(19)
(11)EP 2 702 870 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
04.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/49

(21)Application number: 13178944.8

(22)Date of filing:  01.08.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A01K 39/01  (2006.01)

(54)

Bird feeder

Vogelfutterhaus

Mangeoire pour oiseaux


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 29.08.2012 US 201213573186

(43)Date of publication of application:
05.03.2014 Bulletin 2014/10

(73)Proprietor: PLC Patents and Trademarks Inc.
Lac Brome, Québec J0E 1V0 (CA)

(72)Inventor:
  • Cote, Paul
    Lac Brome Québec J0E 1V0 (CA)

(74)Representative: Glück Kritzenberger Patentanwälte PartGmbB 
Hermann-Köhl-Strasse 2a
93049 Regensburg
93049 Regensburg (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 997 369
US-A1- 2012 073 505
US-A1- 2006 260 553
US-B1- 6 253 707
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention relates to a bird feeder and more particularly, relates to a bird feeder which may be used with a number of different feeds.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] Many different bird feeders are known in the art including those which are designed to limit the maximum size of a bird or animal which can access the feed in the feeder. Thus, some people consider some larger birds such as crows, grackles, blue jays and the like to be undesirable. Similarly, some people like to prevent marauders from gaining access to the feed. In particular, squirrels are well known for their ability to reach the feed in a bird feeder and to devour the same. Many approaches have been tried to discourage or prevent squirrels from reaching the bird feeder, including various types of covers and baffles on poles. These seldom work as squirrels have shown a great deal of ingenuity in overcoming such devices.

    [0003] One approach that has been taken is to utilize a moveable shroud. Such approaches have generally been more successful.

    [0004] US 2006/260553 A1 discloses a bird feeder for deterring squirrels and other maurders, the bird feeder having an inner feed container and an outer shroud, the spring mechanism being monnted in a center structure which comprises an outer first member having a hollow interior portion with a second plnnger member monnted interiorly of the hollow member, the plunger having an upper stop member and a lower stop member with a spring mounted between the lower stop member and the base, the shroud being connected to an exteriorly extending portion of the plunger member.

    [0005] US 2012/073505 A1 is directed to a suet feeder which comprises a housing having a spring and a suet holder connected to the housing, the suet holder being sized to retain a prepackaged package of suet, a shroud extending about the suet holder and at least a portion of the housing, a spring biasing the shroud upwardly with respect to the housing and suet holder, the shroud having at least one suet access opening to permit access to the suet holder with the shroud being moveable between an open position permitting access to the suet holder and a closed position wherein access to the suet holder is denied, and a cover secured to the shroud. The suet feeder is designed to deter access to the suet by marauders such as squirrels.

    [0006] EP 1 997 369 A1 discloses a squirrel resistant bird feeder having a seed container, a seed tray mounted below the seed container, a shroud extending about the seed container and seed tray, the shroud having openings in a lower portion thereof, with a spring member mounted internally of the seed container and being enclosed by a central tube, the spring member having a first end thereof abutting a portion of the seed tray and a second end acting on the cover and shroud. Any excessive weight placed on the shroud or cover will cause the shroud to move downwardly covering the seed tray.

    [0007] Most feeders are designed to accept seed as a food for the birds. Although various types of seeds or corn may be utilized, sunflower seed is one of the more preferred feeds.

    [0008] Another food which is popular with certain types of birds is the peanut. In particular, woodpeckers find peanuts very desirable. To date, most peanut feeders simply comprise a container having a wire mesh which is sized to prevent the peanuts from falling out but permit the birds to insert their beak to remove portions of the nuts.

    [0009] Another food which resembles peanuts recently started to be marketed. These are manufactured nuggets of food of a size similar to peanuts.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0010] It is an object of the present invention to provide a bird feeder which is squirrel resistant and can handle food such as peanuts and nuggets.

    [0011] The present invention provides a bird feeder comprising:

    a feed container having a side wall, a plurality of feed openings in said side wall;

    a shroud extending about said feed container, said shroud having feed openings therein, said feed openings being located between a bottom of said shroud and a top of said shroud, said feed openings being spaced from said top of said shroud by a distance equal to between 20% and 80% of the total height of said shroud;

    a cover secured to an upper portion of said shroud;

    a base, a center tube, and a center rod within said center tube, said center rod being secured to said base, said shroud resting on said base;

    a spring mounted about said center rod, said spring being biased at an upper end against a moveable stopper secured to said center rod, said spring being biased at a lower end against a fixed stopper secured to said center tube, an upper portion of said center rod being threaded, a non-rotatable nut forming said upper movable stopper; and

    the arrangement being such that said feed openings in said shroud and feed openings in said side wall of said feed container are normally aligned to permit access to feed within the container, said feed openings of said shroud moving out of alignment with said feed openings in said side wall when a predetermined weight is present on said shroud or cover, wherein

    said center tube has vertical grooves formed on an interior side, said nut has flanges fitting within said grooves to prevent rotational movement of said nut and permit vertical movement of said nut, wherein said feed container has an outwardly sloping bottom wall to direct feed to said feed openings in said side wall.



    [0012] Initially, although reference will be made herein to peanuts and manufactured nuggets as the primary use of the feeder, the bird feeder of the present invention could also be employed with some conventional feeds such as sunflower seeds.

    [0013] The feed container of the present invention has an upper and a lower portion. The upper portion is preferably formed of a suitable plastic material while the lower portion may comprise a wire grid of a size to retain the feed in the container. Typically, the openings would be in a range of between 3 to 8 mm with a range of between 5 to 6 mm being preferred.

    [0014] The bottom wall of the feed container slopes downwardly from the center tube such that birds may access all the food when only a small amount of the same is present in the feed container.

    [0015] The shroud extends about the feed container and wire mesh and also extends further downwardly. The extension downwardly is intended to provide support for some birds such as woodpeckers. Woodpeckers use their tail as a support when at feeders and this enables the woodpecker to stay in a natural feeding position.

    [0016] The shroud is preferably made of an expanded metal and will have the center section with feed openings to permit the birds to access the feed openings in the feed container. Other arrangements such as wire mesh or perforated metal could equally well be utilized. The section having the feed openings is spaced from the top of the shroud by a distance equal to between 20% and 80% of the total height of the shroud. More preferably, the feed openings are spaced at a distance equal to between 35% and 65% of the total height of the shroud.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0017] Having thus generally described the invention, reference will be made to the accompanying drawings illustrating an embodiment thereof, in which:

    Figure 1 is an elevational view of a feeder according to the present invention;

    Figure 2 is a longitudinal sectional view thereof;

    Figure 3 is a partial cutaway view of the upper portion of the feeder;

    Figure 4 is a cutaway view illustrating the bottom portion of the feeder;

    Figure 5 is a partial cutaway view of an upper portion of the feeder;

    Figure 6 is a partial cutaway view of the bottom portion of the feeder;

    Figure 7 is an elevation view of the feeder with the shroud being removed;

    Figure 8 is an expanded cross-sectional view showing the upper portion of the center rod and center tube;

    Figure 9 is an expanded cross-sectional view showing the structure at the upper stop;

    Figure 10 is an expanded cross-sectional view illustrating the biasing of the bottom portion of the spring against a stop;

    Figure 11 is a cross-sectional view of a lower portion of the feeder; and

    Figure 12 is a side elevational view illustrating the center rod.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0018] Referring to the drawings in greater detail and by reference characters thereto, there is illustrated a bird feeder which is generally designated by reference numeral 10.

    [0019] Bird feeder 10 includes a feed container 42, a shroud 12 extending thereabout, a center tube 46 and a center rod 74.

    [0020] Shroud 12 has an upper shroud portion generally designated by reference numeral 14 and a lower shroud portion 16. A center shroud portion 18 is intermediate the upper shroud portion 14 and lower shroud portion 16. As may be seen from the drawings, upper shroud portion 14 is formed of expanded metal 20. Lower shroud portion 16 is likewise formed of expanded metal 22. Center shroud portion 18 comprises a plurality of vertical ribs 24 connecting expanded metal 20 and 22. Between vertical ribs 24, there are provided openings 26.

    [0021] Secured to the top of shroud 12 is a cover generally designated by reference numeral 28. Cover 28 includes a center aperture 30 through which a hanger may extend. Cover 28 includes a dome shaped upper portion 32, a downwardly extending side wall 34, a downwardly and outwardly extending wall 36 and terminates in a generally vertical wall 38. Cover 28 provides an overhang for the bird feeder.

    [0022] Situated inwardly of shroud 12 is a feed container generally designated by reference numeral 42 and which includes a cylindrical outer wall 44. Situated interiorly of feed container 42 is a center tube 46. Center tube 46 is secured to outer wall 44 by means of flanges 48. It will be noted that interiorly of center tube 46 at flanges 48 are grooves 49.

    [0023] Located at the bottom of feed container 42 are screw receptacles 50. A feed tray 52 has a downwardly extending wall 54 and is provided with a sloping bottom wall 56 to ensure that feed slides towards the exterior of the feeder. The bottom of the feed container is located at the center portion of shroud 12. A metal wire mesh 58 forms the lower portion of the feed container 42.

    [0024] A bottom tube 62 is secured to base 68 by means of threads 66. Base 68 is in turn secured to feed tray 52 by means of screws 64 which engage in screw receptacles 50.

    [0025] A base 68 includes diagonal wall segments 70 and a downwardly extending wall 72. The arrangement is such that shroud 12 seats thereon and any downward force on shroud 12 is transmitted to base 68.

    [0026] Mounted internally of center tube 46 is a center rod 74. As may be seen, center rod 74 has an enlarged lower portion 76 and is engaged at its bottom by a nut 78. A dial 80 surrounds nut 78.

    [0027] An upper portion of center rod 74 is generally designated by reference numeral 82 and includes threads 84 thereon (not shown). A spring member 86 surrounds the upper portion of rod 82. A lower stop 88 provides a seat for the lower end of spring 86 while an upper stop 90 does likewise for the other end of the spring. The ends of the springs are conical in configuration to keep the spring axis centered. Flanges 92 extending from upper stop 90 seat in grooves 49. Thus, using dial 80, center rod 74 can be rotated to change the distance between upper stop 90 and lower stop 88. This in turn will control the tension of the spring and the amount of weight which shroud 12 can support.

    [0028] A fixed nut 94 is secured to the top end of center rod 74.

    [0029] A hanger 96 is secured to an upper portion of center tube 46 by means of a nut 98. A cap 100 extends over the top of center tube 46 in order to protect vent channels 99 from food particles. As may be seen, hanger 96 has an aperture 102 located at an upper portion thereof to facilitate hanging of the bird feeder.

    [0030] In operation, when a certain predetermined weight is present on shroud 12, the shroud will cause base 68 to move downwardly. In turn, the movement of shroud 12 will misalign the openings 26 with wire mesh 58 to deny access to the contents of feed container 42. The amount of weight required to do the same can be adjusted by means of dial 80 which will rotate center rod 74 and thereby adjust the tension on spring 86.

    [0031] The feeder described above has several advantages. The feed container has a solid and transparent upper level to protect the feed from water with a lower section with openings so that the feed is exposed to be eaten by the birds. Only the lower section exposes a small amount of food to the elements which is quickly consumed and replaced by dry food.

    [0032] The feeder is provided with ventilation so that hot air and humidity may escape from the top.

    [0033] It will be noted that the base rotates freely so as not to change the adjustment setting for the spring. Thus, if it did not rotate freely, it would engage the central rod and change the adjustment setting. When birds land and take off, they tend to impart a rotational force on the shroud. The mounting of the base on a round portion 75 of the center portion allows for this rotation.

    [0034] It is important that friction be minimized in the structure. Thus, the shape of the spring at both ends keeps the spring axis centered with respect to the axis of the center rod to minimize friction between the spring and the center rod. The center rod has a cruciform profile to minimize surface contact with the spring.

    [0035] It will be understood that the above described embodiment is for purposes of illustration only and that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention defined by the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A bird feeder (10) comprising:

    a feed container (42) having a side wall (44), a plurality of feed openings in said side wall (44);

    a shroud (12) extending about said feed container (42), said shroud (12) having feed openings (26) therein, said feed openings being located between a bottom of said shroud (12) and a top of said shroud (12), said feed openings being spaced from said top of said shroud (12) by a distance equal to between 20% and 80% of the total height of said shroud (12);

    a cover (28) secured to an upper portion (14) of said shroud (12);

    a base (68), a center tube (46), and a center rod (74) within said center tube (46), said center rod (74) being secured to said base (68), said shroud (12) resting on said base (68);

    a spring (86) mounted about said center rod (74), said spring (86) being biased at an upper end against an upper movable stopper (90) secured to said center rod (74), said spring (86) being biased at a lower end against a fixed stopper (88) secured to said center tube (46); and

    the arrangement being such that said feed openings in said shroud (12) and feed openings in said side wall of said feed container (42) are normally aligned to permit access to feed within the container, said feed openings of said shroud (12) moving out of alignment with said feed openings in said side wall when a predetermined weight is present on said shroud (12) or cover (28),

    wherein said feed container (42) has an outwardly sloping bottom wall (56) to direct feed to said feed openings in said side wall (44);

    characterized in that an upper portion of said center rod (74) is threaded, that a non-rotatable nut forms said upper movable stopper; and that said center tube (46) has vertical grooves (49) formed on an interior side wherein said nut has flanges fitting within said grooves to prevent rotational movement of said nut and permit vertical movement of said nut.


     
    2. The bird feeder (10) of Claim 1 wherein an upper portion of said feed container (42) is formed of a transparent material.
     
    3. The bird feeder (10) of Claim 1 further including a dial (80) secured to said center rod (74), said dial (80) being located exteriorly of said base (68) to thereby permit rotation of said center rod (74) by rotation of said dial (80).
     
    4. The bird feeder (10) of Claim 1 further including a hanger secured to said center tube (46), said hanger extending through an aperture in said cover (28).
     
    5. The bird feeder (10) of Claim 1 wherein said openings in said side wall comprise a metal mesh extending between said base (68) and said side wall.
     
    6. The bird feeder (10) of Claim 1 wherein said feed container (42) is secured to said center tube (46) by means of a plurality of vertically extending flanges extending between said side wall and said center tube (46).
     
    7. The bird feeder (10) of Claim 6 wherein said shroud (12) is formed of expanded metal.
     
    8. The bird feeder (10) of Claim 1 wherein said feed openings are spaced from a top of said shroud (12) by a distance equal to between 35% and 65% of the total height of said shroud (12).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Vogelfutterhaus (10), umfassend:

    einen Futterbehälter (42) aufweisend eine Seitenwand (44), eine Vielzahl von Futteröffnungen in der Seitenwand (44);

    eine Ummantelung (12), die sich um den Futterbehälter (42) erstreckt, wobei die Ummantelung (12) Futteröffnungen (26) darin aufweist, wobei die Futteröffnungen zwischen einer Unterseite der Ummantelung (12) und einer Oberseite der Ummantelung (12) angeordnet sind, wobei die Futteröffnungen von der Oberseite der Ummantelung (12) um einen Abstand beabstandet sind, der zwischen 20 % und 80 % der Gesamthöhe der Ummantelung (12) entspricht;

    eine Abdeckung (28), die an einem oberen Abschnitt (14) der Ummantelung (12) befestigt ist;

    eine Basis (68), eine mittlere Röhre (46) und eine Mittelstange (74) in der mittleren Röhre (46), wobei die Mittelstange (74) an der Basis (68) befestigt ist, wobei die Ummantelung (12) auf der Basis (68) ruht;

    eine Feder (86), die um die Mittelstange (74) montiert ist, wobei die Feder (86) an einem oberen Ende gegen einen oberen bewegbaren Stopper (90) vorgespannt ist, der an der Mittelstange (74) befestigt ist, wobei die Feder (86) an einem unteren Ende gegen einen festen Stopper (88) vorgespannt ist, der an der mittleren Röhre (46) befestigt ist;

    wobei die Anordnung derart ist, dass die Futteröffnungen in der Ummantelung (12) und die Futteröffnungen in der Seitenwand des Futterbehälters (42) normalerweise fluchtend ausgerichtet sind, um Zugang zum Futter in dem Behälter zu gewähren,

    wobei sich die Futteröffnungen der Ummantelung (12) aus der Fluchtung mit den Futteröffnungen in der Seitenwand (44) bewegen, wenn ein vorbestimmtes Gewicht an der Ummantelung (12) oder Abdeckung (28) vorherrscht,

    wobei der Futterbehälter (42) eine nach außen geneigte Bodenwand (56) aufweist, um Futter zu den Futteröffnungen in der Seitenwand (44) zu leiten;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass ein oberer Abschnitt der Mittelstange (74) ein Gewinde aufweist, dass eine nichtdrehbare Mutter den oberen bewegbaren Stopper bildet, und dass die mittlere Röhre (46) vertikale Rillen (49) aufweist, die an einer Innenseite ausgebildet sind, wobei die Mutter Flansche aufweist, die in die Rillen passen, um eine Drehbewegung der Mutter zu verhindern und eine vertikale Bewegung der Mutter zu gestatten.


     
    2. Vogelfutterhaus (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei ein oberer Abschnitt des Futterbehälters (42) aus einem transparenten Material gebildet ist.
     
    3. Vogelfutterhaus (10) nach Anspruch 1, ferner aufweisend eine Drehscheibe (80), die an der Mittelstange (74) befestigt ist, wobei die Drehscheibe (80) außerhalb der Basis (68) angeordnet ist, um dadurch eine Drehung der Mittelstange (74) durch Drehung der Drehscheibe (80) zu gestatten.
     
    4. Vogelfutterhaus (10) nach Anspruch 1, ferner aufweisend einen Aufhänger, der an der mittleren Röhre (46) befestigt ist, wobei der Aufhänger sich durch ein Loch in der Abdeckung (28) erstreckt.
     
    5. Vogelfutterhaus (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Öffnungen in der Seitenwand ein Metallgitter umfassen, das sich zwischen der Basis (68) und der Seitenwand erstreckt.
     
    6. Vogelfutterhaus (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Futterbehälter (42) an der mittleren Röhre (46) mittels einer Vielzahl von sich vertikal erstreckenden Flanschen befestigt ist, wobei sich die Flansche zwischen der Seitenwand und der mittleren Röhre (46) erstrecken.
     
    7. Vogelfutterhaus (10) nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Ummantelung (12) aus Streckmetall ausgebildet ist.
     
    8. Vogelfutterhaus (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Futteröffnungen von einer Oberseite der Ummantelung (12) um einen Abstand beabstandet sind, der zwischen 35 % und 65 % der Gesamthöhe der Ummantelung (12) entspricht.
     


    Revendications

    1. Mangeoire pour oiseaux (10) comprenant :

    un récipient d'alimentation (42) comportant une paroi latérale (44), une pluralité d'ouvertures d'alimentation dans ladite paroi latérale (44) ;

    une enveloppe (12) s'étendant autour dudit récipient d'alimentation (42), ladite enveloppe (12) comportant des ouvertures d'alimentation (26) dans celle-ci, lesdites ouvertures d'alimentation étant situées entre un fond de ladite enveloppe (12) et un dessus de ladite enveloppe (12), lesdites ouvertures d'alimentation étant espacées dudit dessus de ladite enveloppe (12) selon une distance comprise entre 20 % et 80 % de la hauteur totale de ladite enveloppe (12) ;

    un couvercle (28) fixé à une partie supérieure (14) de ladite enveloppe (12) ;

    une base (68), un tube central (46) et une tige centrale (74) à l'intérieur dudit tube central (46), ladite tige centrale (74) étant fixée à ladite base (68), ladite enveloppe (12) reposant sur ladite base (68) ;

    un ressort (86) monté autour de ladite tige centrale (74), ledit ressort (86) étant sollicité à une extrémité supérieure contre une butée mobile supérieure (90) fixée à ladite tige centrale (74), ledit ressort (86) étant sollicité à une extrémité inférieure contre une butée fixe (88) fixée audit tube central (46) ;

    l'agencement étant tel que lesdites ouvertures d'alimentation dans ladite enveloppe (12) et lesdites ouvertures d'alimentation dans ladite paroi latérale dudit récipient d'alimentation (42) sont normalement alignées pour permettre l'accès à la nourriture à l'intérieur du récipient, lesdites ouvertures d'alimentation de ladite enveloppe (12) se déplaçant hors de l'alignement avec lesdites ouvertures d'alimentation dans ladite paroi latérale (44) lorsqu'un poids prédéterminé est présent sur ladite enveloppe (12) ou ledit couvercle (28),

    dans laquelle ledit récipient d'alimentation (42) comporte une paroi inférieure inclinée vers l'extérieur (56) pour diriger de la nourriture vers lesdites ouvertures d'alimentation dans ladite paroi latérale (44) ;

    caractérisée en ce qu'une partie supérieure de ladite tige centrale (74) est filetée, en ce qu'un écrou non rotatif forme ladite butée mobile supérieure ; et en ce que ledit tube central (46) comporte des rainures verticales (49) formées sur un côté intérieur sur lequel ledit écrou comporte des rebords s'ajustant dans lesdites rainures pour empêcher un mouvement de rotation dudit écrou et permettre un mouvement vertical dudit écrou.


     
    2. Mangeoire pour oiseaux (10) selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle une partie supérieure dudit récipient d'alimentation (42) est constituée d'un matériau transparent.
     
    3. Mangeoire pour oiseaux (10) selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un cadran (80) fixé à ladite tige centrale (74), ledit cadran (80) étant situé à l'extérieur de ladite base (68) pour ainsi permettre la rotation de ladite tige centrale (74) avec la rotation dudit cadran (80).
     
    4. Mangeoire pour oiseaux (10) selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre une suspension fixée audit tube central (46), ladite suspension s'étendant à travers une ouverture dans ledit couvercle (28).
     
    5. Mangeoire pour oiseaux (10) selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle lesdites ouvertures dans ladite paroi latérale comprend un treillis métallique s'étendant entre ladite base (68) et ladite paroi latérale.
     
    6. Mangeoire pour oiseaux (10) selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle ledit récipient d'alimentation (42) est fixé audit tube central (46) à l'aide d'une pluralité de rebords s'étendant verticalement entre ladite paroi latérale et ledit tube central (46).
     
    7. Mangeoire pour oiseaux (10) selon la revendication 6, dans laquelle ladite enveloppe (12) est constitué d'un métal expansé.
     
    8. Mangeoire pour oiseaux (10) selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle lesdites ouvertures d'alimentation sont espacées d'un dessus de ladite enveloppe (12) selon une distance comprise entre 35 % et 65 % de la hauteur totale de ladite enveloppe (12).
     




    Drawing







































    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description