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

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Published on: Mar. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

her feeder, Nevada resident Marjorie Goss turned her attention to blue jays that were intimidating the smaller birds. She noticed the feeder shook every time the jays landed, so she attached a chime to the bottom of the feeder. It jingled when the birds landed and, for awhile, the noise frightened them off. Soon, however, they grew fearless. So she tied eight ribbons to the edge of the roof, letting them dangle in front of the perches. To the bottom of each ribbon, she attached a Christmas bell. The jays were too big to navigate between the ribbons.

"As for the smaller birds, they weren't troubled at all by any of these strange devices. The contraption is a peculiar addition to the patio, but it does what I want it to do - it welcomes the downy woodpeckers and nuthatches, titmice and chickadees."

By going bulk, Vince Staudenmyer, Williamsburg, found a way to provide enough food for all. Staudenmyer's bird feeder holds 125 pounds of seed. About 50 pounds consists of sunflower seeds, the rest is a mix. The feeder is in commission from October through April, he says, and it only requires two fillings per season.

"The idea came about when I realized I still had a chicken feeder from the old days of raising fryers." He found he needed to modify it by building a platform for it to rest on and a roof to keep water out of the tray. The feeder sits on the platform, which can be raised or lowered by a rope and pulley, strung to a tree branch.

"It's a neat way to recycle an old feeder," he wrote. "Bird seed purchased in bulk is less expensive, and it holds so much, I don't have to store extra seed anywhere. It makes a great conversation piece, and it provides a nice landmark when giving directions to visitors from the city." He enclosed a picture of the feeder that showed at least 17 cardinals using it at once.

"The house finches swarm into it like crazy," wrote Arthur Haenni of St. Louis about his feeder that extends from a pole on the side of his house. Cardinals also love it and get along fine with the finches, also downy woodpeckers, chickadees and flickers, but when the blue jays or starlings come along, they scram.

"Just for the fun of it, I counted the number of sunflowers seeds in a quarter

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