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The Coopers Hawk — A Common Enemy of Backyard Birds

Protection From Birds of Prey Such As Hawks

As you know, my favorite kind of bird feeder is what is called the tray feeder. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to the tray bird feeder plans which include exposing our favorite little backyard friends to the birds of prey like hawks,which may be looking for a treat. Tray feeders also expose the food on the tray to the weather elements which can quickly ruin the food for the birds. And if that weren’t enough, because the tray feeder is totally exposed, squirrels and other pests can also dine on the food you put out for your birds.

Despite all of this, I still love using tray bird feeders because it is so much easier to enjoy the birds while they are feeding.  Sometimes in order to escape the weather as best I can, I will put a little lean-to type roof or a little roof on poles on my tray feeders.  Bear with me while I explain these things to you, because the fact is the simple things I use, and what I’m going to describe next, aren’t really the prettiest architecturally designed bird feeders you’ll ever see.  But they may keep your birds safe. My lean-to roof, for instance, is just a piece of plywood that I screwed to the corners of the tray. Now, I like to use the lean-to with wing nuts whenever I can, because I can take things apart easily when I need to thoroughly clean the bird feeder. Needless to say, it’s very pretty simple for me to put the roof back on using the wing nuts. This next little adaptation is one I think you will find quite interesting though.Squirrel Proofing and Protecting Your Backyard Friends Using Wire Fencing

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wire enamel coated fencing which has a grid 1 ½ in. square
  • Wire cutters
  • Work gloves
  • Scrap lumber which is 6 inches wide for bending your wire
  • A tray bird feeder made like a box with no top

Here’s what you do:

    1. Carefully measure the inside of your tray feeder.  Be precise.
    2. Go to the store and buy fencing in a size that will give you a piece that is at least 12 inches larger on each side than the measurements you took of the floor of your tray bird feeder. For instance, if the tray of your feeder floor was 18” x 24”, the amount of fencing you will need will be 30” x 36”. To save yourself extra work, and maybe your hands, ask the store clerk to cut the piece of fencing you purchase to your specifications. Most stores will do this for free, or for a very nominal charge.
    3. As pictured, take your wire cutters and cut so that you can fold 6 inches of wire at a right angle to your main piece of fencing. This 6 inches of wire around the entire tray will become the sides of your feeder. In fact, you may want to mark the center of your wire fencing with the exact measurements of the floor of the feed tray. A fine point indelible marker would make this job easy. You will make an identical 6 inch fold and cut on the opposite side of the wire as well. This will create two sides once folded and leave you with the other two sides having an overlap in length which will become the support in the corners of the tray.


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Step1—Making the Initial Cuts In the Wire

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Step 2 – Folding The Wire Fencing to Form Corners


  1. Now you are ready to make the folds in the wire fencing which will complete your project. While wearing your heavy duty
    tray bird feeder plans, wire roof, coopers hawk, birds of prey, protection for birds

    Finished Tray Feeder Top With Wire Protection

    gloves, carefully bend the wire to form a box shape while folding the excess wire at two ends around the signs you have already formed. To finish those corners, use your pliers to bend the wire in an exacting way. See the picture below.

  2. Using either twist ties, wire, or plastic ties, attaching your fold over from the longer side to the sides created which areshorter.  Do this for all four corners. You should now have a wire box which is a mirror image of the inside of the feeder tray. See the picture below next.
  3. The last and final step in this process is to press your wire cover into place on your tray feeder. It should fit snugly inside the tray against its sides. If you have used the size fencing recommended, the openings will be large enough for the smaller birds, but will prevent larger birds like Jays and starlings from getting to the food. This cover will also prevent squirrels from getting to the food as well.

On a final note, if your fencing is sturdy, it may just keep a hungry hawk away from one of your backyard friends too. Hope you enjoy this project . . . .   Rose

Different Bird Feeders Attract Different Birds

What type of wooden bird feeder plans to choose is the most important question for you to answer!  That is, if you care which kinds of birds you are inviting to

Actual illustration of a page from a set of suet bird feeder plans

Illustrative Page: Suet Bird Feeder Plans

your backyard.  If you want to see yellow finches, you certainly won’t want a suet bird feeder.  Learn more and read on.

Briefly,  finches and other smaller birds enjoy feeding from a tube feeder and love thistle or Nyjer seed.  Hopper feeders are great for holding bird seed and sunflower seeds and will attract many different varieties of birds which like seed.  Those include bluebirds, wrens and jays, both small and larger species.  Suet feeders, or feeders with hard beef fat in them, are popular with cardinals, woodpeckers, and other species which generally feed on insects.  Finally, hummingbirds enjoy their own special hummingbird feeder which is really nothing but a container with tube-like holes going down into a sugar water solution given hummingbirds feed on the sweet nectar produced by flowers.

To be sure, different varieties of birds have completely different appetites.   In order to attract the type of birds you’d like into your backyard, you’ll need to be familiar with what your favorite birds like to eat.  Once you know that, you’ll know which type of wooden bird feeder plans to buy.

Once you’ve finished building your bird feeder, soon you’ll see your favorite birds arriving.  Unfortunately, along with your feathered friends, will come other animals who also would love to eat your birds’ food.

While any number of different animals will want to share your birds’ food, the most common will be the pesky and determined squirrel.  You may want to read this recent article about squirrel proofing,  “Keeping the Critters Out of Your Bird Feeders” posted last Tuesday.

Once you’ve answered all your questions, then either choose a set of the appropriate bird feeder plans and get started, or stop by your nearest garden shop, or shop right here online.  The sooner you do, the quicker you’ll have

Squirrel trying his best to get past a protective squirrel proof large hopper feeder.

Dang, If I Could Just Reach a Little Bit Further!

new friends in your backyard.

Should you decide to build your own special bird feeder from quality bird feeder plans, there are only two places we know of where you can get almost 100 different sets of bird feeder plans as well as thousands of other household woodworking projects that you are sure to enjoy.  Take a minute and click on either or both of the links above and learn more.

The Mini Bible on Protecting Your Bird Feeders From Squirrels and Other Pests

It is a warm spring day and you’ve cleaned and filled all of the various bird feeders you’ve accumulated over recent years with the appropriate food.

Squirrel goes flying off the squirrel proof tube bird feeder by Droll Yankee

Away We Go!

You’ve got suet in your suet feeder, thistle or Nyjer seed in the tube feeder for the finches, birdseed is in the hopper feeders so all you need now are the birds.  Where in the world are they this year??

You know how important your bird feeders may be to certain species and you spend your hard earned money trying to do your part for them.  In return, you are just thankful for the pleasure they give you while you sit on your porch enjoying their company.

This year however, you have company you didn’t count on.  Squirrels have taken hold in your backyard trees and its possible other pests come through too.  Animals such as field mice (voles), possums, raccoons and foxes are common to the outdoors and can find your birds’ food too.

The same suet (beef fat), seeds, jellies, fruit, and bread crumbs that your birds like are also eaten by the aforementioned hungry pests.  Not only do these pests eat you and your birds’ feeders out of house and home, they actually scare off your birds.  The birds you are so fond of seeing each year like the bluebirds, wrens, finches, blue jays, woodpeckers, cardinals and orioles will simply move on before putting up with squirrels and other larger animals.

Unfortunately, some of these pests will raid the bird nests too which make them most unwanted, at least where your birds are.  That will pretty much end your bird watching, and when some of these pest are through with the bird food, they will attack your flowers and your food garden plants as well.

Thank goodness, there are several remedies to prevent these pest from taking over your back yard.  To begin, make sure all your various feeders are squirrel proof and that will likely stem  much of the problem.  However some of the larger predators could cause problems for your house pets if they aren’t completely run off from a food supply.

As you know when you have bird feeders there is always a mess under the feeders of missed or dropped food.  Without somehow making these left-overs unattractive to unwanted pests, you will still have food that could attract nuisance animals.  The remedy for this problem is buy some of the new “hot” bird seed and suet.  The birds seem to like it very much, but the hot pepper oil is totally unacceptable to the mammal intruders and should deter even the hungriest amongst them.


Squirrels Go Flying Off the Droll Yankees Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder