14 Febuary 2011 "Whan every foul cometh there to chese his make." The birds in my garden were doing much the same. Frenzied feeding with many displays of rivalry and some birds gathering nesting materials. More than one Robin now visits the feeders. Male chaffinches and female sparrows also now venture onto the dish feeders occasionally but they feed in greater numbers off the ground. Greenfinches are profficient stokers, shovelling grain overboard from the dish and other feeders by the beakfull. Mercifully, "it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath" where, being "twice blessed it blesseth him that gives and him that takes." The takers include Sparrows, Chaffinches, Dunnocks, and the bigger birds from Blackbirds upwards.

I am continuing with the mixed feed for the moment while I make 'new' new feeders which for the sake of clarity I will call CUP feeders. The dish feeders definitely suffer in the wet. Regardless of the drainage holes, when it rains the grain in the dishes gets wet which transmits moisture to the seed at the base of the tubes and effectually blocks dry seed from descending out of the tube onto the dish.

Image 14 shows a prototype cup feeder at right which was unsatisfactory as the outlet feeder holes are too small and/or too horizontal. The problem is obtaining the right diameter fittings. Plastic pipe manufacturers seem to bear no thought for those of us wishing to construct bird feeders, so their pipes do not come sized incrementally to suit anyone but plumbers. The holding tubes of those below, and their cap and base fittings, are 50 mm whereas the outlet feeder cups are 22 mm. What I really need are 25 - 30 mm parts for the feeder holes. The difficulty is keeping the parts small enough not to compromise the strength of the 50 mm components while being big enough to function effectively as seed outlets.

Construction is simple. All the pieces are held in place without glue, but I may have to glue the feeding cups in place in order to get them closer to their supply of grain from the pipes. At present they do not fill very well with grain but all too readily with rain! Of the two different cups shown, that to the right proved better as enabling birds to reach further in towards dry grain than the cup to the left. Hey ho, the wind and the rain.

[This blog seems to have become as much about home made bird feeders as about the food they contain! I was awaiting the arrival of some promised ‘niger’ seeds - or ‘nyjer’ as it is coyly spelled by some - before cracking on with the single seed trials. Those are reported in separate posts by date.]