This bird feeder idea came to me from Bill Wilson, who has helped me out with many projects over the years. The concept is similar to those automated pet food bowls that drop food as it is eaten. It’s very convenient to have a small feeding tray without the need to fill it every day.
I started by gluing together three plywood boards and clamping them together. These will be used to create a block for the roof later on. Gluing them now, will give them plenty of time to dry while before I need the block.
I drilled holes in each end of the two boards that create the lower frame and I ran dowels through the holes. These will be the perches.
These two boards get glued to the insides of the frame. I used a scrap block of wood as a spacer.
To glue the dowels in place, I added a little glue and pulled them into the holes.
Since the cross pieces are glued on the end grain, I drove a screw into each one to strengthen the connection.
Then I cut the ends of the dowels flush with the frame.
It’s a good idea for the birdseed to have airflow to help prevent them from gathering mold or mildew. I used aluminum screening mesh. This is the same stuff used in screen doors and window screens. I cut it oversised and folded over the edges.
This gets sandwiched between the cross braces I just screwed in and two the same size. I glued and screwed these in place with the mesh secured inside.
For the two sides, I pasted on my paper cutting template and cut out their curved shape using my bandsaw. I glued and screwed these to the frame.
Now back to the block I glued up at the beginning. drilled a large hole through the center and then cut it into a triangle shape using my bandsaw, creating the roof line.
Making the dispenser and how to cut a glass bottle
For my version of the automatic bird feeder, I used a 20oz. plastic soda bottle for the dispenser. I cut the top and bottom off using a utility knife.
Bill has been using glass bottles, which is a great way to customize your feeder with your favorite beverage container.
If you’ve never used a glass cutter, it just scores the glass, it doesn’t cut all the way through. Then, a gentle tape will break the glass straight, along the score line. Cutting a round object like a bottle makes this difficult.
First, Bill made a v-shaped jig to set the bottle in. On one side, he attached a glass cutter. Then he could spin the bottle along the cutter to create a straight score around the bottle.
Here’s the bottle with the scoring:
To release the bottom of the bottle, transfer it back and forth from boiling water to ice water. In about a minute or so, the bottom of the bottle will break free.
If you use plastic or glass, you can glue it into the underside of the large roof hole using epoxy.
I glued and screwed this to the top of the sides pieces.
I used thinner plywood to cut out the two rooftops. In one, I drilled a hole for the filler cap. I epoxied it into place.
Then glued and tacked the roof into place, and painted everything with spray paint.
I used eye screws for hanging it from the eaves of my house.
And filled it up with birdseed!