I've been spring cleaning and noticed my bird feeders werent' holding their seed any more. Ever notice there's this little piece of plastic that fits inside the hole which keeps the seed from pouring out? I actually never noticed it until recently! The birds could still sit on the feeders to eat out of the ports, but the plastic pieces that kept the seed from spilling out were gone -- except for one. I started looking at my local stores for the small plastic semi-round, slightly cone shaped gray piece, but could find nothing.
I googled "bird feeder replacement parts" and found replacement feeder ports that were metal and backordered and cost $1.92 each (and were not guarenteed to fit my feeder). I needed seven, so I started thinking about how I could fix my feeders and not toss them into the landfill since they are still in relatively good shape and have metal parts. I scoured my husband's sprinkler repair box trying to find a piece of pvc to fit inside the port. I was making this too hard.
What I came up with might not ultimately be the most inventive or the most aesthetically pleasing, however it surely is upcycling at it's finest!
Take your bird feeder down and empty it of all old seed and clean it with hot water and mild soap...or if you have a hand steamer give it a good hot steam (this is good to blast out old moldy seed hulls and gunk -- just point away from your self and any other surface you don't want splattered with dirty seed). The National Audobon Society recommends cleaning feeders once or twice a year anyway to keep our fine feathered friends healthy...so consider it maintenence!
Make a delicious french whole grain mustard vinagrette to use the last of your grainy mustard (like I did) or find an empty plastic container (any sturdy pliable plastic container will work). Wash it thoroghly.
Measure the inside of your feeding port -- include the curve -- it should be about 1 1/2" x 2". Using sharp utility scissors, cut out a rectangle from the side of the bottle/container. See if it fits your port -- it should slide right in there and sit pretty flush. Trim if necessary.
Use this as your template for the remaining ports OR freestyle it.
Slide your new "ports" in place and secure with a small amount of adhesive, silicone or other agent that will withstand weather (and squirrels). If you don't have squirrels, you could probably just slide them in and leave them, however it's probably best to secure them on the outside edge with a small amount of non-toxic adhesive. I'm not sure squirrels would actually chew these when offered sunflower seeds instead, however just their general "squirely-ness" would probably be enough to accidentally pull one of these out of place and result in a seed stampede.
Fill your feeder with seed and enjoy not spending money on new feeders!
The problem: seed stampede!
The solution really cuts the mustard!
Feeding port with all parts:
The missing piece:
The solution might be in your recycling bin!
Cut a rectangle out of the plastic container to fit the port.
Insert to the middle of the inside of the port and trim to fit.
(don't forget to wash your feeder)
Cut out remaining pieces, if needed, and insert into feeding ports.
Affix edge with small amount of appropriate adhesive. When dry, re-fill with seed and re-hang.
(I left the edge of this out intentionally so the piece could be seen. When correctly trimmed, it's virtually invisible.
Has anyone else fixed their feeder with a different method? And, does anyone know what that small plastic part is called?