Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gold Finch Good-bye

About 10 days before the autumnal equinox, my black thistle socks were ravaged by tens of gold finch.  The males were very aggressive about feeding at the socks.  Two males would fight at the sock and continue to fight mid-air for ten seconds or so.  Both of my socks were totally destroyed when the finches made holes in the fabric large enough into which their heads could fit.  Of course, the seeds spilled onto the ground to a level just below the hole in the sock and gold finch will not eat the seeds off the ground.
That is black thistle seed on the concrete
I decided to make a new sock.  I searched my house for some kind of material.  I didn't have the knit fabric used in the store bought socks.  The kind of material used in sport clothing.  I'm not nor ever have been, what you would call, athletic.
In my garage what I found was window screening material that I thought had openings large enough through which the seeds would fit.  I found some thick thread in the sowing basket and proceeded to make the sock.
10" x 24"
I didn't measure the screen but cut about 10" of material from the roll of 48" wide screening.  I then cut that into approximately two pieces 10" by 24".  
10" x 24" doubled now 5" x 24"
I folded the width so that I had two 5" wide layers and only two sides to sow.  I threaded the needle having the largest hole and began to sew the short end closed.  I put the needle in the fourth set of holes from the cut edge.  I figured that the fourth set of holes would be far enough from the edge to reduce the chance of the seam ripping apart due to the weight of the seeds.  This size sock would probably hold 2 lbs. of seed when full.  I consciously used strong knots at the end of each run of thread.  I then turned the sock inside out.  In no time at all, the sock was ready to fill with black thistle seeds.

I used a funnel with a large throat to fill the sock and tapped the sock on my kitchen counter to get in the maximum amount of seed.  I then cut a 10" length of 1/8" cord.  I used an overhand knot in the loose ends and formed a circular cord.  I then gathered and twisted the top of the sock made from the screening material.  Placed the circular cord around the gathered and twisted sock and slipped the doubled cord into itself and pulled the longer end of the cord, tightening it around the sock.

Now it was time to test the finches ability to get the seeds out through the screening.  I hung my new feeder next to one of the store bought sock feeders.  I figured by placing the new feeder next to the old feeder it would shorten the discovery time for the gold finch.

I built it, now they would come.  By the end of the second day, only one female gold finch was feeding at the new sock.  She was able to extract seeds.  My creation was a success, sort of.  
The one an only female gold finch I saw feeding had ripped the screening material to get to the seeds.  Oh, well!  Back to the drawing board.

I will bring my new sorry feeder inside, pour all of the seeds into a sealable plastic bag and store them until next spring when the gold finches return.  Until then, I am thinking about the overwintering birds in my backyard.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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