Up-cycling seems to be a popular word these days, in fact it’s even a trend. The art of re-purposing, recycling and reusing materials and things to make new and useful things. From the artsy perspective, most of it centers around vintage finds, so it’s no wonder new stuff is made to look old and worn. Even designer jeans with their acid washes and holes can fetch a few hundred bucks!
It’s part of what makes these unique birdhouses appealing. But why? First and foremost, you won’t find them stacked on shelves in a huge fulfillment center awaiting mass purchase and shipping! Because they’re handcrafted from scraps and vintage materials, no two are ever even the same. That’s makes them pretty unique right there.
A primitive or folk art design is usually timeless, not a phase that’s here and gone. In fact these houses are actually designed with birds in mind (yes, many designs don’t even take birds into consideration).
Some of the bird-friendly features are:
A screen set above the floor. This makes it easier for mom to construct her nest with less material, it allows circulation and inhibits insect infestations which can be fatal to new hatchlings and nestlings.
Locking door on back for easy clean-out. If nests are not removed after babies have fledged, many birdhouses are deemed useless. Very few birds will re-use an existing nest. Also, removing the nest provides another spot to raise young for those birds who have two or three clutches per year. In fall when nesting is through, the house provides a roosting spot for cold nights, and protection from predators.
Proper ventilation and drainage are important things in the nest box world, and many designs don’t even address the issue. Placement of entrance is a big deal too. The hole should never be at the very bottom where predators have easy access. And the size of the entrance matters as well. When you see little tiny houses with large entries, or huge birdhouses with little tiny entries, well… this makes no sense, and it’s not good for the birds 🙁
This artist is local, which to me is a positive aspect on many levels. These reclaimed materials have been outdoors withstanding elements for a long time, which means they’ll continue to do so over the years. Now that’s good for the environment, good for the local economy, and above all… good for the birds!
In an abandoned parking lot he was spotted selling his wares out of the back of a truck. Due to the sheer height of some his wood birdhouses, it was kinda hard to miss, and pretty obvious something cool was happening. So my friend calls and says “ya gotta come see!” – but I didn’t. It took a few weeks… no months before I actually met up with Karl.
Definitely worth the trip down to Marietta Square to see what was cooking with this artist. Birdhouses all over his place; parts, pieces, iron, wood, metal, you name it and Karl was using it to build his houses. His dog Hoover (who guards all the wares left outdoors) was pretty neat too! Always fascinating to see into the mind’s eye of a creative type, probably because of my own art background.
Working construction part time, the guy comes across some great salvage stuff. Currently clearing a lot that once hosted a real plantation home, he hit pay dirt… the oak boards were almost one hundred years old-and they looked perfect too. At his place, old hardware from doors and other iron parts sat in a big pile, waiting to be reclaimed for a second life.
Wanting to purchase about six wood birdhouses was problematic. – a difficult decision as no two pieces were the same! So I went by their height and closest matching styles. There’s something to be said for using reclaimed materials. In the garden, these vintage style bird homes create a bit of an heirloom atmosphere. Their rustic style is timeless, and oh yeah… these homes are definitely bird-approved too!
Hinged back doors for easy nest removal even have a lock to keep birds safe from predator’s paws. The 1.5-inch entrance is perfect for Eastern bluebirds, downy woodpeckers, Carolina wrens and other small to medium sized songbirds. The house is tall (at 38 inches) but a wire nesting shelf sits a few inches above the floor. This helps reduce blowfly and other pest infestation, greatly increasing the chances for successful broods and healthy fledgelings. The ringing bell is functional too… Karl might just need to start signing his work!
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And by the way, you might like this Texas artist extraordinaire?
Handcrafted wood birdhouses done in reclaimed materials and vintage hardware, no two exactly alike. Meant for the outdoors and feathered friends, they make the perfect nest site and roosting spot for cold nights. Truth be told, most folks prefer to keep them indoors because of their old world beauty, and unusual charm!
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When it comes to housing the birds, just about anything’s possible… as long as it’s a proper nest site. This would include ventilation, drainage, clean-out, adequate floor space, and a decent distance from the entry to the floor in order to protect nestlings. Since one of the most popular trends these days is recycling, the three R’s; recycle, reduce and reuse have spawned some of the most unique and unusual decorative birdhouses.
This Mechanic-Inspired A-frame is handcrafted from barn wood and tin, featuring a genuine spark plug perch, old tools, and a metal predator guard made from… I’m not sure what? But it keeps squirrels and others from enlarging the entrance! Using vintage finds for accents can create wonderful conversation pieces, plus swell nesting spots for feathered friends.
This large, triple compartment church birdhouse is also handcrafted of old barn wood and tin. The vintage iron cross is rich with texture, while the roof lines and windows provide nice detail, it’s even signed by the artist (Jim and Vickie Smith) for 2012. Although it may only host one brood at a time during nesting season, you can bet all compartments will be occupied by resident songbirds on a cold winter night! Even during the off-season, decorative birdhouses are put to good use. They really do make for great roosting spots. Some birds will line their roosts with nest material, while others prefer a bare floor and just gathering for warmth through body heat.
As natural nest cavities slowly disappear with every tree that’s cut down, you can help house the birds in any style that tickles your fancy. From rustic or whimsical, to mod and futuristic, there’s a decorative birdhouse out there for you… and your avian amigos!
Renewable resources are a good thing… and these wood birdhouses are just that! Hand crafted and turned from mango trees, the wood is sturdy and durable. Bright colors and fun shapes provide more than good looks too. These functional wood birdhouses have some nice features your birds (and you) will appreciate.
The distance from entrance to floor is substantial, thus helping to protect nestlings from predators. A simple clean-out on the back wall makes it easy to remove old nests too. Complete with drainage so nests stay dry, these cool birdhouses even come with an innovative iron hanger that lets you mount or hang your house in a snap.
Crafted in NW Thailand, the Mango tree’s life cycle is relatively short at about ten to fifteen years. New trees are planted when these birdhouses are turned from the wood that’s harvested. Even the wood shavings are used in the kiln-drying process, so the entire tree is used by the artisans – making these unique birdhouses quite eco-friendly… and good looking too!