Heated Birdbaths

Log Cabin style bird feeder

by Joe Buchan
(Inverurie Scotland)

The small birds in my garden were being intimidated by the crows and starlings so I built this feeder so they could eat in peace.


I wasn't sure if they would use it so I fitted plenty of small windows measuring 35mm x 35mm so lots of light would get in and they wouldn't feel trapped.

Great Tits began arriving followed by a couple of Chaffinches and then a Robin.

It was a little frustrating not knowing what was going on inside so I bought a pin hole camera and connected that to my wife's laptop.

This opened up a whole new world for us, we could see exactly what was going on and everything appeared to be working exactly as I had planned.

However peace and tranquility was short lived, a young starling managed to get in and was causing havoc because it couldn't get out again.

(Plan B). I modified all the windows by adding a small piece of doweling to each window ledge, this made the windows slightly smaller to keep them out, it also gave the birds a better foothold on the window ledge.

Just when I thought everything was going my way disaster struck again, the sparrows suddenly decided the house belonged to them and started to fight with the Great Tits and Chaffinches, they were even fighting amongst themselves.

Sadly the Chaffinches and Great Tits were driven out and the sparrows took over.

The Great Tits still drop in but they only use it as a take away now, just dart in to grab something and flee for their lives.

We have lots of Blue Tits in the garden but they have never used the feeder, perhaps they know a lot more about sparrows than the Great Tits do.

My wife is fascinated by the whole thing, she sits for hours watching the birds exert authority on each other.

She has a sparrow called "Ruffles", so called because of his bedraggled appearance and the fact he stands by the window fighting off all the other hungry sparrows. She thinks he's the self appointed landlord.

Later in the evening when all the other sparrows have gone home he sits and roosts like a hen, sometimes joined by another sparrow who she calls "Breathless", this appears to be his buddy.

There they both sit side by side looking out the window while they fall asleep. When dusk descends Ruffles is always the last one to leave the house, were he goes nobody knows but he's always back again at the crack of dawn, picked up on the motion detect camera.

I'm currently trying to design a smaller house for Blue Tits but so far the sparrows are still getting in. I'm determined not to give up though.

Comments for Log Cabin style bird feeder

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Sep 22, 2016
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"Some small Pictures inside"
by: Barry Beardsley

Absolutely a wonderful job done. To share a note with you 10 + years ago I made a very large swallow home with two sets of veranda's around it, and pasted minutely small pictures of birds and scenery on the outside veranda walls, and if you can believe this they loved them and actually would sit and look at them singing.

Many of the photo's came from different sears catalogues or outdoor magazines. The interior of your home would create quite a chatter with some inside. Again thanks for sharing your gorgeous work. with us Bristol Quebec Canada.

Jun 15, 2015
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In answer to the question how difficult was it to set up my camera
by: Joe Buchan

First thing I'd say is never buy a wireless camera, no matter how close you are to the target you'll always get interference. The camera comes with a number of internal micro switches to fine tune the camera to the wireless software but trust me it's not worth the time and effort.

Wired Camera:
For best results you should buy a hard wired camera despite the obvious challenges you might face running a cable to it, it will give you best results. At this point you have two choices, you either go around patios, paths and obstacles which means lots of extra cable. Or you go straight for it by lifting everything in sight. I did it the easy way and bought lots of extra cable as it made no visual difference to the picture quality.

Camera Position
No matter where you decide to put the camera it will be in the wrong place so don't be too vigorous when screwing it into position, one loose screw is all it takes until you get it up and running.
So now you've got the cable laid and the camera fitted all you need to do is connect the wires, remove the lens cap and your finished, well for the moment outside anyway.

PC setup.
Time to connect your USB DVR Dongle to the PC and run the program CD that comes with it. You can't go wrong with the wiring, it's all in a small instructions booklet. Run the software and follow the guidance given and you will eventually end up with a sharp picture of the target on your PC. BUT you're not finished yet, the most important part is just coming up.

Fine tuning
You'll have probably noticed by now that the camera is in the wrong position within the box so now's the time to reposition it and screw permanently into place. To get the right angle you might have to experiment with a few different wooden wedges, find the right angled wedge you need, screw that to the bird box then screw the camera onto the wedge.

Focusing the lens
Look for a very small screw that locks the focus lens in place, so small in fact you might have missed it, once loose you can focus the camera on any part of the box you like (this procedure involves quite a lot of running back and forth between the PC and the bird house) If you're a perfectionist you might want to put something in the box with some bold print on it so as to make focusing a bit easier. Once your happy with the picture quality lightly tighten the locking screw and you're a happy camper.

I bought my camera / recoding software on Amazon from a company called SpyCameraCCTV.
If you're unsure what you want it's probably best to call them direct otherwise you might end up missing some essential fittings. Cheaper Standard cameras have different fittings to the more expensive HD cameras for example. I hope this answers most of your questions.

Jun 12, 2015
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Small Cedar Shingles for Birdhouse Roofing
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing this information.

I still have not found cedar shingles for the birdhouses we make. On one house we cut and glued medical tong depressors onto the roof then painted with four coats of exterior paint. So far it seems to be holding up pretty well. I'd post a photo but I'm not sure how to do it.

We have donated 4 of our birdhouses to charity auctions and they sell for between $135.00 - $450.00.

Margaret Conard Poole


Apr 18, 2015
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Birdhouse Camera
by: Gene

You can check out our recommendation here Birdhouse Camera

Apr 18, 2015
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roof shingles and a question on camera
by: Anonymous

I love your feeder and your motives for building it. The roof shingles, I am not sure where all of you are at so I will just tell you my findings. In Edmonton there is a place called Hobby Wholesale , actually any Hobby store that sells Dollhouse kits and supplies should have them. make sure the ones you buy are the cedar ones as there are pine ones that are thinner and they do not stand up as well, I have used the pine ones once but have had to re-glue them when and where they lift. so not advised on the pine. Try the Yellow pages for hobby stores and phone and ask for Dollhouse making supplies-cedar shakes.

My question is where do you get the tiny camera for inside & is it hard to hook up to your computer???

Dec 07, 2014
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shingles
by: Anonymous

I have been using wood shims...

Oct 11, 2014
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Roof Shingles
by: Joe

In reply to the question on where to buy roofing shingles I'm afraid I don't know because I made my own. It's a very laborious job but a little dedication helps you through it.

Oct 11, 2014
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Where can I buy cedar roof shingles for bird houses?
by: Anonymous

Your log cabin bird feeder is beautiful.

My husband and I have built a few whimsical bird houses this summer but struggle with roofing supplies. So far, we have used cedar boards but they are not as attractive as shingles we see on birdhouses in the stores.

Do you know a good source for buying cedar roof shingles?

Thank you in advance for any information you can share.

Sep 23, 2014
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Great job
by: Robert

That sure is a very nice feeder. You did an excellent job and it is a refuge for the smaller ones to get inside for a bite of food. Thanks for sharing.

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