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Monday, January 12, 2009

Feeder Count

I have a tube feeder (with a tray at the bottom for the more portly fellows) outside the kitchen window filled with black oil sunflower seed, and it was quite a success this week. We saw 9 species, which included...
American Goldfinch
...American Goldfinch,(can't wait to see this guy with his breeding plumage!) who was rather messy, as you can see by his tossing of a seed hull...
Black-Capped Chickadee
...Black-Capped Chickadees (including a rather large one dubbed Gandolf)...
Northern Cardinal
...Northern Cardinals, the male being seen nearly every day, multiple times a day...
Northern Cardinal
...and a female coming two or three times...
Pine Siskin
...a lovely Pine Siskin...
White-Breasted Nuthatch
...a White-Breasted Nuthatch, who, as you can see by my not-so-clear picture, is a bit camera shy...
Tufted Titmouse
...many Tufted Titmice, including one with a bent tail named Bilbo Baggins, for I fancy it was crimped in a tough spot in one of his many adventures in the wide world...
House Sparrow
...a House Sparrow who came just once that we know of...
Carolina Wren
...my very first Carolina Wren who now graces my life list...
Dark-Eyed Junco
...and many Dark-Eyed Juncos (of the slate-colored form) who clean up after their less tidy cousins.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bottom-Only Suet Feeder

I recently purchased a suet feeder, but didn't want starlings and other pests eating from it, but I still wanted chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and the like to feed easily from it. I found bottom-only suet feeders like this one online, but didn't want to pay that much. So, I made my own. :)

To do this, you need:
-A simple cage suet feeder. They sell them at WalMart for around $2. I got mine from Home Depot for 3.
-A thin-ish sheet of plastic. Not so thin that cut edges will be very sharp, but thin enough to cut. I used a cutting mat for food. You can purchase a 3-pack at WalMart for about $3.
-Ruler
-Pliers
-Carpentry (or Utility) scissors
-Utility knife

How you do it:
---Update (05May2009): Instead of going through all the trouble to create the plastic guard, just using the plastic that the suet comes in might work just as well. Haven't tried it yet myself, but if you'd like to be a ginea pig, go right ahead, and make sure you send me a note telling me how it works for you! =) If you do decide to do that, you can skip this first part and skip ahead to the large purple asterisk (*) farther down.---

First, you want to measure the dimentions of your suet cage. I assume this is pretty universal, and here are my measurements below. (in inches) I didn't take pictures as I went along, so I hope you won't mind my crude illustrations.

A.


Then, you need to cut out a peice of plastic using the layout below. (tweaked with your measurements if need be) If anything, go a little small because this is going to fit inside your cage to block all side except what will become the bottom. I would recomend drawing all the black lines, not just the outer ones, so you have a guide to follow in your next step.

B.

You're now going to score the lines of the inner 4 3/4 x 4 1/4 rectangle so that ths side flaps can be folded. (I used a utility knife for this.)

*

Now we need to hang it so that the accesible face is the bottom, not a side. If your suet feeder is like mine, then it hangs from a chain attatched on what we want to be the side. (Seen from what is supposed to be the top in the picture below.) It's a rather long chain that ends in an "S" hook.

C.

We need to detach this "S" hook. You can detatch it by opening either the hook here:

D.


Or the chain here:

E.

Either will work because we need both of those open anyway.

You are then going to attatch the open end of the chain to the side that is parallel to the side the other end of the chain is attatched to on the corresponding piece of cage. (I don't know how to make that sound as easy as it actually is.) Perhaps a look at the illustration C and the pictures at the end may help here.

You are now going to attach your "S" hook to the center of your chain.

Last, but certainly not least, put in your plastic guard and suet block. I turned it around since taking these picture, so that it opens at the bottom, for easy filling, and that's worked well so far.


I closed up the other side of my S hook as well so that it can hang from a string.

It's not as pretty as the one up in that link at the top, but hopefully it'll still work. :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Working on a Painting

Acrylics on canvas.
9"x12".
About 1/3 finished.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year

I wish a wonderful new year to everyone here on blogger! =)
And to bring in the new year, I have a clean desk (well, fairly clean)... ...and a new craft--perhaps to turn into a new hobby, or a new big project I'm thinking about. It's not the best, made from just a little scrap left over from my mom's stamp, but I like it. =]