This One is for The Birds (and their human admirers)

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Published on: Mar. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

of a thermos, will work too.

Ted Soldanels of Rockville is another recycler. He made his bird feeder by laying boards across a discarded wheat drill he found in some brush on his property. Titmice, juncos, cardinals, blue jays and woodpeckers all feed from it, reports Soldanels, but they scatter when Chester - a rooster - and the hens come calling.

"I wanted a free-standing, movable feeder - one that I could place by a window, or under a tree and that I could move out of the way of my lawn mower during the summer," wrote Marian Goodding from Licking.

Goodding filled an old car tire with odd junk she wanted to get rid of, such as bent rakes, bits of screen and rocks, then filled the remaining space with concrete. She propped up an old piece of water pipe in the middle of the concrete, upon which her basic bird feeder rests.

"Because the tire - full of cement - is heavy, it doesn't blow over. Because the tire is round, I can move it by removing the feeder, using the pipe as a handle and lever, and rolling it where I want it. My only expense was the half-bag or so of concrete, the rest was recycled or free," she wrote.

Concrete was a logical medium for Kurt Kargel of Willow Springs, who is a carpenter and concrete finisher by trade. Kargel made an elegant, hexagonal feeder entirely out of concrete. It rests atop an antique milk can, roof adorned with a U.S. flag. He wrote that 46 species have visited his feeder since 1972, when he began keeping track.

But whose list of visitors to the bird feeder doesn't include voracious, chattering and sometimes crafty squirrels? Several readers reported being plagued by these un-birdlike creatures who either ate everything in sight or destroyed perfectly good feeders by chewing on them.

William Altschuh of Ballwin suggests edging wood feeders with scraps of aluminum or corner bead leftover from a dry-wall project. This keeps squirrels from chewing and damaging wood feeders. Other readers suggested affixing old pot lids, pie pans or saucers above and below feeders that hang from wire or rope - the bigger in diameter, the better. Still others have concluded there is no such thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder and have resigned themselves to feeding everybody, even an occasional raccoon.

Having won her battle against squirrels by rigging shields above and below

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