Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cub Corner: Milk Jug Bird feeder

As long as Cub Scouts is taking up a lot of spare time, I might as well post about it right?

Here's a bird feeder we made not too long ago. If you're a den leader, this bird feeder will help satisfy Wolf Elective 13 b and e, or Bear Achievement 5 b. (Or if you are a mom wondering what the heck you're going to do when the kids say, "I'm bored" once school is out, this might be a way to recycle some plastic and keep the kids entertained for about an hour.)
If you want to try it, you'll need:
An empty, clean milk jug including the lid.
12 inches of string
A plastic straw or two
Duct tape
Some bits of yarn or straw
A hobby or craft knife or exacto blade
A hammer and nail and a surface you can pound into
A permanent marker
Birdseed appropriate for birds in your area.

Use your marker to draw a three inch square on two sides of the jug.

Use your hammer and nail to pound a hole through the middle of the cap/lid. I put a piece of 2 by 4 underneath it to protect my work surface.

You need about a foot of string. Bend it half and tie a knot with the two ends. Make it a big knot.

Poke the loop through the hole in the lid until the knot stops it. I had to use the tip of the nail to get enough of the string through the hole to grab it. The knot should be on the underside of the lid. Then you can put the lid back on the jug and you have a loop to hang on a tree branch or something.

Cut out the three inch squares you drew on the jug.

The plastic is pretty thin so we need something to make a "window sill" that a bird can get a grip on. Cut a straw to the size of the bottom of your "window".

Use your scissors to slit the straw open lengthwise.

Get the slit to open up a bit and the slip the slit straw over the bottom edge of the window.

Use some duct tape to secure the straw to the jug and put a little more texture on the "window sill".

Use your hobby knife to make little slits in the jug above and around the window(s). Then insert bits of yarn or straw or grass in the slits. This is nesting material for the birds to line their nests with.

Put your birdseed in the bottom and hang the feeder in a tree or somewhere a cat can't attack it.

I think if I were to do it over again, I'd get that fancy camoflage duct tape to use on the windows and I'd paint the whole jug brown with spray paint before putting the seed in. We haven't seen many birds at the feeder, although I think there have been some visitors because some of the nesting material is gone. Perhaps if it was painted more like the natural environment, it might draw more birds to it. Of course I might have put birdseed in there that the local birds don't like. I'm certainly not a bird expert.

Anyway, in the fall this thing can be taken apart and put in the recycle bin. Not bad. Have fun!

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