Made in Eastern Iowa: A birdfeeder that feeds birds, foils squirrels

Jeffrey Paulson, of Dubuque, shows off his garage - more of a laboratory and manufacturing...
Jeffrey Paulson, of Dubuque, shows off his garage - more of a laboratory and manufacturing facility - for his inventions through Paulson Products LLC.(KCRG)
Published: Apr. 2, 2018 at 7:23 AM CDT
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Jeffrey Paulson matches his intensity for a product with his ability to talk about the work.

He may even exceed it.

"Right at the same time I got cancer, my wife passed away," Paulson explained. "I thought 'I gotta do something' because when something like that happens, it makes you realize that you’ve gotta get going and that’s when I came up with the bird feeders.”

Educated at Wisconsin-Platteville decades ago, Paulson spent years in California working with NASA. Now he's back in the area, in his home and garage north of Dubuque, along the bluffs of the Mississippi.

As an inventor, he wants to dispel the notion that it's a peaceful existence. Perhaps a bit tortured in the process.

"It’s not great because it goes on forever and I wake up in the middle of the night and say 'I got it!'," said Paulson. "It’s obsessive-compulsive!"

His spiral bird feeder took hours of trial-and-error to reach the perfect balance, such as the tension of the feeder or the space and height of one 3/16" rod that is twisted into the final piece.

"It simulates a branch or a twig for the birds and they love it. I’ve tried it with this tight and with this loose and I get more birds with this thing loose," said Paulson. "This also makes it squirrel-resistant and it goes out here and, after a couple of times, he just leaves it alone. They’re not even interested in it. We tried it with walnuts and they wouldn’t even come near it."

Paulson said he counted thirteen different species of birds outside his kitchen window that hit up his feeder with just grape jelly as the draw.

The process to get the product to the people is its own layer. He said Paulson Products is getting some traction at area Theisens and at Birds Unlimited in Galena along with the area farmers markets.

"If the product doesn’t sell itself, you’ve got no business selling," said Paulson.

He also demonstrated a rib spreader for deer hunters and he's also reaching the point of formulating ideas for snow shovels and staple pullers to remove the pesky staples from the carpet.

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