Feed The Birds

Now is the season where I start to get my bird feeders prepared and hung outdoors. Besides my Hummingbird feeders that are out during our warmer months, I normally don’t feed the birds during these times, waiting till the colder months when the berries, bugs, worms and seeds become in short supply. I’m also very conservative when it comes to the type of food I feed them. I always stock Niger Seed, Black-oil Sunflower Seed and some type of suet, whether homemade or store bought.

The presentation of bird food has been an evolving and pleasant distraction for me. I’ve bought over the years various types of seed and suet feeders, and I’ve actually made some suet feeders from scratch in my work room. And don’t get me near a Duncraft catalog with a credit card in hand. That could be a bad thing.

A couple of years ago however I did buy a bird feeder pole from Stokes where you drive a short section of pipe into the ground, then attach 2 more sections to add height. Then to the assembled pole you would add on various hooks from which you hung your feeders.

BirdFeederPole_whtbckI like it except for one thing that drives me nuts. It never stays straight up and down. After a typical fall/winter rainy day where the wind is whipping about, you look outside and see it leaning to one side. And having heavy feeders hanging to one side or the other doesn’t help matters at all. So you’d end up pulling up the section that’s in the ground, and finding a different spot to pound it back in.

This repeated process got me to thinking. Why does this need to be driven into the ground in the first place? I needed something that wasn’t permanent. And something that I can move around the yard, and that would stand up straight with no leaning. I thought of putting the short section that you drove into the ground into a 5 gallon bucket of cement and let it harden up. But that would be a permanent thing and besides it would look trashy and cheap. Then just the other day I had an epiphany.

I was standing on my deck burning some burgers when I looked over at the table we keep there where our big umbrella goes. It’s your typical square, outdoor table with a hole in the middle so the umbrella can slide down into the weighted base. WEIGHTED BASE! The solution to my problem was staring me in the face. So I snatched it up and off I went to my work room.

I knew right away that some sort of modification had to be done to make this work. You see the hole that the umbrella sits in is larger than the feeder pole. And the short section that goes into the ground has this beveled tip on it which makes it easier to pound into the ground. Well since it has this flattened tip, it now is too big to go into the umbrella stand. The umbrella stand does have this locking screw that tightens the umbrella in the stand, however it won’t tighten up on the feeder pole. I need to add something into the hole on the umbrella stand to make this plan to work.

Being exposed to the elements I didn’t want to use wood. Over the course of the winter it might rot and fail in giving the needed support of the feeder pole. I needed something made of metal. And something I won’t miss if it gets rusty and I have to throw away later. Searching about my work room I came upon some metal files that fit quite nicely, and seemed to handle the tightening of the screw.


IMG_3289Now just sitting just at the edge of my driveway my 2 suet and 2 seed feeders are well supported and ready for those hungry beggars. And since I moved my desk so all I have to do now is sit at my desk and watch as they feed form the comfort of my desk chair. And occasionally digiscope a few pictures for later.


One response to “Feed The Birds

  1. Great set-up! I have one of those shepherd’s hooks in my back garden from which I’ve hung a cylindrical feeder, and it, too, is leaning to the side. Never thought an umbrella base would be the thing to fix it!

    One reason to feed the birds in the summer: they bring their babies by to feed them. I enjoy watching adult Chipping Sparrows stuffing seeds into their streaky-brown offspring in my backyard. Also, I seem to get more birds in the summer than I do in the winter (my neighbourhood is fairly young, only about 30 years old, so there aren’t many mature trees and not a lot of variety in birds). I’ve got a few juncos, mourning doves and blue jays right now, and two of the three will be gone by the time the snow hits, leaving just me and the squirrels and the odd chickadee.

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