Today I took my daughter to the 12th Annual Birdhouse Competition at The JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC. The entries ranged from whimsical "flights of fancy", to houses made from recycled materials, to expertly-crafted specimens of miniature architecture. It was a fun and inspirational event and a great excuse to get out of the house, check out some unique bird house creations (made by children as well as adults), and then enjoy the lovely surrounding gardens.
Here are photos of just a small sampling of the houses on display; I hope that they will inspire and delight you.
In the "Serious" category, I loved the mix of woods on this beautifully made house titled "Bird and Batten". It was made by Patrick Fullwood from weathered redwood, alder, reclaimed antique heart pine, and Long Leaf pine wood. [Update: this house won first place in the "Adult Serious" category.]
The eco-roof on this contemporary birdhouse was a nice, green touch.
"Rapunzel's Nest", a ceramic birdhouse, was my daughter's favorite. Each contest visitor was given a penny to use to vote for his or her favorite house (you can see plastic cups full of voting coins next to the houses in some of the photos). At the mere mention of the word "Rapunzel", my daughter emphatically dropped her penny into the cup next to this bird house.
I loved the look of this "clam shack" birdhouse. [Update: This house was made by Beth Greene, and it won second place in the "Adult Flights of Fancy" category.]
This house, called "Road Home", used maps and upcycled license plate shingles to emphasize the travel theme.
There were several birdhouses shaped like musical instruments.
This creative house made from repurposed vinyl records was one of my favorites.
Look closely at the song title for a laugh.
This rustic house, which looked to be made from a hollowed-out piece of tree trunk, caught our attention as well--talk about a place where a bird would feel right at home!
This whimsical, "multi-family", martin village was one of the larger entries. [Update: This was created by Shawn Hobbs, and it won first place in the "Adult Flights of Fancy" category.]
And this irreverent family of "Potheads" gave visitors a chuckle.
Here's a detail of "Cover Girl"--her eyelashes were made from nails (oddly, her pupils were not dilated).
This unique space shuttle birdhouse was also from the "Flights of Fancy" category.
Entries in the childrens' categories were impressive and diverse.
Lucy Overman won third place in the "Children 7 to 9" category for this "Magic Tree House" bird house, inspired by the book series:
Here's a house made from a recycled basketball made by a child in the 7 to 9 age group.
A wine box was cleverly re-purposed into a birdhouse by another child aged 7 to 9.
Plastic bottles and test tubes were repurposed to create this rocket birdhouse by Vincent Lorelle, who won 3rd place in the "Children 4 to 6" category.
Another, in the 7 to 9 age group, used a plastic bottle and aluminum cans to create this mysterious, whimsical creature.
This refashioned paint bucket turned out nicely (child aged 7 to 9).
Anna Brown won first place in the "Children 10-12" category for this scene sharing her view of school.
Celia Boldizar won second place in the "Children 10 to 12" category with this art-themed house from a paint can and palette (note the dangling paint "drips").
One 7 to 9 year old did a nice job of "fancying up" a milk carton.
"Feathered Fun House", by Hadley Brickman, won 2nd in the "Children 7 to 9" category and Best-of-Theme Award.
As I mentioned before, this is just a small sampling of the many wonderful houses on display. The birdhouses will be on display through tomorrow (Sunday, 4/15/12). If you live in the Raleigh area and this post has whet your appetite for birdhouses, please click here for more information about the Annual Birdhouse Competition.
Do you have any unique birdhouses in your own back yard? Please feel free to share in the comments: