Wild Kingdom Star Jim Fowler Shares Custom-designed Bird Feeder

Catching Up with Wild Kingdom’s Star Jim Fowler: Part 1 

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The moment we met Jim Fowler, our childhood hero and recognizable zoologist, we knew we were in for a treat.

Fowler, a proud man who will forever be known as the star of Wild Kingdom, the longest-running wildlife show on television, brought his trademark safari jacket to meet us, even though it was a warm and balmy day at his home in Rowayton, Connecticut.

For those readers too young to have seen Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Google it, and I guarantee you’ll spend hours watching clips of the show and find yourself mesmerized by the beauty of exotic places and fascinating animals Fowler and his co-host Marlin Perkins profiled.

Wild Kingdom's Jim Fowler and co-host Marlin Perkins
Wild Kingdom’s Jim Fowler and co-host Marlin Perkins

Wild Kingdom increased ecological and environmental awareness in the U.S.

The show’s exciting footage brought the wilds of Africa, the Amazon River, and other exotic locales into the living rooms of millions of viewers every Sunday night.

Fowler and Perkins pioneered a genre that became the precursor to such shows as the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet that we know today.

The Jim Fowler Feeder

As soon as we arrived at Fowler’s home, we were amazed by his incredible bird feeder, made by his hand, placed conveniently in his backyard so he could sit on his veranda and enjoy watching birds just a few feet away.

And sitting just 10 feet from the feeder, feathered friends were unfazed by our presence and kept dropping in for a quick bite.

It must have been Jungle Jim Fowler’s magic touch and ability to tame even the wildest animals.

American Goldfinch visits The Fowler Feeder
American Goldfinch visits The Fowler Feeder

Bird Feeders Attract Attention. And Not Just From Birds

“I get a lot of woodpeckers in here. I had a Red-bellied Woodpecker just a few minutes ago. My biggest problem is that Red-bellied Woodpeckers don’t have a red belly,” says Fowler, laughing with a warm smile.

A sight we’d see and hear a great deal about throughout our visit with him.

We gazed at what he calls the ‘Jim Fowler Feeder,’ a spectacular bird feeder structure that stands 11+ feet tall.

“You wouldn’t believe what comes here,” he says. “I’ve got a groundhog that comes out from over there, a bunch of squirrels and rabbits, and a whole lot of birds.”

He’s proud to see all types of birds visiting the ‘Jim Fowler Feeder’ all morning. Fowler designed and constructed the ‘Jim Fowler Feeder’ entirely made from bamboo because it’s easy to work with and readily accessible.

“I just drill and bolt it, and it’s quite strong.”

Wild Kingston star Jim Fowler discusses The Fowler Feeder and his trick for squirrel-proofing your bird feeder
Wild Kingston star Jim Fowler discusses The Fowler Feeder and his trick for squirrel-proofing your bird feeder

Fowler’s Trick for Squirrel-proofing

The first iteration of Fowler’s feeder was designed to be a hanging feeder with two tunnels for bird feed.

But some clever squirrels quickly made him rethink his design.

“A squirrel got up here and messed it up a little bit. But now I think I have the squirrels licked,” Fowler says, smiling.

He tried many things, including a plexiglass barrier, but none worked.

Fowler even used drain pipes on the legs, and the squirrels climbed right up the pipes.

Then he found his solution to squirrel-proof his feeder.


“I put Vaseline on the top, and now they go up and slide right down. They just don’t know what to do,” he chuckles.He remarks that the Vaseline doesn’t detract from the looks of the design, but it’s slippery for squirrels to climb.

What Birds Require

Fowler says most conventional bird feeders are made of metal that can be hung upside down, but his version is a high-rise platform.

“Being a zoologist and ornithologist, I know what birds require. They need a place to land.”

Conventional feeders are constructed with metal poles, and Fowler says, “That’s tough for birds.”

Fowler’s design includes one large feeding tray, two long tunnels with pipe clamps with low and high lander perches, and a suet feeder hanging from a bamboo post.

Close-up of The Fowler Feeder
Close-up of The Fowler Feeder

He placed branches on top of the feeder to encourage birds to use the limb to descend into the feeder.

“I had a beautiful woodpecker on the feeder, and he keeps going to the suet. The trick is that this design has many landing opportunities, and the birds can come in and land just about anywhere,” he says.

So, heed Jungle Jim Fowler’s advice to attract birds to your feeder and ensure birds have a place to land.
Then, you’ll see a flurry of activity at your bird feeder.

Read part to of Catching Up with Wild Kingdom’s Star Jim Fowler here


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