Many patrons have enjoyed our ongoing series, Scrap Crafts.  In this program we utilize numerous books from our nonfiction section to create and explore accessible art and handicrafts. As we all stay at home we have continued this series virtually and will occasionally post tutorial posts so that you too can use to try out a new skill.

 

Project: Transparent Bird House

Description: Build a birdhouse that can be hung on a window out of found objects. This birdhouse has a transparent back so that you can watch baby birds being born in your window.

Materials To Gather:

  • Scissors
  • A clear piece of plastic
    • Often this can be created from a  clear plastic container like a spinach container or a 2 liter bottle, that can be cut with those scissors. When in doubt, bring a few to examine.
  • Bendable grass or twigs
    • Ideally you would want to use green tree prunings or grape vines that could bend easily into a U shape. You want to look for newer growth and small diameters. Willow is ideal, but many other woody plants will work.
    • Fresh long grass will also work well for this project. Some dried grass will have bendable tops that can also be used.
    • If you find a bunch of dried grass try soaking it to see if you can get it to bed after it is wet. This works for many types of materials.
  • Scissors
  • A clear piece of plastic
    • Often this can be created from a  clear plastic container like a spinach container or a 2 liter bottle, that can be cut with those scissors. When in doubt, bring a few to examine.
  • Bendable grass or twigs
    • Ideally you would want to use green tree prunings or grape vines that could bend easily into a U shape. You want to look for newer growth and small diameters. Willow is ideal, but many other woody plants will work.
    • Fresh long grass will also work well for this project. Some dried grass will have bendable tops that can also be used.
    • If you find a bunch of dried grass try soaking it to see if you can get it to bed after it is wet. This works for many types of materials.

Instructions:

  • Make the transparent back by cutting a piece of flat plastic out from a found bin. Use your scissors to cut holes around the edges of this piece. This will be your window into the bird’s home. This is the part of the bird home that will be up against your window.

 

  • Create a structure to the house using stiffer sticks that are large enough to bend without breaking but will stand up. Leave room for an entrance hole. I usually use at least three and often more.

  • Weave straw or bendable sticks between the wooden frame. When you get frustrated, think like a bird. They do this over days, one stick at a time with a beak. If you’re moving faster than them, you’re doing well. Try out basketry variations or weave the straw into braids for some extra fancy decoration.
  • Not feeling like having the patience the patience of weaver or braid-maker extraordinaire? Bend bundles of straw into Us and layer them so they cover the top (an upside down U) and bottom (a normal U). This allows you to create a structure with a central hole that does the basics of what the house must: keep off the rain and keep the eggs from falling out. Don’t worry, the bird parents will correct your mistakes.
  • Be sure to keep the opening large enough so that the correct type of bird can find your home. Massachusetts Audubon has a good guide to these bird house holes. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, just see what bird shows up to the creation you make!
  • Once you feel you have a sturdy enough home for a bird family to adapt and make their own, stop and let your grass dry. Be sure to do this in an area where local birds cannot disturb your creation. We have had one grabbed, lost part in a tree and pecked apart for our prime materials.

Placement:

When finished hang your bird house on a window that will not be disturbed. We have found that bedroom windows work well. You can visit the birds, but you won’t disturb the babies. Be warned however that hungry babies may disturb you in the morning, so don’t do this if you like to sleep in.

Enjoy!