A length of 24 to 30 inches of PVC pipe can easily be turned into a durable homemade bird feeder. PVC is a waterproof plastic material that is used for plumbing and ventilation applications. It does not exude significant amounts of chemicals and therefore will not harm birds feeding on seed that has been dispensed from it. It is also easily waterproofed using a screw end, is lightweight and is easy to hang from a tree or house eve.
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PVC Pipe Width
If you are using PVC pipe ends that you already have, you do not have much choice when it comes to pipe width. If, however, you are purchasing new pipe for the purposes of making a bird feeder, you can put some thought into the size of the feeder you would like to build. Typically a 1.5-inch diameter pipe is the minimum width that will not quickly become clogged when seed is poured in. Feel free to experiment with larger sizes, but remember, the larger the size, the more seed it will contain and thus the more support it will need when it is hung.
Purchase end caps that fit the PVC pipe you have chosen to use. One end cap should be a threadless, glue-on female end cap with no openings. This will serve as the bottom of your feeder. The top should be a combination of a threaded open male end and a female closed cap that fits the male. This will enable you to open and close the top to add seed and clean out your feeder.
Purchase PVC cement to secure your end caps to your feeder. Buy the smallest amount of cement you can, as it will be pricey and you will not need very much. You will also need a small amount of sandpaper to remove any plastic burrs that may remain on your pipe edge after you cut it to size.
Assemble your feeder by gluing the two ends onto your length of pipe. Allow it to dry overnight. After it has dried, use a drill with a 1/2-inch paddle bit to make the feeding holes in your feeder. Secure your feeder in a bench vice and drill your holes straight through from one side of the pipe through the other. One hole per 10 inches of pipe is ideal, so drill two holes in a 24-inch feeder, and three in a 30-inch feeder. You can omit perches if you are hoping to feed chickadees, nuthatches and most any of the smaller bird species. A perchless feeder will keep the invasive European sparrow from poaching seeds at your feeder.
Your PVC feeder can easily be hung from a tree or house eve. Start by drilling two small 1/16-inch holes an inch below the screw-on top to your feeder. Feed a length of wire or cord through the holes and tie it off before hanging. If you have opted to construct a larger feeder (30 inches or more), use electrical wire in place of rope or string, and hang it from a hook screwed into a beam or a sturdy tree branch.
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