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
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).
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).
Small feed tray (not shown till later).
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.
Put the hexagonal nut on the bolt.
Then add the two remaining wall brackets to the bolt.
Screw on the butterfly nut (or a hexagonal nut) onto the bolt.
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.
As shown before in steps 2 to 5, assemble the kit.
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.
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