Introduction: Small Simple Horizontally Mounted Squirrel Resistant/proof Bird Feeder That Requires No Specialist Tools to Make

A small simple horizontally mounted squirrel resistant bird feeder.

This device is so simple to make that it requires no specialist tools.
 
The bird feeding tray is held in a stationary position whilst the horizontally mounted baffle is free rotating so that a squirrel can't get a grip whilst the birds can freely enter the feeding area from the front. 
 

 

Step 1: Parts

Parts:
Baffle (in this case the top of a solar powered garden light, but the top half of a large bottle could be used, the larger the better).
Bottle top/cap.
Large metal bolt (preferably one which is longer than shown, but with not too much thread which hinders rotation). 
Hexagonal nut and butterfly nut, that fit the bolt.
Several washers taped together in a drum, that fits on the bolt (this acts as a rotating bearing).
4 wall brackets (having a middle hole that fits bolt, and two small holes that fit the fixing screws).
4 Screws.
Small feed tray (not shown till later).



Step 2:

Put two brackets on the bolt.
Put the bolt through the bottle cap (you will need to drill a hole to match the bolt diameter).
Screw the cap on the baffle.
Put the drum of washers on the bolt (drum acts as a bearing), this should nestle in the neck of the bottle.
Make sure the baffle can freely rotate on the bolt.

Step 3:

Put the hexagonal nut on the bolt.
Then add the two remaining wall brackets to the bolt.

Step 4:

Screw on the butterfly nut (or a hexagonal nut) onto the bolt.

Step 5:

Place the bird feeding tray (in this case a small tin) between the two jaws made by the two wall brackets and tighten the butterfly nut to secure tray in place.

Step 6: Mounting the Bracket to a Post

First mount the brackets onto a wall/post, keeping the bolt horizontal.
It is best to do this first to ensure that the screws can screwed in easily.

Step 7:

As shown before in steps 2 to 5, assemble the kit.

Step 8:

And add some bird feed!

Step 9: Simple Lines and Improvements

The feeder should be quite easy to customise.
For example, a hexagonal nut can be used in place or a butterfly nut.
The barrel of washers can be replaced by a cork with a hole drilled through it.
A clear tray makes for a more pleasing appearance.
Only one bracket can be used to secure the bolt to the wall.
The bolt could be put through a hole drilled through the post instead of using a bracket. 
A longer bolt can be used for extra protection.  

'Improvements':

The main aim was to make a feeder that required no specialist tools and that was very simple to assemble.  As such, the following are optional features that could be added to the feeder if desired (with the longer bolt being most recommended modification):

1) A longer bolt (e.g. a roofing bolt) could be used. However, do not use a bolt with too much thread as this can hinder the rotation of the baffle when the thread is in contact with the baffle (I'm currently using an eight inch roofing bolt which has about an inch and a quater of thread).  If using a longer bolt, you might need to place a cable tie on the shaft of the bolt just behind the end of the bottle cap, to prevent the baffle moving back along the bolt towards the wall. This tie can be added after the kit is assembled, obviously trim off the excess tie to make it look neater.  A longer bolt will need to be more securely anchored to the mounting surface – simulated the weight of a squirrel hanging off the end of the bolt!

2) If using a longer bolt, a freely rotating (plastic) tube can be placed around the shaft of the bolt, to make the bolt an unstable standing surface.  One or more drum bearings (as shown before, being made from washers taped together) could be inserted into the pipe prior to placing on the bolt.  The bearing(s) will help keep the pipe symmetrically orientated about the shaft of the bolt and so avoid the pipe looking like it is ‘sagging’ on the bolt. Test the pipe to make sure it rotates freely.  This pipe can help to conceal the bolt and could be painted to match the support surface and might give the illusion that the feeder is floating.  This pipe would need to be inserted on the bolt prior to the addition of the baffle in the assembly steps.  The pipe could also be divided into several portions. 

3) The jaws formed by the two brackets (which grip the tin) could be fixed to the tin more firmly by putting two small bolts through the eye holes in the brackets.  The container would need to have corresponding holes drilled in the tin to allow the bolts to pass through.  Indeed the brackets can be fixed to the tin before assembly and so would make the clamping the jaws around the tin step less fiddly. Having the brackets fixed to the tin would make taking the tin off/on the feeder for cleaning much easier.  A single bracket (instead of two) could be used if fixing to the tin in this way.

4) The container could be partially covered to reduce the chance of unwanted access to the feeder and to help avoid feed spilling out. 

Step 10: Happy Customer!

Birds can enter the feeder from the front. 
Squirrels can't get a secure foothold on the feeder as the baffle rotates.

Step 11: Video of a Squirrel FAIL!

I’ve been stalking my feeder for a few days trying to get a video of a squirrel FAIL raid attempt.  This is the best video I have so far.  Those with keen eyes will note that I’ve extended the length of the bolt to add extra protection:

Video url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuqYIJuVCAg 

Comments

author
Candor (author)2010-04-13

Or you could just add cayenne pepper to the feed. Birds can't taste it. Squirrels can. Job done.

author
me13lake (author)2010-01-29

This is a follow up video to the last video I posted, which I hope shows the rotation action of the bird feeder a bit better:



author
fungus amungus (author)me13lake2010-02-01

That's cool. I wonder if he'll find a workaround after a while. Squirrels are crafty.


author
owl box (author)2010-01-31

Nice design, thoughtful.

author
me13lake (author)owl box2010-01-31

OB

I agree with pretty much all you said.

However, I found that without the bearing the chaotic the motion of the baffle often lead to the baffle ending up sitting in an energy minimum position, and I thought that this might give the squirrel room to lock the baffle in place and lean over the baffle, but I suspect I am being a bit over cautious.  Also, for aesthetic reasons, I thought the feeder looked 'nicer' if the baffle remained level when rotating.

I did think about putting a few screw through the brackets to hold the tin in place, but so far the tin has remained in place and allows it to be removed easy for cleaning.  But I agree that it is a good idea, and would stop a 'dive-bomb' attack from the Squirrel (not happened so far).

A cover also seems a very sensible idea, I didn’t added one to the design as I wanted to keep the feeder to its simplest embodiment.  However, I have the lid to the tin shown in the photos, so I could cut away a segment and screw it onto the base and so have the feeding area partially covered.  Also a reduced feeding area might make it more difficult for the squirrel to get access to the feed whilst he contends with the baffle.

The other thing I thought I could do was to house the stem of the bolt in a freely rotating pipe, to give the squirrel the least stable footing possible.  But again, I decided to go with the simplest form possible in this concept,  and let people embellish upon the basic design.

Thanks for the comments.

author
owl box (author)me13lake2010-02-01

Sounds like v. 1.1 will be in the works soon.  I do think the bearing makes it nicer, and with a smooth surface over the threads, squirrels will find less purchase to make their moves.  Nice work, I'll be making one soon.

author
me13lake (author)owl box2010-02-01

OB
Great, I look forward to hearing how it goes! The squirrels in my garden are not too habitualized to feeders so it will be interesting to see how the feeder fairs in another garden.
For the record, I'm currently using an 8 inch roofing bolt which has about an inch and a quater of thread.
I've updated the description to reflect your useful suggestions
Thanks

author
owl box (author)2010-01-31

Might also be advisable to leave the tin partially covered, to prevent spills.

author
owl box (author)2010-01-31

Would it be wise to drop a setting pin through the flanges?

author
owl box (author)2010-01-31

Why would you add a bearing?  Isn't it preferable to allow the baffle to move -- the more chaotic the motion the better?

author
me13lake (author)2010-01-27

I’ve been stalking my feeder for a few days trying to get a video of a squirrel FAIL raid attempt.  This is the best video I have so far. Admittedly Mr Squirrel doesn’t give it the most determined attempt to raid the food, but it is a FAIL none the less.  

Perhaps he has learnt that too much rocking action causes the baffle to rotate, so sadly, I did not manage to capture too much of the rotation action of the baffle in this video.  

Those with keen eyes will note that I’ve extended the length of the bolt to add extra protection, i.e. to stop any “reach around” attempts by the squirrel. 


author
rocketsurgery (author)2010-01-25

Aren't squirrels so clever, especially when food is at stake. Thanks for the instructable, easy to follow.

author
mmcnama4 (author)2010-01-24

I'd like to see a squirrel FAIL on this; I have seen some rather incredible squirrel maneuvering.

author
Kiteman (author)2010-01-24

Nice job.

author
lemonie (author)2010-01-24

Squirrels ain't stupid, this is so simple, but so neat also.

L

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