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A project for the birds

#266194 by Mjrinor » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:23 pm

Hello fellow woodworkers!

I'm a new member to this forum and I'm currently working on refurbishing a shopsmith mark 2. Though new to shopsmith, I'm not new to woodworking. I have looked through some of the projects posted (there's a lot of great talent!) and posts requesting ideas for projects. This project was not done using a shopsmith, so I hesitated posting. Hopefully it will be well received by the community.

I have been interested in birds for several years. My interest was first piqued by hummingbirds; often called the "gems of the skies." I have been diligent in maintaining my feeders for them and have thoroughly enjoyed their beauty. I've learned they make tiny nests (around 1.5 to 3 inches wide) for their eggs and rearing their young. Through my research, I discovered that some people have made nest platforms for these birds- so being a woodworker and bird lover, i made one myself. I am going to describe this platform as maybe this will serve as inspiration for some forum members.

This nest platform does not have a roof over the cup/horizontal surface, as that would potentially inhibit their flight- however, there is a bit of roof at the back- which is providing some protection over the wire mesh. Behind the wire mesh is nesting materials for the birds and is meant to be kept somewhat dry for them. These birds use twigs, moss, string/thread, lichen, spider webs, etc to construct their nests. The wire mesh is held in place with some wire, and it can be removed, restocked and replaced as needed. I've used some d-rings on the back, and lengths of wire- this is meant to help secure the platform to a tree. I used a forstner bit to cut a small circle into the surface so the nest can sit in the cup. In the center of the cup, I drilled a small hole which is meant to serve as a drainage hole. I took 2 bolts (because they'd have a finer thread) and I ground the sides of the heads of the bolts (in one of the pics you can see one is ground down and the other wasn't yet altered). These are meant to be anchoring posts (a replacement for the twigs/ tree branches they'd normally use)for the nest as hummingbirds like to use spiderwebs (usually attached to twigs/tree branches) in their construction for elasticity (which provides a helpful stretch when the babies start to grow). I used a bit of walnut around the edges. This was meant to provide a sort of landing perch, as well as a further back-up support for the nest and babies.

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Re: A project for the birds

#266195 by Mjrinor » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:25 pm

Oops, I meant to add more pics before submitting- here are the other ones.

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Re: A project for the birds

#266197 by RFGuy » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:33 pm

Welcome to the forum! Very interesting. So, how does this hummingbird home work? I mean, do you have to do anything to entice them to come and make their nest on it (other than putting nest starter material behind the wire mesh)? Or will they just come and find it on their own and setup a nest? I'd be interested in making one of these and putting near my back patio. I already have several hummingbirds in the area, but I don't know if they will abandon their current nest to come and make one, if I build this. Thanks for posting.

---

📶RF Guy

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Re: A project for the birds

#266201 by Mjrinor » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:03 pm

Dear RF,
Thank you for the kind welcome!

I see you're in Arizona- so I'm sure you see plenty of hummingbirds, they migrate threw that area and some even winter there, so you actually probably have a few different types you're seeing. One of the reasons I posted this is because spring is when they're making nests and having babies. Here are some ideas that speak to your questions:

How to entice them-
One of the best things you can do to entice them is to provide them with a dependable food source. You can hang a hummingbird feeder in your garden, and that will help a lot. One thing to consider is that the feed needs to be changed and the feeder needs to be cleaned regularly or you risk making the birds sick. After all, it's a sugar solution and the sun helps it grow bacteria. I have recommendations for feed and feeders if you're interested.

Make sure to hang your platform with some good protection- (ex: in a tree), ect- to allow them to have some camouflage and protection from the elements and predators. Make sure the platform has a direct view/path to your feeder.

These birds are said to revist their special spots- so feeding them will make your garden a place they want to frequent, and that will make it an ideal place to have babies.

Please DM me if you have any questions- I'd be more than willing to help in anyway I can. They've brought me a great deal of joy and I'd be honored to assist another person in finding and experiencing that too.

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Re: A project for the birds

#266206 by SkullsquadronX » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:33 pm

Welcome to the shopsmith forum. It’s something my mother would like she the one for the birds.

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Re: A project for the birds

#266214 by Mjrinor » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:55 pm

Dear SkullsquadronX,

I appreciate your welcome to the forum- I've really enjoyed it and hope to be an active member!

It sounds like your mother might like birds. May isn't too far off, perhaps this could be a good mother's day present?

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Re: A project for the birds

#266468 by Mjrinor » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:06 pm

One of the members sent me a DM expressing interest and asking for some measurements for the hummingbird nest platform. I have done my best to draw a build plan in case others consider building one of these. The only pieces that are not shown are the walnut trim that wraps around the platform on 3 sides- I didn't include them as I thought it might make the drawing a bit confusing. One other point about the trim- the member who DM'ed me asked if there was any drainage for the platform surface in case rain collects. Though there is a small hole drilled thru the cup's center (specifically for the nest to have drainage), I did not include any surface drain holes. He made a good point, so if I were to use this design again, I'd likely take this into consideration and drill a few holes (at platform's surface level) through the trim on either side to allow for drainage just in case. It is important, however, to consider that these platforms should be secured in a place that provides some protection from the elements- for instance, mine is in a tree that is evergreen, so it's always got some shelter. I've also seen these installed on houses/shops near the eves which gives added roofing from the elements- but isn't as helpful in the camouflaging department (unless it were near some hanging baskets, which would help).

Let me know if you have questions. And if anyone does build one, please post a pic, or send me a DM of it- I'd love to see what other people come up with.

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