In this review, I want to point out the pros and cons of this decorative hand-made large birdhouse from Home Bazaar., and answer some questions regarding this item.
Large Decorative Birdhouse / Clubhouse
This decor birdhouse is designed and built to resemble a house, but not any old house. The style wouldn’t look out of place in a Southern garden, but let’s not restrict where this birdhouse could go–it will look good in most garden settings. The house itself is fashioned in what could be called the “Antebellum style approach to avian architecture” or something to that effect! Think “Gone with the Wind” for birds. Ornamental details have not been spared, from the roof shingles and the cupola to the wrap-around verandas on both floors. There are even two chimneys, not that feathered residents would be wanting to start a fire inside, but it looks great.
And I think this is the strongest point in favor of this birdhouse–it is a handsome ornamental piece. Really it’s a house made for people who love gardens and unusual details. It is not uniquely made for birds to nest in, but is also a charming addition to the well-considered garden.
A Collector’s Piece
If you love conversation pieces and quirky handmade decor and garden accents, you might really like this uniquely crafted and unusual birdhouse. You won’t see many others like it. And for the details and styling–and the fact that it is a handmade piece–the price is right. I would consider it closer to the realm of folk art than practical bird housing, however. Not that it won’t be used by birds–more on that further on–but it truly is a collector’s piece.
Collecting beautiful handmade bird houses is catching on, just as some like to collect doll houses or garden gnomes, or rustic garden furniture. This handmade birdhouse is in the collection category. I realize there are those who will seek out a piece like this for their collection, even if the only bird it ever sees will be the one coming out of the cuckoo clock on the mantel. For those, I say enjoy, it is, in my opinion, a good value and fun piece, besides being quite attractive. It would look great in a sun room or solarium, or even an aviary with finches and canaries.
But Should I Put it Outdoors?
Perhaps you are considering this birdhouse as a garden accent or even wish to buy it in hope of providing nesting space for birds. You wish to place it outdoors. I have some special advice for would-be buyers in this category.
Certainly it will draw attention as a gorgeous accent, in a garden or in a garden room. I do say garden room, or outdoor room, because this piece might need protection from the elements to maintain the appearance. It is not going to stand a lot of rough weather and stay looking as good as day one.
Consider this, would you take a pretty handmade dollhouse and stick it outside year-round to be battered by the elements? It will not stand up to that kind of abuse from mother nature! However, if you shelter it in a kind of garden room, with protection from the worst of the winds and the rains, it should stand up. Even so, it would be best if you only placed it outside in the summer season. Just as you deal with your patio furniture, your barbecue, your baskets and pillows. Yes, they can stand up to some summer weather. But you certainly don’t leave those out in the winter storms! Else they will be wrecked and beaten up.
The same applies to this cute birdhouse.
Construction Details Say Quality
That said, the construction materials are quality, with pine shingles and exterior-grade plywood chosen to withstand a certain measure of outdoors treatment. Everything is painted, and the maker takes pains to let us know that no toxic materials are used, because they are actually preparing this item for residents! The house itself will stand a beating, but if you don’t take care of it, if you leave it out year-round, some of the detailing will start to deteriorate. This is only common sense, with all the details on this crafted item. It might not fall apart in it’s basic structure, but to keep it looking good, and maintain the decorative features, you will have to use common sense.
If you just want pure functionality, go for a much simpler design in a birdhouse! Get a square box-style birdhouse, apply two coats of paint, mount it on a pole and that should do it. Functional and simple! But that is not what the decor birdhouse is about.
Eye-Catching in the Garden
The reason to acquire and display an unusual item such as the decorative mansion-style birdhouse featured, is that it looks good, isn’t it? It is designed and built to catch the eye, to be pleasing in appearance and to give a certain flair to your outdoor garden decor. So make the most of it and put a little thought and planning into where and how you will display your collector’s birdhouse.
First of all, you want it to be seen. But sometimes a quaint ornament such as this decor birdhouse really speaks when you place it where it can be “happened upon” by someone strolling in the garden, or just around the bend of a path. As an unexpected and pleasant surprise, it will catch the eye.
Keep in mind before you purchase, that though the design is as if it were a mansion, it is not a large item. It measures about a foot in either direction. Knowing this will help you plan where to place it, as it’s not going to take up a lot of space.
If you want to place the decor birdhouse in your garden, I recommend that you place it out of the way of prevailing winds in your area. Choose a sheltered place, maybe near a wall, an outbuilding, or even a hedge. As mentioned, it can even be placed in an outdoor room. You can site it within a garden feature which will give some protection from the sun and rain as well, such as in an outdoor deck with a roof, or on the veranda of your house. I could also see it looking smashing under a freestanding arbor or trellis feature.
Site Considerations for Birds
One trick on siting a birdhouse, is to not have the entrance hole face into prevailing winds. This is for consideration of the birds who might use it. Similarly, if placed in full sun, the hole should probably not be facing South, as this can seriously overheat a birdhouse. Although with a nice roof and overhang feature such as this one has, it might be less of a problem. Consider your location and the heat you experience during the summer months, and consider a shady tree spot for placement.
Another thing to consider, don’t place the house near windows where birds will be in danger of collisions with the glass. This is a serious problem and causes many bird deaths each year. Birds cannot tell the difference between real sky and the image of sky reflected in glass! A solution is needed there. Same applies for glass or plexiglass wind barriers on a veranda. I really don’t recommend those for this one reason–they kill a lot of birds who just try and fly right through them!
And let’s not forget cats! Cats will try and capture your feathered guests! Don’t invite them to a hotel where there is a furry feline vampire haunting the premises. It’s just not fair to the birds. Keep Kitty inside, and discourage other prowling visitors by using some of the tips we mention.
But Will Birds Actually Use It?
Now let’s get to the practicalities of this birdhouse as an actual nesting house for birds! Can it serve that function? Yes it can. The entrance hole is 1.25 inches in diameter, which makes it a good size for many songbirds who would be looking to use a nest box, such as Eastern and Western Bluebirds, Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers, Titmice and Tree Swallows. English Sparrows, or Town Sparrows as they are sometimes known, might also take up residence. Many folks try and discourage this species as they consider it a competitive pest, however, in some areas this common sparrow is on the wane, and might be more welcomed than in times past. There have been reports of this house being used by the House Finch as well, though I am surprised as the hole would seem a little small for that species.
Keep in mind that particular species have specific needs in nesting boxes, and the inside dimension is one of those. If you aim to attract a specific species, you might need a different birdhouse than this one.
Just like a real house, your decor birdhouse will eventually need a fresh coat of paint. It is made of wood, so your paint store can advise you. Best to go for a non-toxic paint or finish when dealing with birds, you don’t want them to have to deal with fumes and toxic additives, they’ve enough challenges already!
If you do have the joy of seeing your house used by a bird family, don’t forget to clean it out at the end of the season–but make sure all the birds have left the nest before you disturb it! For cleaning, use a mild disinfectant and warm water, and maybe a gentle bristle brush to clean off the build-up, inside or out. Let air-dry and then store your beautiful birdhouse until next season! If you have an indoor place to display it, by all means, do so, and enjoy your collector’s birdhouse year-round, regardless of where you live.