Simply put, attracting birds to an urban yard requires bribery. Making reformations. After all, humans have paved over land where natural forests, marshes and prairies once grew. Much of the terrain is now unfriendly to birds.
Concrete jungle city dwellers have even less to offer birds than suburban and rural residences with more noise and air pollution and less plants and trees. So, why should birds other than non-native pigeons or house sparrows bother visiting?
Providing a natural habitat is best but that’s not always possible. Some of us can still plant some plants or offer water and food though. Not just any food either: High energy favorite foods like black-oil sunflower seeds and Nyjer seeds are best.
The No/No Bronze Tier Bird Feeder has been such a great success. I first observed it at a park. I also tried the No/No Green and Black Finch Feeder; however, I found the container size a bit small and it spilled seed out of the openings too readily. Also, I once saw a goldfinch get a digit caught in it which required three lift off attempts until it freed itself.
A note about the mesh: I think this smaller metal mesh may prevent birds from sticking their digits inside the holes allowing them to cling with their claws instead.
Other than that singular event, the No/No finch feeder is great but Nyjer seed is expensive (about $2 a pound) so I didn’t want to keep filling up a small feeder daily or have a lot dropping to the ground.
The difference between this feeder and other finch feeders is that the mesh is slightly smaller and the size of this feeder is a bit larger. You can put your own creative touch on it.
This DIY project involves re-purposing a Garden Treasures Metal Tube Bird Feeder purchased for $10.00 at Lowes but you don’t need one to make this feeder. The problem with the Garden Treasures feeder was the presence of open ports which spilled seed. American Goldfinches were clinging to the sides and pulling out seed through its mesh sides more often than perched on at the ports anyway. So I remodeled it. I removed the mesh and installed new, longer, slightly finer mesh and a longer threaded rod. I kept the old feeder’s yellow top and bottom parts. It’s basically the same feeder but longer, narrower and with slightly finer mesh than the No/No finch feeder—the smaller openings slows down consumption and seed falling to the ground. You can create yours totally from scratch though and make it any way you like.
The finches have to work a bit harder but they still think it is worth it. They’re constantly on it as the photos and video show.
Ok so here is the list of items I used to make this DIY finch feeder:
- Stainless Steel 304 Black Epoxy Coated Mesh #12 .023 Screen 12″x24″
- Threaded Rod
- Metal florist wire (I sewed the mesh together with this taking care to eliminate sharp edges)
- Top and bottom from Garden Treasures feeder (you can substitute with other items maybe a plastic dish or unused oil funnel on top, for example)
A perch-less feeder is great for American Goldfinches as they are adept at clinging. Sometimes House finches will cling to it but more often eat seeds at the bottom and they still generally prefer the sunflower No/No feeder. This is pretty much an American Goldfinch feeder. Also I’m very surprised and happy to report that House Sparrows have zero interest in this feeder so far.
Sorry, I don’t have photos of the process of making it. Hopefully these images are self-explanatory. I didn’t have a camera handy at the time but here are a few snapshots of it and a video of it in action too. The bottom is a little crooked but I’ll try evening it out when it comes time to clean it.
I’m shocked at the amount of American goldfinch visitors we are getting with this feeder filled with Nyjer seed. It is nonstop action and it’s nice to know we are helping these native birds.
One last word of caution about squirrels. They WILL try to chew through this feeder so your best best is to place it on a pole with a squirrel baffle below it. An 18-inch Woodlink Audubon Wrap Around Squirrel Baffle placed about 5 foot above ground works great. Here are the two feeders now protected by it here:
The Lonicera sempervirens in the background is already getting ready to bloom. Happy sixth day of Spring.