I need an indoor project when its cold outside. Last year, my indoor project was a pump house so large that I was barely able to extract it from my shop. I set my sites at a lower multiplier this year and went for what is basically a bird house, but for multiple birds. This is project warming house.
First off, a bird house should probably be installed prior to winter so the birds can locate it and set up shop. However, I wouldn’t let that stop me from setting up some low-income aviary housing even if it was mid-winter. The house I made is designed especially to provide quick shelter for chickadees. I always figure the smaller an animal is, the more protection it needs; this would be a worthwhile project.
The warming house is just a box, so I won’t drown this column in endless detail. I believe the plans were something I used from 4-H when I was young. The house is six inches wide square and nine inches tall, however make one side a little longer so you have something to drive a nail through and into a post or tree. My research has shown me that the size of the hole is pretty important; it keeps big birds out yet is inviting to the chickadees. That said, the hole was supposed to be 1 ¾ inches in diameter but the nearest hole bit I had was 1 5/8 so I allowed myself this much. This isn’t a house made for permanent residence so drill the hole at the bottom of the front façade. The purpose of a warming house is that several birds may gather and perch away from the wind. I made three internal perches by drilling holes about every two inches on each sidewall and offset the middle set to take advantage of every bit of space. I then used a small wooden dowel to span the area between the holes to create internal seating space. I used pine because redwood is expensive and protected the exterior with a little spray-on sealant.
Warming house in place, I believe a person should make a nice environment for it’s visitors. Lisa saves any fat drippings in a bowl which we then leave outside for suet. Uncle Larry made a simple feeder for us by drilling large holes into a branch which we fill with peanut butter. I clean corn for our stove and spread the gleanings for the pigeons and squirrels. We don’t own any expensive feeders as the three dollar plastic ones work great and leave us more money to purchase bird food. Thistle seed is horribly expensive but I’ve found the wreaths that are made from pressed thistle seed last a long time plus they include a hanger and so serve as their own feeder. They seem to be a much better deal than the long plastic tubes.
So there’s a good project that does good for others. I used to build so many of these when I was a kid that my brother thought I was doing it for therapy. You don’t have to be crazy to build a warming house, just crazy about birds.