allows you to create a customized feeding station that meets the specific needs of your backyard and the bird species in your area. When designing your feeder, consider factors such as the desired design, size and height considerations, and choosing an appropriate location for optimal bird activity.
Deciding on a Design
There are numerous design options available for platform bird feeders, ranging from simple and functional to elaborate and decorative. Consider your personal style, backyard aesthetic, and the preferences of the bird species you hope to attract. Whether you prefer a classic and understated design or a more ornate and decorative feeder, ensure that the design allows for easy access to the bird food and proper drainage to prevent water accumulation.
Size and Height Considerations
The size of your platform bird feeder should be proportionate to the bird species you wish to attract. A larger feeder will attract larger birds, while a smaller feeder may be suitable for smaller species. Keep in mind that a spacious feeding platform allows for multiple birds to feed simultaneously, promoting a sense of community among your backyard visitors. The height of the feeder is also an important consideration, as it should be positioned at a height that is easily accessible for birds while still providing a safe and secure feeding environment.
Choosing an Appropriate Location for Your Feeder
To maximize bird activity at your platform bird feeder, it’s important to choose an appropriate location. Place the feeder in an area with good visibility, allowing you to observe the birds from a comfortable vantage point. Consider positioning the feeder near natural vegetation or trees to provide birds with nearby perching spots and shelter. Additionally, ensure that the feeder is located away from potential predators, such as cats or squirrels, to ensure the safety of the feeding birds.
Preparing the Wood and Materials
Before assembling your platform bird feeder, it’s essential to properly prepare the wood and other materials for construction. This ensures that your feeder is sturdy, safe for the birds, and long-lasting.
Cutting the Wood to Size
Using appropriate tools, measure and cut the wood according to the dimensions of your chosen design. Use a hand saw or power saw to make clean and precise cuts, ensuring that all pieces fit together securely. Take your time during this step to avoid any mishaps or errors that may affect the overall stability and functionality of your feeder.
Sanding and Preparing the Surfaces
Once the wood is cut, take the time to sand and smooth the surfaces to prevent splinters and create a polished finish. Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper to remove any rough edges, and then gradually move to finer-grit sandpaper for a smooth surface. Be thorough in your sanding process to ensure the safety and comfort of the birds as they access the feeder.
Preparing Other Materials
If you’re using additional materials such as wire mesh or plastic trays, ensure they are clean and free from any sharp edges or potential hazards. Cut the wire mesh to fit securely in the designated area of the feeder, or trim the plastic tray to the appropriate size. Take care to remove any rough edges or protrusions that may harm the birds during feeding.
Assembling the Bird Feeder
With the wood and materials properly prepared, it’s time to assemble your platform bird feeder. Follow these steps to ensure a secure and sturdy construction.
Assembling the Base
Begin by assembling the base of your feeder, which typically consists of multiple pieces of wood secured together. Use screws or nails to connect the pieces, ensuring a tight fit and stability. A sturdy base is crucial as it forms the foundation of your feeder and supports the weight of the bird food and the visiting birds.
Fitting Parts Together
Once the base is assembled, proceed to fit the remaining parts of the feeder together. Carefully align the pieces according to your chosen design, ensuring that all joints are secure and tight. If using hinges or hooks, attach them at appropriate locations for easy access when it’s time to refill the feeder. Double-check all connections to ensure structural integrity.
Securing the Pieces
To ensure the longevity and stability of your platform bird feeder, it’s important to secure all the pieces together. Use screws or nails to reinforce connections, adding additional support where necessary. This step is crucial, as a sturdy feeder is less likely to experience damage from wind, rain, or the weight of feeding birds.
Installing the Bird Feeder
Installing your platform bird feeder is the final step in bringing your DIY project to life. Ensuring proper placement and secure installation will create an inviting environment for birds to dine and enhance your bird-watching experience.
Finding a Suitable Site
Choose a suitable site for your feeder that meets the needs of both birds and bird enthusiasts. Ideally, the location should offer good visibility from your desired observation area, allowing you to enjoy the feeding activity comfortably. Consider placing the feeder near natural vegetation or trees to provide nearby perches for resting birds. Additionally, ensure that the site is easily accessible for periodic cleaning and refilling.
Platform bird feeders can be installed in various ways, depending on your preference and available options. One common method is to mount the feeder on top of a sturdy pole or post. This elevates the feeder, making it less accessible to potential ground-based predators. Alternatively, you can suspend the feeder from a tree branch or an overhead structure using sturdy chains or ropes. Whichever installation method you choose, ensure that it provides stability and safety for both the feeder and the visiting birds.
Ensuring Stability and Safety
Before finalizing the installation of your platform bird feeder, double-check the stability and safety of the structure. Ensure that it is secure and does not sway or wobble excessively, as this may discourage birds from visiting. Regularly inspect the feeder for any signs of wear or damage, and make any necessary repairs or replacements promptly. By taking these precautions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable feeding environment for the birds in your backyard.
Decorating Your Bird Feeder
Adding decorative elements to your platform bird feeder can enhance its visual appeal and make it more inviting to birds. However, it’s important to consider the safety of the birds and the materials used when decorating your feeder.
Choosing Safe Decorations
When selecting decorations for your bird feeder, opt for materials that are safe for birds to encounter. Avoid using toxic paints or varnishes that may harm the birds or contaminate their food. Natural materials such as non-toxic dyes, food-grade coloring, or untreated wood stains are safer options. Additionally, consider adding elements that provide additional shelter, such as small branches or twigs, to create a more natural and attractive feeding environment.
Painting Your Bird Feeder
If you choose to paint your bird feeder, use water-based, non-toxic paints specifically designed for outdoor use. Select colors that blend well with the surrounding environment and do not create a visual distraction for the birds. Consider using earth tones or muted shades that mimic natural elements, as this can help attract birds while maintaining a harmonious aesthetic in your backyard.
Making Your Bird Feeder Inviting to Birds
To make your bird feeder more inviting to birds, consider adding additional features or elements. Attach colorful ribbons or strings to the feeder, allowing them to sway gently in the breeze and catch the birds’ attention. You can also strategically place decorative items around the feeder, such as small garden ornaments or potted plants, to create an inviting and visually appealing feeding area for the birds.
Maintaining Your Platform Bird Feeder
Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your platform bird feeder. By following these tips, you can keep your feeder clean, secure, and attractive to a wide variety of bird species.
Regular Cleaning Tips
Cleaning your platform bird feeder is crucial to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and other harmful contaminants. Remove all remaining bird food from the feeder at regular intervals, usually once every one to two weeks. Use warm water and mild detergent to wash away any debris, and rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Allow the feeder to dry completely before refilling it with fresh bird food. Regular cleaning not only ensures the health of the visiting birds but also promotes the overall well-being of your backyard ecosystem.
Repair and Renovation
Over time, your platform bird feeder may require repair or renovation due to weathering, wear, or other factors. Regularly inspect the feeder for loose or damaged parts, and make any necessary repairs promptly. Replace any worn-out components, such as perches or wire mesh, to maintain the safety and comfort of the feeding birds. Periodically refreshing the protective coating or sealant on the wood will also prolong the lifespan of your feeder.
Attracting Birds to the Feeder
To attract a greater variety of bird species to your platform feeder, consider experimenting with different types of bird food. Offering an assortment of seeds, nuts, fruits, or suet can appeal to different dietary preferences, attracting a wider range of birds to your feeding station. Additionally, keep vegetation and shrubs near the feeder well-maintained to provide an inviting habitat for birds to explore and perch.
Addressing Common Problems
While platform bird feeders are generally efficient and trouble-free, certain common problems may arise. By understanding and addressing these issues, you can maintain a pleasant and successful bird feeding experience.
Preventing Bird Food from Getting Wet
One common issue with platform bird feeders is the risk of bird food getting wet due to rain or snow. To prevent this, consider installing a roof or cover over the feeding area. A fly-through platform feeder design already equipped with a roof or utilizing a removable canopy ensures that the bird food remains dry even during inclement weather. Additionally, position your feeder away from overhanging trees or structures that may drip water onto the food tray.
Addressing Bird Feeder Pests
Pests such as squirrels, raccoons, or larger birds may attempt to access the bird food in your platform feeder. To deter these pests, consider adding barriers or deterrents such as baffles, cages, or wire mesh around the feeder. These obstacles make it difficult for pests to reach the food while still allowing easy access for smaller bird species. Regularly clean up any spilled food or debris around the feeder to minimize the attraction of pests.
Dealing with Overcrowding
In some cases, your platform bird feeder may become overcrowded with birds, leading to potential conflicts or competition for food. To address this, consider adding multiple feeders in different locations within your yard. This provides more feeding options and reduces crowding. Alternatively, choose a larger size for your platform feeder that accommodates more birds comfortably. By mitigating overcrowding, you create a harmonious feeding environment that promotes a pleasant and peaceful interaction among the visiting bird species.
Enhancing Your Bird Feeder Experience
To take your bird feeder experience to the next level, consider implementing additional strategies to attract a wider variety of bird species and enhance your observation opportunities.
Attracting a Wide Variety of Species
To attract a diverse range of bird species, provide a variety of bird food offerings. Different birds have different dietary preferences, so offering a selection of seeds, nuts, fruits, or even nectar can entice different species to visit your feeder. Additionally, consider planting native flowering plants and shrubs in your yard to provide natural food sources and attract a greater diversity of birds.
Observing Bird Behavior
One of the joys of setting up a bird feeder is observing the fascinating behaviors and interactions of the visiting birds. Create a comfortable observation area near your feeder where you can quietly observe the birds without disturbing their feeding activities. Consider investing in a pair of binoculars or a bird identification field guide to enhance your bird-watching experience and enable you to learn more about the species that frequent your feeder.
Pairing with Other Bird Feeder Types
To further enhance your bird feeder experience, consider complementing your platform feeder with other feeder types. Different birds have different feeding habits, and providing a variety of feeder styles can cater to their preferences. Consider adding tube feeders for small finches, suet feeders for woodpeckers, or hummingbird feeders to attract these captivating fliers. By incorporating multiple feeder types into your backyard, you create a diverse feeding environment that attracts a wide array of bird species.
By understanding the different types, benefits, and species attracted to platform bird feeders, as well as the materials needed and steps for DIY construction, you can create a unique and effective bird feeding station in your own backyard. Enjoy the beauty and wonder of observing a diverse range of bird species while contributing to their well-being and conservation. Happy bird watching!