Birdhouses…. in Your Soul

Birdhouses – Designs

Birdhouses – who knew?  Well, after building custom designed rabbit hutches, I started to look around and realize I had so much leftover material.  I didn’t want to throw it all out or burn it (especially when I have nasty neighbors who called the police stating we were burning manure when I was legally burning leftover wood supplies and hedge clippings), so I thought about making a birdhouse… or two… or three…

Yeah, well.. you can say I got a bit obsessed….  It all happened in about a week’s time.

birdhouse plans

It all started with these two…. aren’t they adorable? Dean and the kids were kinda smirking or laughing at me because they came home and saw my obsessions and the mess all over the kitchen….  “Umm.. those are a little big, don’t you think?”  Yeah, I thought so too but I wasn’t going to say it and confirm my mistake…. hrrmph… “No, they are fine.  They are for bluebirds.”  “Bluebirds aren’t that big!”  “Just shut up… they are cute…”

 

When I got up the next morning and put them on the deck to dry, look who visited!  HAHA!  Now I could shove that in everyone’s faces.  I was right.  The bluebirds loved them and couldn’t wait to check them out!

bluebird birdhouse

The reason I made these birdhouses was because we had an old fence that we took down about 15 years ago.  There were two posts left at both corners of the back property.  With the neighbor back there especially nasty toward us, I thought I would decorate the back area to make it look nicer as a gesture of kindness…. or at least make it look nice when they brought yet another department to visit us to try to make us get rid of our horses.

I think they look really nice back there and even seeing them from our side of the fence, it gives a little colorful interest…. as you can see on this blog post.  I have a theme regarding colors.  The house, chicken coop, and shed are all gray with white and black trim, and the barn is dark red – so everything has to match!


These two came next – I changed the design up a bit so they wouldn’t all look identical… I put them both on our new fence posts.  One, however, I reconfigured, and it now houses a few security cameras to make sure that we can record our horses 24/7 as honestly, after the neighbor ordeal, I have learned not to trust anyone.  With someone having that much hatred built up toward someone who legally has horses on their property, it’s a bit alarming.

It is nice to build birdhouses out of scrap material.  They can be very rustic and birds don’t care, and they make nice outdoor decor.


I couldn’t help myself and had to decorate the back of the chicken coop which faces the other neighbor that joined the original neighbor to complain about us.  Again, just being kind and giving them a nicer view.  (not that there was anything wrong with the view to begin with – we try to keep everything clean and aesthetically nice).

This one I played with prior to attempting an actual purple martin house.  I’ve always wanted a purple martin house so this was my original design that I decided to put on the back of our shed near the barn.  This is not something that a purple martin colony would reside in.  I found that out later as I researched but I hoped that it may draw in the sparrows that would potentially try to take over the real purple martin house.

unique birdhouse

how to build purple martin houseAnd here is the purple martin house, my final creation.  Well, not really, I have owl houses to build for next year!  Told you there is an obsession that surfaced I was not aware of…

I started with lots of scrap wood.  I had no real plan.  I had read that they liked a certain size compartment and that if I made the entry-holes a half circle this size, it would deter other birds.

I just set the wood down and started visualizing and attaching as I saw fit.

Pretty soon, it took shape.  I have vents out the top sides and where you see the entry holes, those areas slide out so I can clean the compartments.

What I learned from my reading was make sure of entry hole size, make sure there is venting of heat out the top in some way, purple martins like white houses best, and get the house 10-15 feet off the ground.


I painted it… and then thought about how I was going to put it up.  It is a very heavy piece.

I love my mitre saw.  Cutting a few 2x4s down and ends at 45 degrees was pretty simple for support.


For the post, I used a method where you take a 4×4 and dig it in the ground and set with some QuickCrete.    Once it is fully dry, you screw in two 2x4s, one on each side of the post in the ground, but higher up.  Then, for the main post, another 4×4, placing a large bolt down the middle through both 2x4s and main post.  This allows a hinge to hoist it up or down for cleaning with just the removal of the bolt (it takes two people to raise and lower).


I absolutely adore this.  I was late on getting this out so we didn’t have a full colony establish itself.  We did have a couple of young purple martins try to take it over but they eventually lost interest so having this ready for early next year, we will see if it can attract a full colony.  As long as it is open and ready by around February (instead of June when I put it up), we should get something established for sure.

One of the reasons I decided to work on attracting purple martins is they do take care of insects rather well.  I read that when they are feeding their young, they can eat up to 30 insects per minute.  purple martin house

None of these cost me anything to make since I used the leftover material I already had except I did have to purchase the 4×4 post, a single large bolt, and QuickCrete.   I’m growing some gourds in my garden this year.  If I have any suitable, I may build on to this, adding gourds painted white.  Apparently purple martins like those as well.  If I get an established colony, I will surely post some interesting closeup shots of their activities with my long lenses.

About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.

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