2020 Sustainable Birdhouse

Eli Whitney Museum

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Construct a birdhouse of sustainably harvested pine and re-used plywood. Learn the measurements of adapting house to species. Learn to site house for temperature and security. Learn annual recycling. Learn sensible building choices for birds (and people).

We are accustomed to teaching with a model in front of a child, but these instructions should make it so that anyone can build one without our presence. We urge that parents and teachers be there to guide – but to allow the child to try to let the materials (and a picture of the final product) guide them. A wrong direction is always un-doable until you've glued something. We would suggest putting this together (step 1-3) before you glue as a test run.

The Parts. We always use Waterproof Wood Glue (which is best) but if all you have is white glue, well, that will have to do..

Step 1. Find the bottom piece of the birdhouse. Slop some glue into one of the 3/4" wide slots.

Step 2. Push the 1/8" plywood sides into the narrow slots on either side. This may take a little bit of wiggling to do but it will go in. Be sure they are both pushed into the narrow slots fully .

Step 3. Insert the front of the Birdhouse (it has the large hole and the label on it) into the 3/4" slot (don't forget the glue first), and fit the plywood sides into the narrow slots of that piece.

Step 4. Turn the whole thing upside down. Insert the 4 galvanized nails into the 4 SMALL holes which are located about 3/4" from the edges. (The 4 larger holes are for drainage.) The extra nail is...just extra, in case. Hammer the nails flush with the bottom. [NOTE: We always advise using Eye Protection when hammering! For everyone involved.]

Step 5. Turn back upright and take the nylon rope and attach it to the top of the birdhouse as shown here. this will allow you to clean it out when the birds have finished nesting.

Step 6. This should be what it looks like now. Except you may want to color your bird and attach it to the Birdhouse somewhere. You may want to decorate your birdhouse with materials from outside – maybe some straw on the top for the birds to use for their nest, or some sticks. Or you may want to write a message to your new tenants. "Welcome to your new home!"

There is a preferred height that the particular bird likes to have her house noted on the label on the front.

Birdhouse 2020

2020 Birdhouse parts

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4


Step 6

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