Intro: Platform Bird Feeder
Hope you like this first Instructable of mine. This platform bird feeder is incredibly easy to make, and it is designed to be quick to clean. It makes use of items that I laying around the house.
A hard plastic drawer organizer tray
Sheet metal, flashing, or screen for use as the bottom (aluminum foil is too thin)
Cedar balls (4) of the sort you put in your closet to discourage moths
Saw (I used both a circular saw and saber saw)
Drill & drill bits
A metal file (or something to use to score the metal)
Standard gear for working safely with wood and metal (e.g., gloves and eye protection). BE SURE TO PROTECT YOUR HANDS WHEN WORKING WITH THE METAL.
Use a hard-plastic box of the size that you would like the inside of your feed tray to be. Optimally it will have a lip around the edge so as to keep it in place once you insert it into the wooden frame for the feeder. The one I used came as part of a set of drawer-organizers.
Remove the bottom. I tried several methods for doing this and eventually settled on using a sabre saw to do most of the cutting. I then smoothed out the cut using some tin snips.
Place your plastic tray onto a piece of sheet metal that is a few inches bigger than your tray. Use a tool, like a metal file, to score the edge of the inside of the container. Remove the container. Working on one side, fold the metal so that it bends up most, but not all, of the way to the top of the tray. Then fold the opposite side in the same manner. Next you will fold the other two sides, but to do that you will need to make a cuts diagonal to the corners so as to allow for the folding. (See photo as part of next step.)
Use a nail to make hammer holes in the sheet metal. This will allow water to drain out should it rain on the tray. I used an old piece of pegboard to help me space the holes, but that is not essential. Make sure that you hammer on what will be the top (inside) surface of the metal. This is because the hammering will bend the metal outward and it is essential that birds not feed from the raised side as they could injure themselves.
Drill 2 holes near the bottom of the tray at each of the 4 corners. Fit the metal around the tray and hammer a hole through the metal corresponding to the holes in the plastic. Use 4 small pieces of wire to attach the metal to the tray. Pull a wire taunt through a pair of holes and twist together at the back. Note that the photo is showing where to attach the wire, not how tight it should be.
Using a saw, cut 4 pieces of wood to the length needed such that it will make a frame around the tray. Pre-drill the nail holes and then nail the 4 sides together. Drill a hole through each of the 4 cedar balls and then nail them to the bottom of the frame.
Insert the tray into the frame. Ensure that no metal edges are exposed when the tray is in place. If needed, trim back some of the metal.
You are now ready to use your feeder. You can use it to put out seeds or ground oyster shells (shown in photo), which female birds need in order to produce eggs with strong shells. Note that depending on the coarseness of the shells, some fine particles may leak out. Be sure to clean and disinfect the tray regularly so as to avoid spreading diseases among the birds. You can disinfect it by washing it in a solution of 9 parts hot water and one part chlorine bleach. Enjoy!