Friday, February 16, 2007

A Cheap Assembly-Required Bird Feeder, Multiple Uses!

This is easier than it looks! Follow the instructions closely for best results.


Materials Needed:

1 inexperienced bird enthusiast who desires to purchase a cheap bird feeder to hang from the branch of a sapling or metal flower-pot hanger pole.

1 small fully-assembled bird feeder purchased on sale in Wal-Mart's gardening section

1 large bag of mixed wild bird seed, any kind, as long as it includes black oil sunflower seeds

1 hammer or sturdy shoe heel

Gorilla Glue (optional)

1 or more raccoons, preferably a mother with babies

1 old set of very loud wind chimes, your choice (optional)


Step One:
To make your own assembly-required bird feeder, gather the first 3 materials, and proceed to hang the fully-assembled newly-purchased birdfeeder you got on sale at Wal-Mart from a sapling situated to best advantage where you can see it from your favorite view...such as your kitchen table, a living room window, or back patio.

Step Two:
Fill the new hanging bird feeder with the seed. Fill it full. You're expecting lots of birds, such as the cardinals you've seen around in the backyard the past few days. You've even gotten them used to dining in that particular area by scattering seed on the ground the past couple weeks. They'll surely appreciate the deluxe accomodations you've so generously provided further from predators.

Step Three:
Exult in the timid fly-bys of the birds who do, indeed, warm to your feeder during Recon missions. Applaud the first ones to merrily arrive on the scene and glut themselves with glee, and forgive the starlings who try to bully their way in. You smile. The crows and starlings can pick up the scattered seeds from the ground, but the feeder you bought is designed only for smaller birds, and just swings there unmolested by the bigger birds. Congratulate Self for the wise use of $5, and feel a glorious oneness with God's creation. Watch the activity pick up just before sundown. Remark to family or friends on how nice the new bird feeder is. Anticipate sleeping soundly at night knowing your little feathered friends have nicely full stomachs and will appear again the next day.

Step Four:
Notice "that cute raccoon" is quite an actor who loves cavorting in the spotlight of the motion-detector light right above your bedroom window at whatever point in the night you are in your REM cycle and need complete darkness. Graciously forgive the interruptions and embrace the moment -- it is one to cherish, at least after you're more fully-awake later. Mutter your thanks that humans are not nocturnal animals, and turn over in bed to ignore the recurrent strobe-effect of the glaring motion detector light. The raccoon can have his fun tonight, bless his little furry head.

Step Five:
Awaken a bit sleepier than usual, and sit with cup of hot tea at kitchen table to enjoy the view of a waking world. Open the blinds. Look toward the bird feeder.

Step Six:
Notice the absence of bird feeder. Wonder what that little crumpled heap is at the base of the sapling where it once hung.

Step Seven:
Put on garden shoes while still wearing bedclothes, and hope nobody else is out exploring this morning, due to your disheveled bed-head. Tromp to the tree, and notice the pieces of your new birdfeeder lying scattered on the ground, a few tell-tale millet and milo seeds sprinkled nearby. Notice that your formerly-assembled bird feeder is now reduced to a neat collection of bottom piece, two plastic sliding side panels, and two grooved wooden side panels. The removeable top is still attached to one piece by virtue of the wire it slides up and down in order to (formerly) fill with seed. You notice that there are tiny nails sticking from a couple of pieces. You look at the simple deconstruction and think "I could build THAT!" You wonder what in the world could have done this to your bird feeder since it was too far off the ground for most animals to get to, and no bird could have been THAT heavy. And birds don't feed at night, right?

Step Eight:
Try to fit the feeder back together by pressing the pieces just the right way BACK over the nails. Admire the neat fit. Refill with seed and hang from branch. Decide to solve the dilemma by nightfall. Allow the birds to return to their feast.

Step Nine:
At nightfall, decide to see if it happens again, or was just an anomoly. Ignore nagging feeling that this course of action disproves the notion that humans are smarter than the lower life forms.

NOTE: If all you desire is an easy-assembly kit, just REPEAT STEPS FOUR THROUGH EIGHT daily. (Do not continue to the additional steps.) You will eventually have to use the hammer or shoe heel to re-drive the pieces into the nail stubs in time, as the pieces do tend to list violently to one side after repeated use. At this point, you can be assured that each day, you TOO can wake up to a do-it-youself pile of ready-made birdfeeder pieces...your very own kit! Amaze and delight the neighbors! Awe children! Site-ready and assembly minimal!! Rehabilitate racoons to their fullest potential, and STILL be a songbird's favorite!Repeat Steps Four through Eight (above). For the adventurous, or if your birdfeeder won't endure many more dis-assemblies, proceed to the next Step.

Step Ten:
Move bird feeder to different unclimb-able metal flowerpot-hanger pole (the kind that looks like it's just one long piece of rebar curved into two decorative inverted shepherd's hook ends above, about five or six feet tall). Glue feeder pieces together using gorilla glue. (You will no longer have the fun of re-assembly, but deal with the disappointment.) Hang feeder from one side, and a very large windchime from the other. Come to an understanding with the racoon that he can come to the feeder at any time of day or night, but he cannot any longer deconstruct your birdfeeder. Marvel at the furry friend when he boldly marches up to the feeder and grabs the metal bar in his hand and begins wildly swaying it back and forth (you do have the windchime there, clangs loudly to alert you to peer out the blinds and watch the spectacle). Grudgingly admire the tenacity of any creature that is willing to shake a very loud and clanging food source till it rains seeds upon its head. Ah, but the feeder is intact! Askew, but intact. Sure, you have to fill it more often than most feeders, but this provides for both bird and mammal alike. Wonder to yourself if this particular racoon is a boy and, like some boys, will tire with his new toy in a few nights' time and move on to more exciting sites in the neighborhood. Revise that surmise, and decide "he" is really a "she," after being startled nearly out of your skin at the next night's sight of your friend and four baby racoons congregated on your back porch, rummaging through the garden-bound brown paper grocery bags stacked in the wheelbarrow there. (see brown grocery bag post) You know the creatures can see YOU through the window, staring at them there in the illumination of the glaring porch light. They look nonplussed and unafraid. You think one of them actually waves.

Of course, if you were REALLY wanting to just HAVE a cheap birdfeeder WITHOUT the FUN of rebuilding or listening to a raucous wind-chime version of Carol of the Bells, just hang it, fill it....

.... and get a dog :)

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