Mrs. Aitch's File Cabinet of Ideas for Nature Study Lessons

Saturday, July 14

Summer Project: Bird Feeder

Check out this little chickadee
settling down for a nice summer dinner!

You can make one of these quite easily.


Small screw-eye
Old sodie-pop bottle
Two wooden spoons (or two sticks/dowels)
Wild birdseed
(the birds will come if you build it!)
Snack time for a chickadee!
A couple hours before you want to do this project, 
fill the bottle with water about half-way to the top 
and freeze it solidly.

Now . . . let the FUN begin!

Take a look at the top of the lid - that's a little "screw eye" that's been screwed into the lid and it has some twine threaded through to hang over a tree branch or  hook on your deck.  If it's hard to do, use a power drill with a VERY SMALL bit to get the hole started.  Screw the screw-eye in- feel the power! 
Put a spot of super-glue on metal piece on the inside/outside of the lid  after getting the screw-eye through just so the screw doesn't pull out. 
(Set this aside for now.)

Get the bottle of ice out of the freezer and work quickly now.
On the sides, two wooden spoons poke through
holes on opposite sides of the old plastic sodie-pop bottle.

Take note - in order for the birds to extract the seed, 
fashion the ONE hole big enough on ONE SIDE ONLY 
so the seeds gently dribble out onto the spoon.

Using a sharp knife (be CAREFUL, please!), 
score the plastic to make an X where the 
spoon handle will poke through.  
Re-score until you have hit ice.   
Opposite of this on the other side of the bottle, 
make another LARGER X for the spoon bowl.


Make holes a bit too SMALL so 
the spoon is well-fitted and snugly secured.
(We don't want the birdies to spin the spoon!)
Make sure to put the lower spoon 
as close to the bottom of the bottle
as possible to ensure that the seeds 
at the bottom are accessible, too.

Once you have four holes (2 sets),
let the ice melt OR 
set bottle in a sink full of HOT water.

After the bottle is empty,
gingerly shove the spoon handle through 
the largest hole first
clear through to the smaller other hole 
on the other side.
Repeat with the other spoon.

On the side opposite of the spoon bowl
--where the spoon handle pokes out--
make a very small hole 
(about a half-inch above the opening for the handle).
That hole should be about | | this wide
(really, THAT size)
~ a tiny rectangle ~
so the birds can retrieve the small seeds 
but they won't come pouring out.
Larger seeds (like sunflowers) 
will come out on the other side.


and I mean, not even one drip of water on the inside
(the seed will get moldy and the birds will NOT eat it). 
Then use a funnel to pour in several cups of birdseed.
Screw on the lid and admire your handiwork.

You did it!

Now, clean up your mess, put away the tools and 
hang the feeder in a tree near a window.

. . . . .  < * )  tweet!  ( * >  . . . . .


Wild birdseed is the cheap stuff; 
it's okay to use if you don't have a lot of money to spend.
I buy the more expensive black-oil sunflower seed instead 
to attract CARDINALS and FINCHES.

However chickadees, juncos and sparrows will happily eat the cheaper stuff, (so will cardinals and finches if nothing else is available), so I mix the sunflower seeds with wild birdseed and everyone is happy.

Nature Hike

Take a walk outside your own home. Look around at all the signs of Spring in your own backyard! What do you smell? What do you see? What do you hear? Fresh earth, budding plants and trees, birds chirping? How does the wind feel against your cheek?

Keep your nature journal handy....summer is a busy time in the natural world! Jot the occasion, date, time, weather, and anything unusual. Make a simple sketch to help you remember. Doesn't have to look like da Vinci! Just your sketch.

Take note of a special tree in your yard. Keep track of it during each season. Sketch one or two branches right now. Take note of the buds or twigs. Date the sketch, add the time of day, something about the weather. Yeah! That wasn't so hard!!