I always wanted a platform bird feeder, but never satisfied with the wooden ones available. After I canceled my satellite TV service the satellite dish became a piece of junk in the yard. While I was working on removing the dish, suddenly I saw a perfect platform bird feeder. This is really a simple project. Anyone can do it with some basic household tools.
Step 1: Remove the Dish From the Support
My dish was installed on a metal pipe, but yours could be mounted on differently.
First, disconnect cables and remove the dish from the support;
Step 2: Make the Support...
There could be two options to support the feeder (dish):
1. Use the existing metal pole, which is what I wanted;
2. Use the arm (the straight piece stick out in front of the dish) to hang on a tree trunk or similar.
If you go with option 2, you can skip the following two steps and go to step 4.
I want to mount the dish on top of the existing metal pipe. In order to install the dish horizontally, I had to remove the top two bolts from the existing support assembly and only use the bottom two (see photo).
Step 3: Cut Off the Arm...
I want a open platform feeder, so the arm sticking up from the side of the dish has to go. I used a hacksaw to cut it off from the base. I also turned the arm side towards the center, but I don't see it is necessary now.
I filed the sharp edge of the cut-off and discarded the arm. Put the support assembly back with the four bolts.
Another option is to leave the arm as is and use it to support some kind of 'roof' over the feeder. You have to figure out your own design of the roof.
Step 4: Drill Drain Holes
I randomly drilled some 1/8" holes for drainage. I only need holes in the center area because the shape of the dish will force water flow towards the center.
If you prefer non-destructive way or you might reactivate your TV service one day, you loosen the two bolts at the center of the dish and use something to hold them up so there will be some gap to let water through. In the photo, I used a paper clip.
Step 5: Put It Up...
I move the metal pole to a new location by digging up the pipe with a chunk of concrete attached and put in the new location with better view. Put the dish back on the pole is a simple task. Make sure the dish is level and tighten up every bolt.
Now I can see it is really a perfect platform bird feeder: maintenance free, critters proof, easy cleaning, and looks great.
I hope you enjoy it!
If you prefer non-destructive and not mind the look or you might want to reactivate your TV service one day, you can simply loosen and remove some bolts and tilt the dish facing up. For drainage loosen the two bolts at the center of the dish and use something to hold them up so there will be some gap to let water through. In the photo, I used a paper clip. As you can see from the last photo, this feeder is just a working satellite dish pointing straight up. I put the two removed bolts in the space under the dish so they can be used to put the TV show back if needed. But I prefer watching birds now.