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.
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 (5:01).
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.)
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.
Orioles like grape jelly. All others: raw shelled peanuts, sunflower seeds or a suet cake rodents don't like.
MAKE YOUR OWN BASKET:
Product links are affiliate.
Enjoy the video
In my new video, Watch Wild Birds Solve a Bird Puzzle Feeder (12:20), you’ll see nuthatches, goldfinches, house finches, two kinds of orioles (so colorful!), titmice (so cute!), jays, grosbeaks, and those with a rusty-hinge call: spotted towhees.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions! ~ Debra