February is the harshest month in my neck of the woods. Temperatures plummet, snow accumulates, the wind bites your skin and almost everything has a layer of ice on it.
I’m Canadian, it’s par for the course up here and quite frankly I’d miss it if I were in a more temperate climate. Snow and ice can be pretty – if you are inside with a hot drink and a fire going.
But it always gets me to thinking about the poor little birds. Some will hide in hollowed out trees, but most will tough it out tucked in between evergreen branches or dense bushes. Inevitably some will survive and some will die – from cold, from starvation, from life. We could help you know – one little DIY birdhouse at a time?
(Yes, Hubby tells me often that I need to stop humanizing animals (Anthropomorphism) I even think that our dog gets sick of the same flavoured food day after day)
I got surfing on Pinterest and found oodles of gorgeous birdhouses – painted, decorated, embellished, two storey, condos with porches – you name it, it’s out there.
You know me – if there’s a way to make my own, I have to try.
Enter Ana White and her plans for this “$2 DIY Birdhouse” (which really amounts to about $3.50 Cdn).
PLUS – it’s kid-friendly – meaning that they can help to build it with you!
I won’t steal Ana’s tutorial here, but I’ll give you a few tips that I thought were important (click any of the images to be linked directly to Ana White’s plans and tutorial).
- I chose to use cedar. Not pressure or chemical treated wood so as not to harm the birds. Pine will work, but the wood will rot quickly, so your birdhouse might only last a season. In my opinion plain, untreated cedar is your best bet.
- I questioned the use of glue and wood filler on this project. I understand that it gives the birdhouse added strength, but I’m not sure how good it is for the birds to inhale. Having written that, I did use wood glue and a tiny bit of filler (on the roof) to try to keep out drafts. Fingers crossed the birds forgive me.
- Ana’s plans call for a 2″ spade bit to drill the hole in the front of your birdhouse. I only had a 1 1/2″ bit, so I went with what I had. If you hope to protect/attract larger birds you might want to go with a larger hole.
- I chose not to paint ours. While a brightly coloured and patterned DIY birdhouse would certainly brighten up a cold and dreary garden – it would also make it more visible to predators – which hardly seems fair.
Miss Madison and I whipped these out in less than 30 minutes. I cut a third ‘kit’ for Miss Chloe, but she wasn’t in the mood to come and build with us at the time. Once the wood is cut it’s all about hammering in nails – easy-peasy and Maddie loved building with me. (although she was mortified that I took this photo – heaven forbid anyone “cool” see her with sawdust in her hair. lol)
I really like the idea of these as gifts. Perhaps you could pre-cut several DIY birdhouses and use them for goodie bags after a birthday party, or build them as a craft during the party. The kids will have a great time building their own project, and they will have something tangible (and not dollar store garbage) to go home with.
One 5 foot cedar board (1 x 6) made a house and a half, and each board was around $6 – so it’s a really inexpensive project and a great activity for parent-kid time.
My dilemma now is how to get them up into the tree? I could attach a chain and hang them, but I know I’d get seasick with all that rocking and rolling. (Yes, anthropomorphism again – I however, choose to call it “empathy”)
Perhaps an L-bracket and then attach it right to the trunk of the tree? Ana has hers sitting on a fence post, but I have two cats and that just seems cruel somehow.
fun with/for the kids,
and a home for those poor, shivering birds….
We should all make one!
Have a great one!
- Between Naps on the Porch
- Skip to My Lou