DIY garden art

DIY Campy bat & bird houses

My Pollinator House Competition Entries

Gardens Buffalo Niagara, along with the Buffalo Architecture Foundation, created a Pollinator House Design Build Competition to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Garden Walk Buffalo and create more awareness for our regional pollinators and their dwindling habitats and numbers.

Always being an overachieving joiner, I made three. Always being cheap, I challenged myself to spend no money on them. I did though. Had to buy some “Big Bird” bright yellow paint for the bat house. That’s not a color I have laying around.

IMG_6286Recycled Bird House

I challenged myself to create a garden birdhouse from items found around my house and garden. The absolute most critical design of any birdhouse is entrance hole size. By keeping birdhouse entrance holes to the proper sizes, the houses will be more attractive and birds will be more likely to raise their families safely and securely. Individual birds may use an entrance hole slightly smaller or larger than the size listed.

At 1.5” round, this birdhouse has the potential to attract Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, Swallows, Titmouse, Nuthatches, and Hairy Woodpeckers. Birds are also specific about distance a house is from the ground:

  • Bluebirds, 5-10 feet
  • Carolina Wren, 6-10 feet
  • Swallow, 10-15 feet
  • Hairy Woodpecker, 12-20 feet

Materials: old fence pickets, antique brass knob set and door knob, terracotta pot, old Ikea lamp and electrical wire.

The Bat House

Not all bats have bat caves. Most live in trees, under bridges, or in old buildings. A bat house should mimic mimics the space between bark and a tree trunk. Bats like tight spaces. They also need it nice and warm for the babies. That’s why the box is painted a dark color. Light netting is stapled to the interior making it more like tree bark and easier for the bats to climb.

Place in an area with lots of sun, at least 15 feet off the ground (to protect against predators); and ideally a water source nearby (so the mother bat doesn’t have to leave her young for too long). Do not mount on a tree, it’s too easy for predators to get them; branches cause obstructions for bats which fly down first, then up, into flight; and it’s too shady from above.

And surely they’ll be attracted to the bat symbol!

The Happy Camper

For birds that enjoy the camping life. The 1’’ hole entrance will attract chickadees and small wrens. Made with scrap lumber and metal flashing.

We had plenty of other entries as well (one came from France!). I’ve added photos below. They re all being donated to an auction to raise money for both Garden Walk Buffalo and the Buffalo Architecture Foundation.

We’ll be displaying them anywhere we’re able throughout the summer, then auctioning them off online in August. Any that do not sell will be donated to community gardens throughout the region.

Look for some, or all, at:

  • Family Fun Day at the Martin House Saturday, June 8
  • Doors Open Buffalo  Buffalo Architecture Foundation tent at the headquarters, June 14
  • The Garden Walk Buffalo Rally Party for gardeners, Saturday, June 29 (private event)
  • The Buffalo-Style Garden Art Sale Sunday, June 30 on the grounds of the Buffalo Botanical Gardens
  • Open Gardens on Thursdays in the Charlier Garden, 215 Lancaster Avenue, July 11, 18 & 25, 2-6 p.m.
  • Garden Walk Buffalo Butterfly Release Kickoff Event, Saturday, July 27, 10:00 a.m. at Bidwell Parkway at Elmwood Avenue
  • The Garden Walk Buffalo Thank You Party, September, at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House (private event)

Soon we’ll have the auction website up and you’ll be able to bid on them. Keep an eye here if you’re interested in any of them!

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

1 comment on “DIY Campy bat & bird houses

  1. My camper bird house could have been a contender!


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