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Small simple horizontally mounted squirrel resistant/proof bird feeder that requires no specialist tools to make

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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. 
 

 

 
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Step 1: Parts

Picture of 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:

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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:

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

Step 4:

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

Step 5:

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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

Picture of 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.

Candor4 years ago
Or you could just add cayenne pepper to the feed. Birds can't taste it. Squirrels can. Job done.
me13lake (author) 4 years ago
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:



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


owl box4 years ago
Nice design, thoughtful.
me13lake (author)  owl box4 years ago

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.

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.
me13lake (author)  owl box4 years ago
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
owl box4 years ago
Might also be advisable to leave the tin partially covered, to prevent spills.
owl box4 years ago
Would it be wise to drop a setting pin through the flanges?
owl box4 years ago
Why would you add a bearing?  Isn't it preferable to allow the baffle to move -- the more chaotic the motion the better?
me13lake (author) 4 years ago
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. 


Aren't squirrels so clever, especially when food is at stake. Thanks for the instructable, easy to follow.
mmcnama44 years ago
I'd like to see a squirrel FAIL on this; I have seen some rather incredible squirrel maneuvering.
Kiteman4 years ago
Nice job.
lemonie4 years ago
Squirrels ain't stupid, this is so simple, but so neat also.

L
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