Attract Birds and Protect Seed With a Simple and Effective Feeder Design
The more places birds can feed in your yard, the more you will see at one time. So having lots of small feeders on posts or hanging from a wire or tree is fine. Above all though, you should have one feeder that has a very large floor area. Generally, you will need to have it made to your specifications or construct it yourself.
Few stores carry a feeder that has a floor area of two square feet or more. Mine is three feet on a side, so its area is nine square feet. The food there and the birds feeding are visible to others flying by. This helps bring in the birds. The large area provides “elbow room” for many to feed at the same time.
A very simple and effective feeder can be constructed, as illustrated. Nail four pieces of 1 x 1-1/2-inch wood to form a square. Install diagonal braces from corner to corner. Staple a piece of metal window screening on the frame to serve as a floor.
The screening allows rain and melted snow to pass through without soaking the seed too much. The floor can be made of wood instead, but then quarter-inch holes should be provided for drainage. With a screening floor, it is lightweight but strong. The edges of the frame keep the seed from blowing away.
Such a feeder must be cleared of snow, but birds are not afraid to use it. You may make a shelter over one end as shown by the dotted lines, but do leave at least half of the floor uncovered.
The shelter can be made from reinforced plastic (a sort of plastic with wire screening embedded in it to provide strength). This is translucent and thus the shelter is not dark inside.