Create a ‘Dog Crate’ Feeding Station
Recently a combination of corvids and the squirrels have meant that my feeding stations have been cleared in a matter of minutes. I have tried numerous squirrel proof feeders and some are very good, but I want my live cams to show numerous feeders and the squirrel proof ones need to be hung alone. Many rely on a weighted system, causing a cage to drop down over the food when a squirrel’s weight descends. If there are other feeders, the squirrels get very good at hanging on the adjacent feeder and taking the food from there!
I have been trying to think of a way to hang a range of feeders in front of my cameras, allowing all the small birds to come in, but not the larger wood pigeons, corvids and squirrels.
Recently, I spotted this in Pets at Home….. their Value small dog crate. They had one reduced to just £15, although the full price was £20…. less than many of the Squirrel proof feeders! The gaps between the bars looked perfect and I liked the black finish… it was worth a try!
I got a selection of feeders together and some other bits that I though might be useful. The tray in the bottom would be good for catching food debris but with no drainage, it would fill up with water. I could have drilled some drainage holes, but decided to make a roof for the whole thing instead. Using a piece of plastic that I had that was a carpet protector, I cut it to fit over the top of the crate with an overhang. I cable tied it on.
I wanted to mount a camera in the crate so had to cut through two of the bars to accommodate it.
Checking the image looked ok, I tested with a variety of feeders. Once I was happy, I mounted the whole crate up on a fence in my patio area. It is pretty light so a simple baton and some attachments onto the fence, meant it was sturdy and the gate allowed me to fit and fill the feeders.
I wondered how long it would take for the birds to start using it… I have not been feeding in this position in the garden for a while.
Within a day, the blue tits were in, followed quickly by the great tits, robins and dunnocks. Over the last few days, the coal tit and long tailed tits have visited. I am pretty sure the finches will be able to get in too. The woodpecker can reach the fat bars from the outside (As can the squirrel) but cannot destroy it as effectively as before, so I am happy. I did swap the feeder that was mounted on the back wall as the squirrel managed to lift it off! I replaced it with a hanging feeder instead!
It certainly seems like an effective way to create a haven for small birds without breaking the bank.