Cozy Bird Cabin
Birds flock to this easy-to-build woodsy feeder!
By Eric Smith, St. Paul, Minnesota
Pretend you're a chickadee or a white-breasted nuthatch (or even a humble house sparrow), tiredly flapping your little wings through the trees in search of food. Which is more appealing: a hurried bite at one of those bland industrial plastic tubes, or a relaxed meal with friends at an inviting thatch-roofed cabin?
Here's my idea of that cozy place for our feathered friends to stop and munch.
- One 2x4 x 4 foot cedar (or pine)
- One 1x6 x 4 foot cedar (or pine)
- 1/16" acrylic (cut to size at home center or hardware store)
- 1 lb. 2-1/2" rust-resistant screws
- 1 lb. 4d galvanized casing nails
- 12 #6 x 1/2" pan-head screws
- Cut roof thatch from two brooms (old ones are fine), or try hay, twigs, reeds or similar material.
- 2: 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 16" sides
- 1: 3/4" x 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" roof
- 1: 3/4" x 4-3/4" x 8-1/2" roof
- 1: 3/4" x 3-1/2" x 9-1/2" feeder tray
- 1: 3/4" x 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" top brace
- 2: 5" x 10" x 1/16" acrylic
- 4: 1-1/2"- to 2-1/2"-dia. x 8-3/4" branches cut lengthwise and mitered for roof edge.
- 4: 1-1/2"- to 2" dia. x 3" branches cut lengthwise for sides of feeder tray
- 2: 1-1/2"- to 2"-dia. x 5" branches cut lengthwise for front of feeder tray
- 4: 1/4"- to 1/2"-dia. x 8-1/2" twigs to hold thatch on roof
- CUT THE SIDES of the feeder from a 2x4 and the roof, top brace and feeder tray from a 1x6. attach with 2-1/2-inch rust-resistant screws and exterior glue. Don't attach the roof to the sides—it slides up hanger wire so seeds can be poured into the bin from the top.
- RIP A 1-1/2- TO 2-1/2-INCH BRANCH in half with a jigsaw, miter the ends, then attach to the roof edges with 2-1/2-inch screws. Predrill all screw holes, and don't worry if the cuts are rough and uneven—they're supposed to be. The branches should be more or less flush with the bottom edge of the roof boards.
- TAPE THE THATCH from brooms to hold it together, then cut it 7-1/2 inches long with a sharp knife. Arrange the thatch on the roof and nail two green twigs to each side to hold it in place. The feeder makes a convenient brace (below). Trim ragged edges with scissors after the thatch is nailed down.
- DRILL THREE SCREW HOLES slightly bigger (5/32 inch or more) than the screw size through each side of the acrylic. Attach each piece of acrylic with six pan-head screws, but don't overtighten, or it might crack. Leave a 1/2-inch gap at the bottom for the bird feed to flow out. Screw or nail on half branches around the perimeter of the feeder tray to keep the feed in place. Finally, drill a hole at the center of the roof and the top brace, and slip wire or rope through for the hanger (below).