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Hanging/Mounting Your New Feeder, (Part 1)

This is going to be a long, two-part post, so I’ll cut right to the chase...

I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve visited friends, and found feeders lying on the ground in their backyards. And the excuses are always the same – the wind blew the birdfeeder all “kittywumpus”, or the squirrels pulled the feeder down, or the neighbor’s dog knocked the feeder off its post, (or worse yet, the post simply fell over all by itself). Let’s take these issues one at a time.
First is the matter of hanging a birdfeeder...

Things to think about:
  • Probably the first thing you want to do is choose a good location for your feeder. The standard in the business is the “Six Rule.” That is to say that the feeder needs to be at least six feet away from the ground, vegetation, branches, tree trunks, etc. Quite simply, that greatly slows the squirrel menace. Additional squirrel baffles and spinner feeders may also be called into service. Note: As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the wife and I have avoided virtually all the squirrel hassles simply by giving them their own feeder. Once the squirrels grasp the fact that they have a wide-open trough, they completely ignored the other feeders. Besides – squirrels are just as cool to watch as the birds!
  • If you decide to hang your feeder by rope, start the project with a quality rope. Quarter-inch nylon and polyester are both good choices. They’re strong, rot resistant, and stand up to the sunlight.
  • Ok, so you’ve got your location and you’ve got your rope, but you’re probably looking at a tree branch that’s well beyond your reach. What to do? You could get out that old ladder and risk life and limb, (pun intended) trying to play “Tarzan Hangs a Birdfeeder”... But there’s a better way. (The following instructions apply to branches of 15’ in height or less...) Take a couple of old tube socks and slide one sock inside the other. Next fill the inner sock with eight to twelve ounces of seed. Finally knot the socks closed and tie your rope onto the end of the socks just below the knot, (see the picture below).
    Heaving_Line_Ready_300_225.jpg
    Congratulations, in effect, you just made what we in the boating community call a “monkey’s fist”. A monkey’s fist is a heaving line complete with a weighted end. Now all you need to do is go outside, carefully uncoil your rope under the branch so that it doesn’t tangle, and heave the seed/sock over the branch. It will probably take a few tries, but the skill comes quickly.
  • Alright, so now the rope is over the desired branch and the “Six Rule” is in play. In the process of filling the feeder, you’ve emptied the sock(s) into the vessel, Good! Now all you have to do is tie the feeder to the end of the line and hoist away... Not so fast Bucko! In my experience, this is where most people blow it. They tie the feeder to the bitter end of the rope using a square knot, or a granny knot, or some other marlinspike abomination, and then they hoist the feeder into position and go back into the house and eat pie. A month later, the feeder is on the ground, the owner is discouraged, and the birds go hungry. See below as to how to really secure a feeder by tying a bowline knot.
    Bowline_2_300_236.jpg
  • Almost home... Finally, affix the other end of the rope to the base of the tree. The wife and I use a number of bungee cords as an anchor point. (Be sure to give yourself enough slack to lower the feeder for refills! (Once again, see the photo below.)
    Finch feeder cropped_enhanced_278w_400h.jpg
Well that’s it for today gang... Next time we’ll look at mounting feeders on posts!

See you by the feeder,

Alan
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