Yes, it's that time again where our tiny feathered friends journey perhaps 1000's of miles, crossing the wide Caribbean thence north even as far as Canada, to frolic in our gardens! Hummingbirds .. delightful lil critters who feast not only on nectar (which can't supply the protein they need to replenish) but on insects.
Unless, of course, the 'insects' in question consist of piles of dead or living ants whose bodies or corpses clog the passageways of our feeder!
So i was forced to design and construct and to elucidate upon a device that prevents such a situation: the "Anti-Ant" Ant-Blocker!
Shall we begin???
<Responding to the 'whooopwhooop HURRAY's in the crowd, i yield!>
Step 1: What You'll Need
wire-tie (strong, maybe 1/4" wide; I used 'Removable' wire-tie cuz i had a few)
flat-blade screwdriver (width of blade about same as width of wire-tie)
Block of wood (or other support upon which to place the empty tuna-fish can)
empty tin-can .. (catfood? tunafish? truffles? Aluminum best, won't rust)
Sugru (or any other moldable material that is water-proof and sticks to metal)
Hummingbird Feeder, of course.
(Not shown: a Hummingbird smiling at his/her ant-free feeder)
Glass of wine (i suggest a fine red .. perhaps Merlot. whose color blends
well with the coloration of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
And of course, a good aged cheddar and crackers.
Step 2: Untrue Graphic Demo of Screwdriver Used to Form Slit in Bottom of Can
This is not how to make a hole in the can! It merely demo's that the tip of the
screwdriver is used to puncture the can BUT the can is to be placed on top
of the vertically-standing wood block. If woodblock is smaller diameter than the can, then, of course , turn can upsidedown, and place on the block. If woodblock is larger and won't fit inside the can, then place the can open-side up on the block.
Oh i know .. i KNOW!!!! "DONT use a screwdriver as a chisel!!!! .. but get off my back!! the can is THIN and FRAIL, relatively. The driver is HEAVY DUTY and TOUGH and its end only needs a few light taps to drive thru the center of the bottom of the can! SPARE ME your insane (tho correct!) concerns!!
Step 3: Poor Photo of the Wire-tie Looped Thru the Slot in Can
Push the end of the wire-tie thru the slot, then bend it back in a loop and push it thru slot again. When done, two loops will result once you've joined the ends of the wire-tie. One loop at bottom will be attached to the feeder, the other at the
open-end of the can will attach to the birdfeeder's support pole.
And ya, you guessed it: use Sugru to seal both sides of the can, at the wire-tie, to seal the junction.... For my feeder, i chose to loop the wire-tie 's bottom loop thru the cover loop of the feeder before passing that end back thru the can. Not necessary, really, cuz I could have simple used another wire-tie (god's give to the imagination!) to make the attachment.
Step 4: After Sealing Slot/wiretie With Sugru, I Supported the Structur in a Pitcher
I wanted the main axis of the wire-tie to be perpendicular to the bottom of the can. I found a juice pitcher of large enough diameter and suspended the
'now Sugru'd' device, using chopsticks. The pic shows some useless scotch tape I thought of attaching but found it was not necessary, so ignore it.
Minor adjustments in the 'perpendicularity' of the wire-tie loops can be made and if the 'fit' thru the can is tight enough, such manipulations will endure thru the 'curing process'. One has maybe 20 minutes of time where the Sugru is pliable/soft before it becomes very hard and adheres, so take your time placing little 'rolled strings' of Sugrue on the joint, on both sides of the can.
Seal the wire-tie and the can so the can can be the can that the can can be.
(Sorry about that ;)
Step 5: The Device in Position for 24 Hrs, Sugru Curing
Notice the Merlot ... A pic of the cheese and crackers was withheld so as to minimize bandwidth .. Please drink responsibly! .. and that mean legally, too!
How to feed hummingbirds: Boil the volume of water you wish to prepare, then add 1/4th of that weight of sugar. Stir in the sugar and let cool before adding any amount of it to your feeder. DON't add that stupid red food coloring! it's not needed! Your feeder will have all the redness necessary! and the birds don't need artificial additives.
Birds arriving from central/south america have lost much bodyweight.. they
need and will naturally find and devour insects for the protein, and nector / sugarwater for its calories.
I sit here peering out at my feeder now, as shown in the intro pic .. the can containing plain water. Don't add anything you think is toxic to the water in the can: if its bad for ants, its probably bad for birds which wiLL sip there a bit .. Remember: the birds might eat the ants in the water-filled can!
an extra 'feature' !
Thanks for listening ;)
and your prize includes this URL: