Guys, I’m officially an old lady. This morning I sat outside watching the birds for 20 minutes.
Before you call me totally insane, I’ll have you know I was trying to get a picture for you lovelies. It didn’t happen, I got bored, I went back to bed. Oops.
So why was I watching the birds, you ask? Because I made bird feeders, and they love them (and me), and there was a pretty little lady Cardinal having breakfast.
Can we just stop here and rant about the ridiculous cost of bird feeders???? Seriously. I’ve wanted one for like…I don’t know, 3 years. But I’m cheap (as we all know) and refused to spend more than $20 on a bird feeder. Unfortunately, that meant that my choices were also cheap. Like this.
Not my style. And frankly, kind of a waste of money, really.
We always had bird feeders when I was a kid, and tons of birds in the yard. As an adult – and an adult with her own dog-sledding team – the bird population seems to give the house a fairly wide berth. However, this summer I kept seeing this same male Cardinal in the yard, and he was always yammering about something. Olga and I decided he might like some food, and then he might bring his buddies, and then we might have birds. (I’m fairly confident we have totally different reasons for wanting birds in the yard.)
Besides, I had a bazillion pins for teacup bird feeders on Pinterest, and a free weekend. So, I took myself over to Goodwill, found a couple cute teacups with matching saucers, and after a trip to Home Depot for adhesive, something to hang them with, and some bird seed, got to work.
My teacups and saucers cost me about $2 for both of them, though granted, I was shopping during the half-off sale. I wasn’t really picky about what they looked like, though I did want the cups and saucers to somewhat work together. Lucky me when I found these matching sets. All you really need is a cup with a handle, and a saucer large enough to provide a perch for the birdies.
There are a couple different ways to make teacup feeders, but since the dogs are insane, I knew I needed to hang them. (Versus staking them or something else that was likely to get eaten.) So, I turned my teacups on their sides, like so.
To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how this would work. I went back and forth for a good 10 minutes on where to put the teacup. I ended up putting it smack in the middle of the saucer because I figured it’d be more balanced that way when it was hanging from the tree. I worried a little that it’d mean the birds wouldn’t have enough room to perch -if the cup was farther back on the saucer, that’d be a lot more room – but it hasn’t been an issue. It’s possible the feeders would hold more seed with the cups farther back, but it’s also possible they’d hang at a weird angle. Try it, and let me know.
I used E6000 silicone adhesive, because when I was standing lost in Home Depot, the five or six websites I looked at all said that was the best. It was around $5. (If you’re keeping track, we’re up to $7.)
Sticking the teacups to the saucers wasn’t difficult. I didn’t sand them – in hindsight, that might have been helpful. As it was, I got incredibly frustrated because my stupid cups kept falling over. I finally wedged a piece of wood behind each of them, because I got tired of holding them after about 30 minutes. E6000 says on the package that it takes 24 hours to fully cure, and it was at least 4 hours before my cups didn’t slide around when I wiggled them.
I left them outside since it was sunny and I was out there, but brought them in overnight to fully dry. I didn’t notice any kind of smell with the adhesive, so you could probably do the whole thing inside if you needed to. The next evening I took my two 36″ chains ($2 each) and looped them around a couple tree branches and through the teacup handle. I chose two spots that are fairly “secluded” – one of them is almost completely hidden from view. Birds like privacy and greenery. I placed the second feeder where I could see it from the porch, but it’s still nice and nestled. Filled them up with bird seed designed to attract Southeastern birds, and then watched it like a hawk for days.
It took a few days for the birds to go for it, but after about a week the feeder was completely empty. I trudged outside with the bird seed bag, climbed my way through the tree branches to the feeders, and filled them back up. As I turned to go inside, I heard one little twitter, way up in the trees.
I came inside, stood at the door, and waited. About 3 minutes later, here comes Mr. Cardinal, hopping along under the feeder. It was another 10 minutes before he finally flew up to the feeder, and even then, he didn’t actually get on it. He sat on a nearby branch and leaned in. Took a bite, then another, then flew off. I was ecstatic.
I’ve had the feeders up for a little over a month now, and I refill them about twice a week. We have more birds than before, though I’m still waiting for the finches. Each time I go out there, they tweet and chatter. I like to think they’re saying thank you, though sometimes it’s probably more like, “What took you so long?! We’re STARVING!” And maybe they’re even spreading the word.
All told, this project took me about an hour, and cost me $20 for TWO feeders…and half of that cost was for the bag of bird seed. I love the feeders, and I love that we have birds in the yard again. I keep telling Jimmie I’m going to fill all the trees with teacup feeders. He thinks I’m joking.
And one of these days, I’ll get a picture of one of our residents having breakfast.