Saturday, December 13, 2008

Interview with Sharon Gray of Ridge Bird Feeders

Ridge Bird Feeders doesn't just produce excellent-quality birdfeeders, they produce GIGANTIC, excellent-quality birdfeeders.  In fact, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, Ridge Bird Feeders has built the largest birdfeeder in the world.  The thing is 8 feet tall!  It holds 135 pounds of seed!  It's in the great state of Maine!

I don't usually "pimp" products here, but this holiday season I encourage you to buy Maine, buy birdy, and buy Ridge.  Plus, you can say your feeder is the cousin of the largest in the world.  

I talked with Sharon Gray of Ridge Bird Feeders about the world record feeder.

Birdist: When did the idea first come about to attempt to make the world's largest birdfeeder?

Sharon Gray: Well it all started when I asked Bill [Cote] to make me a large bird feeder.  All and all, I did not need it that large because all the feeders that we sell are large and beautiful. After it was laid out we talked about the possibility of using it for advertising and then on to Guinness.

How was the feeder constructed? Was the process different for your normal-sized feeders?

SG: It was constructed as a duplicate of our feeder design, just larger, white cedar, longer stainless screws, etc.  The process was the same with the only difference being Plexiglass braces on the inside of the hopper to keep it wrapped.  Of course it is varnished also!

How much seed did it take to fill the feeder up? How were you even able to fill it?

SG: The feeder takes 136 lbs of black oil sun flower seed to fill.  If we feed with a smaller seed it might hold more weight.  We use a tall ladder and five gallon pails to fill it.  We normally only put 50 to 60 lbs at a time in it.  Bill just muscles it up.

How did you hang it up and how long did you leave it?

SG: It appears to be hanging but is on a perch.  Once it is up it stays up and only comes down to be repaired from the damage done by red squirrels.

Oh so the feeder has been in operation since it was built? How much seed would you guess you've gone through?

SG: The feeder has been feeding for a while, I think it was built in 2006.  Seed, that is a good question.  We do not go through as much as some people but maybe 800 lbs of black oil sun flower a year.

Do a lot of birds come to the feeder? What species have you seen?

SG: We get quite a few depending on the time of year.  We get cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, finches, grosbeaks, pine siskins, blue jays, doves, woodpeckers and all the ground feeders that go along to name a few.

Can you tell me a little bit about the Guinness process? Did someone have to come out and verify what you made?

SG: The Guinness process is pretty cut a dried. You register with them and tell them what record you want to go for and wait for their reply. Once you have it then they send you all the info and all you have to do is follow them to the letter.  It took us a year but this was due to the firm that set up our web site and let the ball fall with Guinness.  Bill had to pick up the pieces and start all over again...

When we were ready to go for the record we had a reporter from a TV station, WABI TV Bangor, and two people from a community radio station out of Blue Hill, Me., WERU.  We had to take the feeder down, measure it, weigh the seed, fill the feeder.  We had to take the statements and send a video from the TV broadcast to Guinness.  I think we waited 8 weeks and they sent us the paper work that we had the world record.

If you want somebody to come over the pond from Guinness it is extremely expensive and is not required, but the process could have taken only a couple of weeks.

Do you have any plans to build and even BIGGER feeder? Is anyone challenging your record?

SG: Bigger feeder I do not know.  Same answer for someone challenging the record.  We have not heard. ø


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