1) Live in "south" Florida and feed birds between October and April. This may also apply to Painted Buntings that breed in northern FL and farther north. Painted Buntings feed on grass and other seeds. They may eat sunflower but they much prefer white millet. White millet can be found in mixes that stores sell to attract finches or we have been lucky to find bags of white millet at a local feed store. Small bags are more expensive so if you can store seed (dry and in critter proof containers) some of you might ask about larger bags. Don't be confused with red millet - it is that large round, red seed used as filler in inexpensive seed mixes and a lot of birds won't even touch it.
2) Buntings like to see around them when they eat but they are shy/cautious. Having plantings (cover) close to a feeder but room (line of sight) around the feeder seems essential. They like to have a pathway of plants from somewhere else (night roost??) to this feeder.
3) Caged feeders help Painted Buntings feel secure.
It is well known that Painted Bunting numbers are dropping. Before this species gets to an endangered level, studies are being conducted by the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) and the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNC). These groups are mostly studying the breeding populations. In Florida, the Painted Bunting Banding Team is working with over-wintering Painted Buntings and color banding them. UNC has a web page to track Painted Buntings in any season. Data can be submitted there.
Let us band your birds.
* Feeder Plans
- BUILDING A BIRD FEEDER ENCLOSURE
- Material List:1- Roll 1” X 2” galvanized wire mesh (TSC Ft Pierce)
- 8- 2 X 2 X 8 ft pressure treated lumber
1 – 24” X 26” X 1/2” Exterior grade plywood
1 – Box 2 1/2” drywall screws2 – small packages galvanized 3/4” fence staples
1 - hook for hanging bird feeder
2 – small hinges
1 – hook and eye latchCutting1. Cut 2 of the 2 X 2s to 72 " - front legs
2. Cut 2 of the 2 X 2s to 70" – back legs
3. Cut 8 lengths of 2 X 2 to 21 1/4” -shelf supports
4. Cut 2 lengths 2 X 2 to 27 1/2” -door frame
5. Cut 2 lengths 2 X 2 to 18 1/2 “ -door frame
6. Cut 2 lengths of 2 X 2 to 32” - optional diagonal lower leg supports
Assembly1. Building the framea) Attach bottom of shelf supports to legs at 38” and 66” from bottom of legs using drywall screws. Make sure front legs (72”) and back legs (70”) are positioned correctly.
b) Notch corners of 24” X 24” panels to fit onto shelf supports.
c) Optionally, notch 32” lengths so that the inner length between notch points is 30 1/4”
d) Join two notched supports together at right angles.
e) Attach to frame approximately 16” from bottom.
2. Installing the mesha) Wrap wire mesh around 3 sides of the frame leaving the back side open. Attach with fence staples. Top of mesh should be level with the top of the longer (front) legs. Excess mesh will be trimmed later.
b) Attach mesh securely to top shelf support.
c) Attach mesh loosely to vertical wires on legs just below horizontal wires. This will allow for “creep” in vertical when mesh is crimped.
d) Starting at the top of the mesh, using a pair of large ViseGrips, crimp wire spacing of narrow part is about 1/2 to 3/4”.
e) Fully hammer in all staples.