Okay. A few people were so impressed with my Avian-House Compendium that I was asked to design one of my own. Now I’ve always been a huge fan of “Go big or go home”, and the addage from Mr. Hadden in Jody Foster’s Contact, “Why build one when you can build two for twice the price?” We must remember that economy of scale works, to a degree, and sometimes bulk-orders matter.
I’ve designed this 8-room bird condo for the purposes of installing it below the eave on my garage. It will be in perfectly plane view from my back deck, the bathroom window, and from the rear door. I will go through the design and setup of these units step-by-step and we can just see how easy it is to assemble it. It could be as few as 7 cuts with a hand saw or circular saw, then the fasteners (Screw, glue or nail), a few holes for entry ways and dowels.
Presto. Time to mount!First off, we have the cut diagram. For this project, you’ll need three widths of 1″ thick milled board, 8″, 10″ and 12″. Now, of course we know that 1″ is never truly 1″, unless you get your wood raw from a lumber yard, so cut away 1/2″ to 1/4″ for each thickness. I’ll provide the precise numbers I’ve used and we’ll see where it takes us. The actual dimensions are 0.75″ (~19mm) thick, by 7.75″ (~196mm), 9.5″ (~241mm) and 11.75″ (~298mm). The closest appropriate stock will be fine, I’m sure, this is just what I can personally get locally and ensure DOES exist. All boards are white-pine and the different boards are colour-coded. The holes can be made with a drill and a jigsaw, or a specialty hole-sawing bit for a drill or drill-press. These holes are 1.5″ radius (~38 mm), 3″ (~76mm) Diameter. The dowels shown are 1/2″ (~12.5mm), though anything close will do; they’re blue jays and robins, not condors. The grey boards indicate the walls, all are identical, and dimensions are shown: 9.5″ boards, 8″ (~203mm) small side, 10″ (~254mm) roof edge, 11″ (~279.4mm) rear edge. All boards measure no more than 8 feet, so 5 boards, in total, ought to do the trick.
Locally these 5 boards would cost me about $71.00, and it’d be $80.50 with taxes. Not bad for a very, very simple project, only 7 or 8 actual cuts with a saw, 8 holes and some dowels. Give it a shot! Here’s how it assembles: The wider brown boards go on the bottom and back, and the roof on top of the sloping part of the grey wall cut-offs. The green board should have the holes for the birdhouse doors and the peg holes (appropriately sized for the dowels) before you continue the process. You could hinge the lid so you can clean out the nest material each fall/winter, and remove any screws that were used to hang it from the inside rear wall. The walls are 1″ apart, on center, with the ends a little closer together to fit on the full 8″ board.
In the interests of completeness, I’ve got my garage here, with three of these units on it. This will provide subsidized housing for 24 birds, each no bigger than the 3″ (~76mm) hole. You can see that all the bird holes will be visible fro my back deck, and this ought to bolster the bird population in the area. I’ll buy (or build?) some bird feeders to go on or near the bird houses, perhaps in the corners, to lure some of the flappy critters towards their new homes, and over the next year or so we shall see how it turns out. They could easily be taken down over the winter, but I may just secure them REALLY well to the wall and get a secondary board to slide over all the doors, and screw in place. I won’t be around much in the spring, so I want to make this as user-friendly as possible for my wife to enjoy some avian exploits! It can also be fun to paint them wild colours, like the Newfie Townhouses in St. John’s. Who says birds would want to live in drab housing? Would you??
Go on, give it a shot. A great stormy-day project in the garage to build, hang and wait for the sunny weather before installing outside. Who doesn’t love the sweet sound of birds chirping (And the dogs going hysterical at the birds chirping) in the morning?