Bird Feeding from the Second Floor

Backyard bird feeding is among the most popular hobbies of home owners. It’s no surprise as most people love seeing any natural living animals close to home. Many people don’t know where to begin when they decide they’d like to start feeding birds but keeping it simple is usually the key to successful feeding without breaking the bank.

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple but many look at my setup and think it’s far from it. While building the setup was far from simple, the concept is very simple and keeping feeders filled and clean is a snap. Living in a walk-out ranch home means the main floor on the back of the house feels like the second level. The problem was when we’d sit down to dinner and look out through our slider, all we’d see was the deck and none of the lawn below. This meant to feed birds and enjoy them we’d have to have feeders on the deck somewhere. This would also mean all the mess with feeding birds would be on the deck. That was the last thing we wanted so to the drawing board I went. My vision was for a system that had feeders at deck height but out enough so the mess from feeding would simply fall to the ground sixteen feet below. In the end, I installed two curved steel pipes mounted to the deck and strung a cable in-between the poles. From the stretched cable, two groups of feeders would be installed for proper viewing from the slider as well as the window over the kitchen sink. The feeders hang five feet from the decks edge. Getting the feeders back on the deck for refilling and cleaning is done by using a shepherd’s crook. They can be heavy when putting the feeders back on their hooks but after doing it a few times, I had it down! Most of the feeders have Black Oil Sunflower seed which attracts many bird species including American Goldfinches, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, and more. I do prefer to use Thistle seed as well, especially in the winter with hopes of Pine Siskins and Purple Finches coming in. All of these feeders are filled from the deck and there is never a mess.

While I choose to use a few types of seed as well as making custom mixes for the platform feeder, this is probably a little overboard for people just getting into feeding the birds. My advice would be to ignore seed mixes (most are filled with waste the birds don’t want). Use Black Oil Sunflower seed and try to place feeders in a group near trees or brush so the birds have a place to hide and retreat. Try your hand at feeding and enjoy the birds as they come close to home and gobble up the food from your feeders.

Josh Haas

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2 Responses to “Bird Feeding from the Second Floor”

  1. Sharon Hull says:

    Great ideas, Josh. But where did you find those curved metal poles? Or did you use a hickey device and curve them yourself?

    To further cut down on the mess, I now use sunflower chips instead of unhulled seed. A bit more expensive but then, I’m not paying for the weight of the hulls so I think it evens out. The ground feeder birds clean up most of any seed that gets dropped by the feeder birds and our local skunks vacuum up the rest. (The skunks are not trigger-happy. They just dive under the deck if they feel that we’ve gotten too close so we enjoy having them around. They are beautiful animals and the females bring their incredibly cute kittens for us to watch in summer.)

  2. Josh Haas says:

    For the pipes, I went to my local steel shop and bought inch and a quarter steel round tubing and then had a local fabricator in town cut them to the length I wanted and he ROLLED them how I wanted them and made them match. Costly but worth every penny. I then painted the pipes and found rubber caps at Lowes for the ends to keep water out.