The main task for this project was to design a window bird feeder. This feeder should consider several factors. It should accommodate both humans and birds in convenience, accessibility, and attractiveness. Manufacturing costs and limitations must also be accounted for in the design’s form and materials.
Showcased in this website is the design process of my bird feeder. From preliminary research to concept development, every step has been consolidated and detailed to create a story.
Window feeders attach to windows via suction cups and offer close-up views of birds. They attract chickadees, titmice, and sparrows. Because most window feeders are open, the seed is often prone to spoiling.
Hoppers use gravity to naturally refill depleted seed. They attract finches, jays, cardinals, buntings, grosbeaks, sparrows, chickadees, and titmice. Hoppers protect seed very well and do not need to be refilled for days at a time.
Tray feeders are hanging platforms filled with seed. They attract pigeons, starlings, sparrows, and grosbeaks. These types of feeders do not protect seed from the elements, so they need to be refilled often.
Tube feeders are highly weather-resistant, allowing for seed to remain fresh. Depending on the size of the ports, different species of birds may be attracted or dissuaded from these feeders.
Nyjer feeders hold a thistle seed and are made out mesh. They attract Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, and Common Redpolls. The mesh does not protect the seed from the elements, so they need to be refilled often.
Suet feeders are made of wire mesh and hold blocks of suet feed. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, jays, and starlings are attracted to these types of feeders. There is a small chance for birds to get caught in the wire, resulting in injury.
An important part of my research process is to analyze current products. I investigated several different types of mechanisms implemented into feeders to improve convenience and weather-resistance. I also observed the different forms and designs others had used to create aesthetic and beauty. Above and below are documentation of my research from both the internet and in-stores.
Listed below are my conclusions from my research. These points would central to my ideation and concept devlopment.
In the earliest stages of brainstorming, I let my mind think freely and jot down thoughts or sketches. Shown above are the notes and drawings I made to flesh out what I wanted to do with my bird feeder. On the right, I scribbled down whatever forms and ideas came to mind–no matter how abstract. From these rough sketches came the fundamental design of my final feeder.
After researching and brainstorming, the fundamental design problems I wanted to solve came to light. My concept would focus on the specific issues listed below.
Create a window birdfeeder that . . .
To satisfy the constraints of my problem statement, I came up with three different directions (shown above). I decided to pursue direction because of the simplicity of its design. It involved two separate pieces: a stationary roof suction cupped to the window and a removable hopper.
Because I had decided to explore a design involving a hopper, I needed to learn more about how a hopper worked. I created this rough prototype which helped me understand how the naturally refilling mechanism worked.
Below are page layouts exploring every aspect of the design. Variations on the structure, aesthetics, mechanics, and details were fleshed out.
After brainstorming and ideating, the final concept came into being. It would consist of three main structures centered around a primary mechanism. This mechanism is called a cord lock and it is found within window blinds. When cords are tugged right or left, the cord lock allows the object in question (which are blinds under normal circumstances) to be raised or lowered. This mechanism would be implemented into the feeder to lift a hopper up and down.
The first structure would be a stationary roof suction cupped to the window. This roof would protect the hopper from the rain and sun. It would also house the cord lock. Two, weather-resistant nylon cords would be fed into the lock, through screw eyes, and down to meet back and front of the hanging hopper. The two cords would hang beneath the entire feeder for a user to easily access from their window. The roof is made from white acrylic with cedar accents.
On the back of the roof, suction cups would be used for window mounting. These cups would never have to be removed from the window, so their effectiveness will not be diminished
The next component would be the hopper. It is separate from the other structures and is meant to be removed for easy cleaning and refilling. The hopper can be refilled by using the knob to lift the lid off. A circular perch is also included on the edge of the seed tray for a comfortable resting place for birds. Like the roof, the hopper is made from white acrylic.
The final component of the assembly is the lift. The hopper is placed into this cedar structure. The two cords from the roof’s cord lock are fed and anchored down to the front and back. The hopper can removed from the either side of the lift.
This project was an incredibly educational experience. The greatest thing I learned was how to communicate my ideas in a visual format. When designing a product, it is important that every detail is explained and easily understandable. This was done through extensive sketching and rendering, which allowed me to develop my skills in drawing. Due to unforeseen circumstances with COVID-19, the final concept was unable to be produced. However, this pushed me to improve my drawing skills further in order to present a concept of a higher quality.