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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Ed’s Many Hats – I’m Back: Bluebird, Wren & Owl houses


Since I was a young lad growing up on a farm in rural Alabama I’ve been in love with birds. We had a lot of bluebirds, so naturally they became my favorites. I always wanted to build houses for them, but because of the lack of resources, tools and farm chores, I never had the opportunity.

One year a nearby farmer planted some gourd seeds and I watched them grow all summer. All the while imagining what perfect bird houses they might become. When it was time to harvest the gourds I asked to help. In return, I got six of them as pay.

When I got my beautiful prizes home, I cut 2-inch round holes and cleaned all the seeds out. With hay bailing wire I attached them to a 6 -foot 2 X 2 board. I then climbed a pine tree, pulled the contraption up to about the 15-foot level and nailed it to the tree likes a cross. It was beautiful! All I had to do now was wait for the bluebirds to move in.

To my amazement, no bluebirds came calling. Instead, my bluebird houses attracted purple martins. Many, many purple martins. They were new to me, but I soon learned to love the way they swarmed around and around the gourds.

Recently I again got the itch to build bluebird houses. I bought a book online on how to build them. I then bought a miter saw, cedar boards, screws and a bluebird house to use as a model. I was raring to go by this time.

Gearing up to start building, Kathy asked me what I was going to do with all the houses. When I told her that I would put a house in every tree on our property she rolled her eyes and said, “Get real, Ed.” I got real and told her that I would give them to my friends. She wondered if my friends really wanted birdhouses.

My first thought was give my first house to my grandson TT; he doesn’t like anything!. I enclosed a note saying “It took me 76 years to build this birdhouse.” After getting the house TT thanked me politely and went back playing games on his computer. My second thought was to make one for my sister, Christeen. She loves everything, and her enthusiasm would fuel my passion. As it’s turned out, I’ve made three for her.

Overall, I’ve made 20 bluebird houses, three owl houses and a few wrens shacks. I’ve sent them to special friends all across the country who I thought might appreciate my love for birds, and I’ve gotten wonderful feedback. I especially loved Andrea Bobosky’s family comments, as I did from everyone that said, “It’s the most beautiful birdhouse I’ve ever seen.” I even sent one to a relative who no longer likes me. He didn’t send it back, so I hope he appreciated the gesture.

The saw has been put away temporarily while I figure out what my cost has been so far. The raw cost of equipment and materials is easy to calculate. Labor and shipping is tougher. The best figure I could come up with for each birdhouse so far is $506.32 plus tax. I’m still taking orders.

Ed Channell
Ed Channell
Ed Channell has served on many boards, foundations and fundraising campaigns during more than 50 years in Naperville—and he loves feedback. Give it to him at echannell1@gmail.com.