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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

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December 2003

Autumn: Windowsill Feeder

The best table in the house.

Maureen Mecozzi


Like true gourmets, some birds have very specific food preferences. Cardinals and juncos savor sunflower seeds; goldfinches and pine siskins prefer niger thistle seed; and jays would trade their bright blue feathers for a handful of peanut pieces. Spread a tempting seed buffet on this spacious window feeder, then sit back and enjoy the show – you'll have the best seat at the table. (P.S. Set an extra place for the squirrels.)

What You'll Need

  • For bottom: " exterior grade plywood, or 1 x 12 lumber (about " x 11 ¼")
  • For edges: 5/16" x 1 " lattice, or ¼" plywood strips
  • 1" or 1 ¼" nails
  • Waterproof glue
  • 3' small-link solid brass or galvanized chain
  • 4 screw eyes or screw hooks
  • window screen to cover drain holes

Construction Step-by-Step

  1. Measure the window width between the jambs, and cut the bottom piece to fit.
  2. Measure and cut the side, back and front edge pieces.
  3. Glue and screw the side, back and front edge pieces to the bottom.
  4. Drill 3/8" drain holes in each corner.
  5. Cut small squares of window screen to fit over the drain holes and attach with a staple gun.
  6. Attach the screw eyes to the feeder.
  7. Attach the screw eyes or hooks to the window jambs.
From 'Shelves, Houses and Feeders for Birds and Mammals,' G. Barquest, S. Craven and R. Ellarson, North Central Regional Extension Publication No. 338

Mounting & Maintenance

Secure the sections of chain to the screw eyes on the feeder and the sill to hang the feeder. The feeder should rest on the windowsill, and be level so feed does not spill out, or tilt the feeder alightly down so any moisture runs toward the drain holes. Mounting the feeder at a window on the south side of the house provides some protection from strong winds. Be sure the feeder is not within reach of cats on the hunt. It's good practice to clean the feeder once a season.

Maureen Mecozzi is a contributing editor to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.