You Can Design and Make Your Own Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

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Â?Except for a few supplies, you already have all you need to design and build a safe haven to feed birds. You have the talent to create something splendid,Â? says Donna Grimstvedt of TimpyWorks.

“Except for a few supplies, you already have all you need to design and build a safe haven to feed birds. You have the talent to create something splendid,” says Donna Grimstvedt of TimpyWorks, an educational and publishing firm in northwestern Wisconsin that specializes in teaching people how to make hypertufa garden art. Once this gardener and bird lover had filled her own yard with hypertufa planters, birdbaths, steppingstones, tables, and sculptures, she shifted her focus to the practical matter of attracting birds to her yard by creating a squirrel-proof bird feeder design that, she believes, “just about anyone can make.” A big fan of Garrison Keillor, she adds, “Even an English major.”

When you participate in a workshop conducted by this garden art enthusiast, an English major herself once upon a time, what you hear is a message about the joys of “making stuff.” Donna recommends finding some art or craft or project you can enjoy immensely and then letting one thing lead to another. Raised by parents who were passionate, curious, and knowledgeable about wildlife, Donna tried a number of squirrel-proof designs before finding one that satisfied all of her requirements. Once she finally figured out precisely what was needed to keep the squirrels away, she was hooked. Now she has five of these attractive structures in her yard. Some are simple designs using just the basic features, while others include such elements as:

•    Planters as part of the construction

•    Unique copper wire features where the birds can perch

•    Holders to secure oranges for the orioles during summer and to hang seed cakes during winter

Donna recommends studying the bird feeders you see in stores, in catalogs, in library books, and in your neighbors’ and friends’ yards as ways to generate ideas for the bird feeder features you’d like to see in your own yard. “The point,” she says, “is to discover ways to invite birds in by using the foods they like and the structural formations you like. A bird might not care whether a feeder design is made from plastic or wood or metal, but you might have a strong visual preference. Once the birds take up residence in your yard and you start watching — consciously watching — you’ll likely be motivated to turn on the TV less often. Watching the birds is by far the finest stress reliever I know. I’ve yet to have a chickadee tell me how to vote.”

TimpyWorks, established in 2000 and located in northwestern Wisconsin, conducts hypertufa garden art workshops throughout the spring, summer, and early autumn. On the web at, TimpyWorks also publishes eBooks filled with step-by-step instructions for creating dozens of garden art designs such as birdbaths, planters, tables, sculptures, steppingstones, and squirrel-proof bird feeders.


Donna Grimstvedt



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