My bird puzzle feeder is a fun and novel way to observe backyard birds. When given a challenge, birds show persistence, determination, and how clever they are---or not, LOL. In my new Bird Puzzle Feeder video
, you’ll enjoy nine different species, from darling titmice to badass orioles. For a list of simple, inexpensive DIY items, see below.
Birds as performance art
During my first 25 years of gardening in rural Southern California, other than noticing repetitive squawks like a rusty hinge, I was oblivious to birds. The closest I came was collecting ornamental bird houses and turning bird baths into succulent planters.
Finches snarf seed from hanging pots (by Alicia Iraclides).
Then we had a houseguest—my MIL—whose sole interest in the garden was its birds. I set up a feeder and quickly became captivated...then disappointed that commercial feeders don't do justice to flying jewels. So I made my own. See some of them in my earlier YouTube video: Create Beautiful Feeders for Backyard Birds
Determined to get some suet cake, this scrub jay did a beak-stand.
Why a bird puzzle feeder?
During Covid, I wondered: What if birds did more than munch? How could I better savor and showcase their intelligence and quirkiness? As a challenge, I put food at the bottom of a wire basket. They could see enticing tidbits but not get to them---not directly. It took some longer than others, but all figured it out. (Well, except for one. Let's just say California towhees are not the brightest.)
Titmice' large eyes make them adorable. They go nuts (forgive the pun) over raw peanuts.
I found the heavy-gauge, black wire basket at a thrift store and used floral wire to make gaps smaller. Find a similar "farmhouse egg basket" on Amazon. If you make your own, be sure it has no sharp points (use "flush cutters" for smooth, flat, clean cuts). I hung the feeder from a nail in the eaves with a chain of S-hooks. Green floral clay or museum putty secures interior food holders.
MAKE YOUR OWN BASKET:
Product links are affiliate.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions! ~ Debra