Are you always bored while waiting for birds to come to your bird feeder? In this instructable, you will make a bird feeder out of plastic bottles. As an added bonus, this bird feeder will beep every time a bird lands on it. If the beeping annoys you, there is always a switch to turn it on or off. If you just want to make a regular bird feeder, I'll tell you which steps to skip.
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Step 1: Gathering the Materials
Here is a list of the items you will need:
- the top and bottom of a tin can - you can also use aluminum foil but I don't have pictures for that
- a 24 fluid ounce soda bottle without the cap
- a 2 liter soda bottle without the cap
- a 9 volt battery
- an on and off switch
- a 9 volt battery clip
- a small electronic beeper that works with 9 volts
- hook-up wire - the amount depends on how far away the bird feeder will be from your house
- string or rope - about 5-6 ft.
- about 7 ft. of PVC pipe - 1 1/2 inches or wider
- two elbow connectors the same size as the PVC pipe
- a plastic platform
- the bottom of a 2 liter bottle - optional
Some tools you will need are:
- a drill with some drill bits
- a hot glue gun
- a soldiering iron and soldier - useful but optional
- a knife
- a wire cutter and stripper - optional
- a way to cut PVC pipe
If you aren't doing the electronics you don't need:
- the soldiering iron
- the battery
- the battery clip
- the hook-up wire
- the switch
- the beeper
- the bottom of the bottle
- the aluminum foil or tin can parts
- the hot glue gun
Step 2: Cutting and Drilling
You need to cut the bottom off of the two liter bottle. This will become the seed tray. Then, you need to drill six evenly spaced holes around the seed tray that are big enough for the string or rope to fit through. Next, you need to cut off the bottom part of the smaller bottle except for about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. After that, drill three evenly spaced holes around the top of the bottle that are big enough for the string or rope to fit through. Then, drill three more evenly spaced holes in the plastic platform far enough apart that the seed tray could sit between them with almost no extra space.
Step 3: Adding the Rope
First, cut 6 nine inch pieces of rope or string. Put one through every hole in the small bottle and one in every other hole in the seed tray. Knot the rope on the inside for the seed tray. For the smaller bottle, push/pull the string to the opening at the top and then knot the rope. Pull the rope down and make sure it doesn't come out through any of the holes. Then, put the three pieces of rope or string from the small bottle into the open holes of the seed tray. Make sure to thread the pieces from the inside to the outside of the seed tray. Then, knot these pieces of rope or string so when you hold the small bottle up. the bottom of the seed tray is 1/2 to 1 in. from the opening of the small bottle.
Step 4: Connecting the Wires
If you aren't doing the electronics you can skip this step.
This is what to do if you have the tin can parts:
First, cut two pieces of wire 8-12 inches long and strip both ends of their insulation. While making sure not to cut yourself, drill a small hole and fit one wire through it. Carefully, soldier or glue it in place. If possible soldier it because the glue will cover some of the metal and the beeper will not work as well. Then, bend the edge of the tin a little so if you touch the seed tray with the not soldiered/glued side, the edge will point away from the seed tray. After that, glue the tin to the bottom of the seed tray with the bent part pointing away from the tray. Next, drill a hole in the other tin can part and another in the plastic platform so when you place the tin can part between the other three holes on the platform the two new holes can line up. Then, take the other wire and put it through the newly drilled hole in the tin. Again, soldier/glue it in place. Fit the other end of the newly soldiered/glued wire through the hole in the plastic so the side of the hole you put it in is the side that the birds will stand on. Then, glue the tin can part to the plastic so it is between the other three holes.
This is what to do if you are using the aluminum foil:
First, cut two 8-12 inch wires and strip both ends of their insulation. Then, rip or cut two pieces of aluminum foil that are big enough to fit over the bottom of the seed tray. Glue one end of a wire to one of the pieces of foil and an end of the other wire to the other piece of foil. Next, bend the edges of one of the pieces of aluminum foil so if you make the side with the wire touch the bottom of the seed tray the edges will point away from the seed tray. Glue one piece of foil to the bottom of the seed tray with the side with the wire pointing towards the tray. After that, drill a hole in the plastic that is between the other three holes. Put the unglued end of the second wire (the one on the unglued foil piece) in the hole so the side of the hole you put it in is the side that the birds will stand on. Then, glue the foil to the plastic platform so it is between the other three holes.'
Step 5: Attaching the Plastic Platform to the Seed Tray
If you aren't doing the electronics you can do this simpler way of attaching the seed tray to the plastic platform:
Simply use the hot glue gun to glue the two parts together. Then you can move on to the next step.
If you are doing the electronics you must do this or the beeper will not work:
First, take the rope/string hanging from the seed tray and put those pieces through the holes in the plastic tray. Knot the rope/string so it doesn't go back through the holes and so it is only about 1/8 inch from the seed tray when suspended.
Optional - test the system by attaching the black wire from the beeper to the black wire from the battery clip. Then, attach the other wire from the battery clip to the wire from the seed tray. Also, attach the other wire from the beeper to the wire from the plastic platform. Put the battery in the battery clip and hold the small bottle. Apply a small amount of pressure to the platform and see if the beeper makes a sound. If it does, you're in good shape and can move on to the next step. If it doesn't, you need to tweak the distance between the platform and the seed tray. If changing the distance doesn't help, you might want to just connect the red battery clip wire to the red beeper wire and see if your beeper is working. No beep means it is broken or your battery is dead.
Step 6: Putting Together the Circuit
If you aren't doing the electronics you can skip this step.
First, you need to attach the black wire from the battery clip and the black wire from the beeper to the metal rods coming out of the switch. To do this you can either soldier them on or just twist then on by threading the stripped part through the hole and twisting it in one direction. Whichever way you do it, put one on one rod and one on the other. If you're using the optional 2 liter bottle bottom, turn it upside down and drill a hole on the top (actually the bottom) for the switch to go through. Drill another hole on the side. Then, measure the distance between the place the beeper is going to be and the spot of the bird feeder. Cut two wires that each equal that length and strip the ends. Connect one wire to the red wire from the beeper and one to the red wire from the battery clip by either twisting them together or soldiering them. String the other ends of those wires through the hole in the bottle so the battery clip, beeper, and switch are inside the bottle and the long wires are outside. Then, fasten the switch to the other hole with either glue or you can screw it in place if your switch comes with that feature. Put the battery on the battery clip and put everything in the bottle bottom. Turn it upside down and you have a control center.
Step 7: Finishing Up
Cut a piece of PVC pipe that is a little taller than you want your bird feeder to be. Then, cut another piece that is about a foot long. Connect these two pieces with one of the elbow connectors so it is in the shape of an upside down L. Then, put the other connector so it points up. Next, drill two parallel holes in the small bottle and cut a foot long piece of rope/string. Tie each of the ends inside the bottle so you have a loop. Hang this loop on the elbow connector that is pointing upward. Fill the small bottle with bird seed using the slit at the top and than tape the slit shut.
If you are doing the electronics you connect the two long wires to the wires coming from the two tin plates on the bird feeder. You might want to do this before you put the bird seed in and hang it up if you are going to soldier it. If you twist it you can do it in any order you want
Now, you can go put it outside and instead of watching for the birds to come, just wait for the beep!
Participated in the
Keep the Bottle Contest