A visit to almost any home or garden center presents birders with numerous cute and colorful contraptions that are sold as bird homes. But the fact is, many of these products provide anything but a safe refuge for your feathered friends.
Produced in association with the National Audubon Society, Audubon Birdhouse Book explains how to build and place functional DIY bird homes that are safe and appropriate for more than 20 classic North American species, from wrens to raptors. Each of the easy-to-build boxes and shelves within is accompanied by cut lists, specially created line diagrams, and step-by-step photography, making the projects accessible to those with even the most rudimentary woodworking skills. In addition, this practical and beautifully presented guide is packed with color photography and information about the bird species coveredincluding titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, phoebes, swallows, waterfowl, and even kestrels and owlsto help the reader properly place and maintain the homes to attract birds. And because these projects are the product of years of experience and field-testing, you can be sure youre getting the best advice regarding proper design, safe construction materials, and correct home placement to mitigate exposure to elements, pests, and predators. Finally, beyond the birdhouses, youll find out how you can contribute to the larger birding community and even enhance your birding experience with the aid of new technologies.
Margaret A. Barker is a writer and educator in the Chesapeake Bay region. Following a broadcast journalism career in the Southeast, she received a master's degree in environmental education. She served as coordinator of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Project FeederWatch for six years and later managed the Kids Growing Food school garden program for Cornell's Department of Education. She wrote the "Backyard Birding" column for the Ithaca Journal newspaper for seven years and co-authored (with Jack Griggs) The FeederWatcher's Guide to Bird Feeding (HarperCollins, 2000). Her work has appeared in publications such as Birder's World and Bird Watcher's DigestElissa Wolfson is a freelance writer and editor for a variety of science, environmental, botanical, ornithological, and animal-related publications. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Cornell University, she worked as an environmental educator for nearly a decade prior to receiving a master's from Montclair State College and transitioning into environmental journalism. Editorial clients have included the National Audubon Society, Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology, and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is the author of the book 101 Cool Games for Cool Cats and a former editor at E: The Environmental Magazine and Cornell Plantations, the botanical garden of Cornell University.Chris Willett is a craftsman and contractor in upstate New York, specializing in green building techniques, energy efficiency, and solar technologies. His academic work in environmental studies has included researching the effects of avian malaria on native Hawaiian bird populations, working to protect and preserve the endangered Marianas Crow's habitat in the Northern Marianas Islands, and banding raptors throughout New York State. He is currently developing a new business, Bird Brain Bungalows, in order to create ecologically sound, creative, and efficient habitats and homes for many avian species as well as flying mammals and honey bees.Stephen Kress, author of The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds, is vice-president for bird conservation for the National Audubon Society and director of the Hog Island Audubon Camp. He also teaches a popular birding course at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. As director of Audubon's Project Puffin, he has restored puffins and other rare and endangered seabirds to islands on the Maine coast and other locations worldwide. Taking his interest in bird restoration to backyards and larger habitats, he has developed methods for creating bird-friendly habitats using nest boxes made with native plants.
"North American native birds are picky homeowners. Barker (coauthor, The Feeder Watchers Guide to Bird Feeding) and freelance writer Wolfson present a useful guide perfect for backyard bird watchers. The book starts with historical content on invasive species, introduced predators, and habitat loss. In addition, readers will find territory maps and material on bird food sources and identification. These projects cover all skill levels and are enhanced by wonderful illustrations. Contributor Chris Willett, a carpenter, provides clear blueprints with exploded views and detailed cut lists. LikeBirdhouses You Can Build in a Day, this informative volume tailors designs to specific species. However, what sets this work apart is the inclusion of research and scientific study results on what makes a home suitable for a particular type of bird. VERDICT The designs here are for enthusiasts who prefer to serve the needs of the birds rather than human aesthetics. This well-organized and meticulously researched book is a winner." - Library Journal