February 11, 2013

Update on DIY Bird Feeder

I've been wanting to write this post for a while as I have received many, MANY, questions regarding my most popular post from my blog.  I figured I would address as many as I can remember.  You can find the tutorial for this bird feeder here.

Q:  What kinds of birds will it attract? 

A:  I have seen sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, wrens, woodpeckers, chickadees and doves.  The type of bird you will attract depends on the type of feed you use, your location and the time of year.  I change my feed almost every time I fill it. 

Q:  Will it attract squirrels? 

A:  Yes, but they have not been much of a problem for me.  The size of my upper plate makes it difficult for them to get into the bowl.  They typically slide off and fall.  A few times of that and they stopped trying, that was until the lawn mower got parked close enough for them to jump from the handle of the lawn mower into the bowl.  I moved the lawn mower.  On occasion they will scavenge on the ground, but the doves and blue jays like to attack the squirrels.  It's pretty awesome.

Since it's fairly squirrel proof, I am not making squirrels obese.  (Seriously been accused of that, it makes me laugh).

Q:  Will it attract rats and mice? 

A:  I'm sure it could, but that also depends on if they have areas to nest.  The feral cat population and the fact that I have two dogs has made sure that rats and mice have not been a problem.

Q:  Does the type of drill bit matter?

A:  YES!!!  If you are doing this to ceramic plates, you need a specialty bit to cut through glass/ceramic.  If you are cutting through plastic or melamine (mine was done with melamine) a standard HSS drill bit will do.  Please use my trick and place a block of wood underneath to help with blow out/chip out. 

Q:  Do you need drainage holes? 

A:  I haven't needed them.  My bird feeder is under a covered porch.

Q:  Do the birds poop in the bowl?  How often do you have to clean the bowl?

A:  In my experience, not yet.  I have only taken down the feeder twice to clean it.  They keep it fairly tidy.  More often than anything, I need to tip the bowl over to get rid of some of the seed husks, if I forget, the sparrows are more than happy to throw them out, then I just need to sweep them up off the porch.

Q:  Will this stop birds from migrating?  Will it make them dependent on the feeder?

A:  NO!  There is a great Q&A from the experts themselves over at Cornell University's Ornithology Department about those very questions and others.  They even do a backyard bird count to track birds every year.  Check out Project Feeder Watch.

Q:  What is the downside of having the feeder?

A:  The birds like to hang out on my patio table and they do poop on that and the chairs.  We eat outside so infrequently that I thoroughly wash the chairs and ta ble (and disinfect it) before eating off of it.  You know what though?  They still pooped on the table and chairs before the bird feeder, it just happens more frequently now. 

Q:  What do you like most about your bird feeder?

A:  I love my little Carolina Wren that comes to inform me when the feeder in empty.  I get some pretty loud chirps right at my kitchen window in the morning when the feeder is empty.  The wren will even watch me do the dishes sometimes.  It's really neat.

If I inspired you to create a bowl and plate bird feeder I would love to see photos of it!  I would love to feature your bird feeder with your name and a link to your blog (if you have one).  You can e-mail me.  erin.morey@gmail.com

Also, did I miss any of your questions?  Leave them in the comments below and if there are enough, I will do another Q&A post.   Thanks for all your love for my bird feeder!  I love it and hope you created one and love it too!


  1. This bird feeder is so cute I would love to try it. We have tons of pigeons in my neighborhood and I would prefer to attract the small birds. Do you think pigeons will have a hay-day with this feeder?

    1. I do get some doves (rarely pigeons), but the larger ones have a hard time getting in there. If you have a problem with them, I would suggest shortening the height between the bowl and plate. Make it harder for them to get in there. The smaller birds shouldn't have a problem with that.

  2. I'm planning on making a couple of the bird feeders, but rather then use a drill I'm going to try using a screwdriver to melt the holes. I will let you know how it works.

    1. If you have a soldering iron, it's ideal for melting holes in plastic. It doesn't harm the soldering iron, and you can manipulate it to make as large a hole as you want.

  3. Use tape over the holes, and start with a really small drill bit and work your way up to the size you need. This is really effective, especially if you place a block underneath as well, though you don't really need one as much with the tape. You ca get pretty clean holes this way.

    I just made this feeder with success. Used pretty blue bowls from target, and wrapped the length of the bolt in 20ga. copper wire (cookware quality) to jazz it up a bit. If you like that idea, careful not to put too much pressure on the glued bowl while you're wrapping it. I also inset the square spacer attached to the bolt head into the bowl using a 1/2" hole, and put a 1/2" washer underneath my 3/8" one inside the bowl, to accommodate the last bit of the spacer sticking through. Glued the end of the wire into the space left by the square peg. I also used the same washer treatment on top of the plate, for consistency of look, even though the inside one is covered.
    I also used a secure knot that is guaranteed not to come undone, for the finishing loop and tie, and looks a bit nicer. It's a gift, and I'm happy with the quality that turned out.

  4. very useful information you shared with us..thanking you http://google.com

  5. Thank you for a great idea for a bird feeder. We made one of these a few weeks and are absolutely thrilled with the response from the birds. We got an orange colored bowl and plate from Dollar tree for a dollar each. There were just a few tips I was hoping to share. The melamine plate does not chip if you stick painters tape where the hole is to be drilled. I left the barcode sticker on which also serves the same purpose. I started with the smallest drill bit and gradually worked by way up to the diameter of the bolt. Also I would suggest getting fender washers which are larger in diameter for better stability when applying the glue. These are available at Lowes for 50 cents each. The word has spread in the bird community in our backyard and we are having a steady stream of visitors. We also found that the birds liked the safflower feeds more than the sunflower ones. Will try to upload some pictures

  6. We like to hang our DIY feeders from tree limbs. We have used both poly cord and strong fishing line, thinking that the squirrels would have a hard time climbing them. The squirrels simply chewed thru the loop at the top of the branch and dropped the feeders to the ground. Chain is the only hanger we use now.


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