Thistle feeders attract finches and smaller songbirds with small seeds called "nyjer." A thistle feeder is essentially a long, usually plastic tube with small perches and openings wide enough for the birds to access the nyjer seed. Although thistle feeders can be found ready-made, craft projects with two litre soda bottles also create these bird feeders. With adult supervision and assistance, children find building a thistle bird feeder to be a great introduction to birdwatching.
Drill holes slightly smaller than your sticks, dowel rods, or chopsticks directly across from one another in your soda bottle. Place one set toward the top and one set toward the bottom so that you'll have a total of four perches.
Push your sticks or dowel rods into one side of your bottle and out the other. The holes should be smaller and therefore tight around the sticks in order to hold them in place. You can always drill a larger hole if you need to in order to fit the stick or rod.
Using a very small bit, drill holes no bigger than 1/8 of an inch above each perch. This is where the seed will come through, and the hole should be about the height of a small bird.
Pour the nyjer (thistle) seed into the bottle from the top. You may need a funnel or a rolled up sheet of paper to help put the seed into the bottle from the top. Screw the lid back on the bottle. Check the openings above each perch to make sure the nyjer seed is accessible. You may have to widen the hole if the seed won't come out at all.
Tie some twine or thin rope around the rim of the bottle's top below the lid. Leave enough length on the twine to tie the feeder on a branch or hang over a hook where it can be easily retrieved for refilling.
- Choose a drill bit that is slightly smaller than your stick or dowel rod you will be inserting into the bottle.
- Drills must be used with adult supervision.
- Always use safety glasses when using a drill.
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