I was looking to make a simple low-cost, but unique bird feeder from an ammo box. Some of the reasons for using an ammo box include that it is watertight, will hold a large amount of birdseed, and will be long-lasting due to being made of metal. Also, it is magnetic and the metal can be easily bent once it is cut into.
Supplies Needed for the Ammo Box Bird Feeder
Used ammo boxes can be found relatively cheaply at Army Surplus Stores and, of course, online. I used a PA-108 ‘Fat Fifty’ (SAW Box), but you could definitely use the very common 50 caliber box here for this project:
Next, in order to create a perch for the birds to land on, you can take advantage of the metal box by using magnetic hooks like the following:
Then, you’ll need a couple of small dowel rods to put in the magnetic hooks. I upcycled old flags from the yard that were past their prime to make this an extra patriotic bird feeder.
To wrap things up, you’ll need
- a block of wood to mount the feeder
- a T-Post
- a couple of smaller pieces of wood to use as spacers inside the ammo box
Instructions for Assembling Your Bird Feeder Ammo Box
First, mark out a “window” in the box to make a “U” shaped cup about 1″ from the left/right/bottom edges of the long sides of the ammo box. Then, make some pilot holes with a drill, so that you can cut out the “U” with a metal cutting jigsaw blade. Take a block of wood and clamp it inside the box at the top of the “U” so that you can bend the flap that was cut out inside the box.
Now, you’ll want to wedge two spacers inside the box the left and right sides of the box with some wood (I used some 3/4″ MDF). You’ll want to do this to keep the birdseed from falling out of the box.
Next, take the T-Post and place it in the center of the block of wood you want to mount the box on. I used a piece of 2″x6″ pressure treated wood. Trace around the T-Post and then drill out the material, so that you can insert the T-Post into the void you create.
Next, fasten the ammo box to the block of wood with some screws. I would suggest drilling a few extra holes to allow rain water to drain out. Then, drive the T-Post into the ground and place the mounted bird feeder on top of the T-Post. DONE!
Ideas for Improvements on this Bird Feeder
This was a quick project and I have been using it for several months with great success. The birds love it! Even so, there are some design flaws that I wanted to list.
- be careful how far you bend the flaps in the box. I had a bird get stuck inside it shortly after I put it up.
- More water than I would have liked got in the box. I would add several more drain holes to the inside of the ammo box. Also, I may add some sort of overhang on top of the openings to keep the rain out (possibly magnetic HVAC vent deflectors)
In the end, I really enjoy this bird feeder and plan on making one or two more this spring.