How To Attract Tui To Your Garden

Automatic Birdfeeder

As mentioned in a previous post the bird feeders we have located around our garden attract various types of birds but I’ve not seen native birds using them.

Several weeks ago after purchasing a conventional feeder a client suggested that I should make an automatic version for birds such as Tui, Wood Pigeon, Fantail, Silver Eye and others.

I had already been thinking about designing such a feeder therefore this was just the motivation needed to get the project under way. Several days later the prototype as pictured above was finished.

The central part of the unit consists of a removable wooden box that houses a 1.5 litre plastic bottle filled with a mixture of sugar and water. This flows through small holes drilled in the bottom of the bottle into a plastic tray from which the tuis and other birds will hopefully feed … anyhow that’s the plan?

It’s a simple concept but will it work? … only time will tell.

Where should it be located?

It needed to be in a quiet yet visible part of the property so bird activity could be easily monitored. There are a several clumps of native flax on our further most boundary where the tuis feed so that seemed the most logical spot. The nectar from it’s flowers is one of the tui’s favourite foods.

After bashing a waratah standard into the hard clay the feeder was lowered onto it. A 40cm wooden sleeve attached to the bottom allows this to happen. To position the unit in a different location it’s just a simple matter of pulling out the waratah.

Viewing our expected visitors can now be enjoyed from either our laundry or garage windows. Not easy to see in this photo but it’s a little off centre to the right.

Birdfeeder View From Garage

After sorting out a few initial teething problems, mainly rats (don’t ya hate them), all now seems to be fine. No sightings of any birds feeding yet but keeping all fingers and toes crossed.

These bird feeders will be for sale but not until I’m satisfied that they work satisfactorily.

If you’ve had success in attracting birds to your garden or have any tips you are willing to share I would love to hear from you.

Check out this great website if you’re are looking for extensive information on New Zealand birds.

Favourite Quotes:
Use whatever talent you possess, the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sing the best. Henry Van Dyke

17 Responses

  1. Natalie Aitken
    Natalie Aitken |

    I would be very interested in one of these when you are ready to sell them.
    Cheers
    Natalie

  2. Brian Aparicio
    Brian Aparicio |

    I would also be interested in purchasing one of your feeders, if you think it has passed your test’s…
    Cheers
    Brian

  3. Raewyn
    Raewyn |

    Your tui feeder certainly works!
    Nine days ago I hung one of your feeders in our apple tree and today a pair of tui visited for the first time. I am thrilled with this invention. It is giving us so much pleasure.
    The wax-eyes began using it first. They are great to watch too.
    Can’t wait to see what happens in the nesting box!

  4. Matthew
    Matthew |

    Nice feeder – I’d like to get one. A question before that though – after watching the video of you refilling the bottle with sugar water, I wondered how you regulate the flow of liquid from the bottle into the tray… No cap would result in immediate emptying and overflow – and cap on would result in a vacuum so strong it would prevent liquid dripping. Surely one doesn’t have to twiddle the cap into a half-on/half-off position?

  5. Matthew
    Matthew |

    Hi Rodney – thanks for the speedy response! Was just curious as when I tried something similar with a bottle that I wanted to drip feed some tomatoes, as the water level in the bottle dropped, it reached a point where the air pressure above the water was such that the bottle would crumple – but when it couldn’t crumple any more, the dripping would stop – so I only ever managed to get a few 100mls (out of 1000ml) of water out of the bottle. Was just concerned that the same would happen here, and wondered if you had a magic solution – like a hole in the cap.

  6. John
    John |

    I received one of your tui feeders as a gift and it’s fantastic! One question – any idea how to prevent the waxeyes drinking all the nectar before the tui get a chance?!? About 20 of them descend upon it as soon as its topped up and it only takes them a few hours to empty it. A tip perhaps – I wanted to make refilling the bottle easier, so created a new bottle with holes drilled so that they face out. I then put a large, wide rubber band (actually a strip cut from the wrist section of an old kitchen rubber glove) around the base of the bottle (therefore blocking the holes) and filled it that way. It means I can walk out to the feeder with a full bottle, insert it and just pull the band off once it’s in place. Easier than the blue tack, I think.

  7. John
    John |

    Thanks for the reply. I made a temporary screen out of a plastic milk bottle, and taped it around the front and sides of the tray – like a fence. It’s high enough off the surface of the nectar to prevent the wax eyes reaching the nectar – although they do land on the ‘fence’ and try! Have just had the tui land (they always seem to hold onto the vertical roof supporting post rather than on the flat) and he/she seemed to be able to reach down over the fence and into the nectar. If it continues to work, I might try and find a tray with a suitably high side so that I can remove the temporary fence. Sounds like your screen (mesh?) works too.

    I feel a little sorry for the wax-eyes though.

    PS – I’m in Mt Eden.

  8. Mac McElwain
    Mac McElwain |

    I live at Tai Tapu just outside of Christchurch. We have Bellbirds, and this morning I could swear I heard a Tui. Has anyone else got any information on them in the area?
    MAC

  9. Brigid
    Brigid |

    I saw three tui in the trees at my home in the city today …. we are really close to (what was) the Christchurch CBD, near Hagley Pk. I have never seen them in town before. A good sign??? Hope so!

  10. Tim
    Tim |

    I have Tuis in my Bottlebrush tree, they feed in it but won’t drink the nectar or the suet feeder… nothing right in their face. All the other birds drink it and eat… none eat the suet/fat in the cage, not one yet? I have a pulley/rope up a tree 60ft up, bottle brush branches, suet, nectar, seed, fruit, Tuis soaring about and not landing on my feeders? It’s a tough one. I put it down to time of year too, maybe right now is a bad time? West Auckland rural. Never seen a Bellbird but looking.

  11. carole
    carole |

    Hi

    I put up a tui feeder a week ago, but as yet the only thing with legs that has discovered it, is a line of ants!
    Am wondering actually HOW to attract the birds to it. Any ideas? Wave a placard saying “sugary delights, this way”?

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