We ended up getting together with my side of the family on New Year's Day, which left me in a panic of handmade-Christmas-gift-making in the week after Christmas. I made the Jayne Hat and Pockets Apron for my brother-in-law and sister, but the day before we left home, I was still coming up short on the perfect gift for my dad.
At about 2pm on January 30, Julian said, "We should make your dad a birdhouse." He had just received the Audubon Birdhouse Book as a gift from his parent's for Christmas, so it was naturally in the forefront of his mind. He's always thinking and getting me out of my tight spots. That's why I keep him around.
So with another trip to Lowe's we were off and running. For the effort, it is just as easy to make two or three houses while the tools are all out, so we made another one for Julian's dad to show our gratitude for the book.
We chose the X Box, which is a birdhouse plan that is supposed to be optimal for bluebirds. It took us about three hours to make two bird houses from start to first-coat. We used a solid colored deck stain to preserve the wood, in a light color like the book recommends. The house is mounted on a piece of rebar with metal conduit slipped over the top.
With a second coat of deck stain applied in the morning, we were ready to go! I think both dads appreciated their nest boxes and I look forward to seeing what else appreciates them come spring.
Book review of Audubon Birdhouse Book
The book doesn't have many original bird house plans and some of the plans it shows have confusing instructions that skip steps. When we googled the plans, we found that these mistakes were made in the original plans for each birdhouse, so not necessarily the fault of the book but t was clear that the person who made the birdhouse for the photos was not working in concert with the person who was writing the text.
What the book is excellent for it showing the need to provide habit for cavity dwelling birds and the responsibility of being a good steward if you do. For example, it is a waste of effort and contrary to your goal to put up a birdhouse without considering the predators that may consider it a snack bar. Likewise, by building the nest boxes very specific ways and positioning them accordingly, we can play favorites among the desirable birds while discouraging our non-native, nuisance species.
Power tools are not completely necessary for building these plans but are much more helpful and the book assumes you have access to items such as a power drill and a table saw.