-Essay By Janimarie Lester DeRose, Birdfeeder Designs and Plans by: Dean Lester
I have brought my daughters to swing in their grandparents’ backyard. It is spring and their apple and cherry trees bathe the new fresh green yard in soft light and a sweet nostalgic scent. We all three sit on a large wooden porch swing, dangling our legs, listening. My girls’ usual chatter is silenced by the cacophony of bird song. Everywhere you look are bird feeders, mostly built by my Dad years ago, brimming with seed.
My parents, Dean and De Ann Lester have created an oasis in their urban yard for song birds, humming birds, at times owls and even hawks. Many children comment on the “forest” as they pass by. They have maintained hundred year old trees and replaced them as the yard changed with time, planting thick ground covers and open spaces of bark chips (instead of lawn), creating a lush, protective habitat for birds. While many traditional gardeners trim heavily, they intentionally leave many plants’ seed pods through winter, to help sustain the birds diet. Some beds are planned for the humming birds and butterflies hosting brilliant native penstimon, while other area’s are for scent and edible herbs for the birds’ human counterparts to enjoy!
Throughout their yard, they have placed different types of bird feeders. Some styles feed the birds with a smaller Niger seed, while most host the larger Black Oil Sunflower seed (a favorite) or a more generic mixed seed. They also at times have dishes of jam for Tanagers, Humming bird feeders, and an occasional suet feeder. They also host a bird bath, heated in the winter, to create a small bit of open water in Northern Utah’s frigid or dry months.
No matter the time of year I visit, I find their yard brimming with avian life, inspiring wonder in my children. This article is on how to build your own bird feeder, to help foster a little bit of nature in your own urban landscape.
My father Dean Lester wrote up the blue prints and step by step building instructions, and my five year old daughter and husband Justin were the lucky Nature Nuts to get to help build it! This is a great project to do with your Family Nature Club!!!
Steps in Building Bird Feeder
- Step 2-Done safety gear- then Cut Wood to length
- Assemble the seed box
- Hint: Water proof glue and screws will lengthen life rather than nails
- Assemble the top frame with roof support upright
- Connect the Seed Box to the top frame using the 2×2 uprights
- Put the tongue and groove roof panels together
- Nail or screw the roof tie bars to the assembled tongue and groove roof panels
- Attach the completed roof panels to the roof support upright and upper frame side bars using nails or screws
- Screw the roof cap to the roof support upright with 3” screws
- Attach eye screws to the roof cap for hanging
Congrats-you have now built an awesome feeder as a family! Now find a tree in your yard to hang it and enjoy observing wildlife in your yard all winter long!!! Let us know how this project turns out for you-please send us pictures of your feeder hanging in your yard and we will share it on our website. Send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This lesson is recommended for children 8 years and up (with a grandparent preferably!)