Back in the early 1990’s, I built a cedar log cabin bird feeder for one of my old college room mates and good friend B-man. After an amazing 25 years of service, his cedar feeder is still holding up, minus a little expected decay. Regardless, the birds still seem to love it.
Built to Last!
As you can see in the photo, even two and a half decades have not taken this bad boy out. Sure, there’ some rough edges (probably due to hungry squirrels), but it adds character. To be clear, natural unfinished cedar is not “rot proof”, it’s “rot resistant”. This simply means that the natural resins in the wood known as “extractives ” resist water penetration and the effects of rot. These resins also deter insect damage and harmful UV from the Sun.
Rot Resistant Woods:
There are other species of wood you can use, but some are exotic and expensive while other like pressure treated lumber are not well suited for use on a bird feeder because of potentially toxic chemicals used to treat the wood. Modern AC2 MicroPro lumber is less toxic that it’s predecessors and won’t corrode fasteners, but cedar is still the natural choice for a bird feeder.
Other rot resistant wood choices:
- Black Locust – rare and expensive
- Osage Orange – rare and expensive
- Teak – rare and expensive
- Ipe – rare and expensive
- Bald Cypress – rare and expensive
- Loblolly Pine – only moderate rot resistance
- European Larch – only moderate rot resistance
- Pressure treated A2 MicroPro – potentially toxic to birds
- Western Red Cedar – the BEST choice for cedar bird feeder construction
Bottom line, use western red cedar as it is readily available and affordable as compared to the choices above. It’s non toxic to wildlife and as evident by these photos, will last for many, many years of bird watching enjoyment.
Here are more photos of the cedar bird feeder after 25 years: