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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in Animal Care.

In this Badge Bit you will make a bird house for a specific species of bird.  


NestWatch has a wonderful bird house plan set and helps you choose one too.

Here's a nice youtube video of making an Eastern Bluebird house:


To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
 - it must be designed for a specific species of bird
 - natural wood and steel/wood fasteners (no glue, plywood, stain, paint)
 - must be able to open for cleaning

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must:
 - post a pic of the bird house under construction
 - post a pic of your finished bird house in its final mounted location
 - say what bird species it is designed for, how this design is a good match for that bird, and why you would like more of that bird in this area, and some dimensional specifics

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pollinator
Posts: 378
Location: Zone 8b Portland
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Here’s my in progress bird house. It’s made from a cedar log. I cut the sides off and then screwed them back together. I still need to get the proper hole saw.
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steward
Posts: 13425
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Approved submission
I wanted to put in a wood duck nest box over our small pond in the back yard.  Wood ducks are gorgeous and I haven't seen one in a decade or two so I figured this might help the situation.  I used entrance hole and nest box sizing recommendations from the USDA and some websites.  The chunk of trunk is 24" tall (2" of that is the bottom) and it's 12" in diameter with about 1/2-1" walls.  The hole is an oval that's 4" wide and 3" tall.  If you're building your own, check out all the duck house info online to get some plans (unless you're using a log like I did)...

I cut down some tamarack trees to make fence posts and saved a chunk from the butt of the biggest one to make a natural birdhouse from.  I carved a slab off for the removable back of the house.  I noodled the inside out with the chainsaw (pain in the butt) and put a slot in the bottom for drainage and shrinkage of the log.  The top is a piece of cedar.  The back pivots on a screw and is held shut with a piece of wire wrapping around another screw.  It's mounted to another piece of tamarack that's pounded down into the bottom of the pond.
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Staff note (Mike Barkley) :

I certify this BB is complete.

 
pollinator
Posts: 245
Location: KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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My submission for the PEP BB animal.sand.birdhouse - Build a nice birdhouse for a specific species. I've added the link below to the story and pics. I can repeat that herein if necessary. I created boxes specifically for:

American robin / mourning dove
Carolina chickadees
Carolina wren
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl

https://permies.com/wiki/10/99528/pep-dimensional-woodworking/Simple-beginner-bird-house-PEP#1184593


Thanks for your time.
Staff note (gir bot) :

Someone flagged this submission as an edge case BB.
BBV price: 0
Note: Please copy over the Under construction and Mounted in final location photos to get approved

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echo minarosa
pollinator
Posts: 245
Location: KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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I had a short list of birds I wanted to provide for. I wanted to provide boxes or nest platforms for:

American robin / mourning dove
Carolina chickadees / tufted titmouse
Carolina wren
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl

Specifically, American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl are all in decline. I used to see all but the owls regularly in the area. Additionally, screech owls do occupy habitat about a mile away so I assumed the Field of Dreams Model (If You Build It, They will Come). The box geometry and hole size is very similar between the three.

I didn't want design to get in the way of occupancy. There are a lot of commercial birdhouses that are ill-suited for occupancy even by the least choosy species. I also wanted to know about placement for occupancy success, etc. So I went to Cornell's NestWatch in order to look at specific designs and discussion. You can find them here:

https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/right-bird-right-house/

I supplemented the American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl research by looking at the boxes used by going to the Northeast Connecticut Kestrel Project and looking at the plans by Art Gingert. Find them here:

http://nectkestrels.com/websites.htm

Additionally, I looked at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary page for info (NOTE: the box plans are at the bottom of the page):

https://www.hawkmountain.org/conservation-science/active-research/raptor-conservation-studies/american-kestrels

I had a number of questions and started by talking to Art a few times via phone. He also led me to Bob DeCandido of the American Kestrel Nest Survey NYC project. That info can be found here:

http://www.battaly.com/nehw/AmericanKestrel/news/

To look at appropriateness I also looked at flicker and screech owl boxes:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-11/flicker_nestbox.pdf

http://www.americanartifacts.com/smma/per/nestcam/10flicker.htm

https://www.audubon.org/news/how-build-screech-owl-nest-box

http://www.lakesidenaturecenter.org/MDC%20Plan%20-%20Sparrow%20Hawk%20or%20Screech%20Owl.pdf

https://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2020/01/01/habitat-project-eastern-screech-owl-boxes/

https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/woodworking-for-wildlife/eastern-screech-owl-nest-box.html

Then I saw a YouTube video of a near instant predation event by a redtailed hawk on a screech owl sitting inside a nest box with camera. That caused me to reach out to several DNR folks and box makers. To a person they said the box on the video and several sites are too shallow once you look at hole size, placement of hole and the boxes being shallow in general. That led me to make deeper boxes and have a longer overhang on the front. I also had to modify designs to have the front open for cleaning rather than a side. This was due to the fact that I'd be standing on the 2nd floor roof to service and given how they would be mounted, side-opening would be less desirable. I still wanted to have structural rigidity supplied by the front so I went with a split panel.

I waiting for a long time for the right wood as the larger boxes needed larger pieces of wood. So I saved a piece here and there. Then a friend asked me if I wanted shelves he ripped out of a house. There was enough poplar, maple, and fir that I now had enough to proceed.

I looked at platform-type next boxes for mourning doves and robins. I looked at Cornell again and sites like:

https://journeynorth.org/tm/robin/NestBox.html

https://70birds.com/bird-species/mourning-dove/

I modified to fit the constraints of the wood I had and the sites they would be located.

Finally, I'd already made some wren boxes and used sites like:

https://70birds.com/bird-species/wrens/

http://www.nestboxbuilder.com/nestbox-plans.html

I was able to use the scrap from the large boxes to cobble most of the wren and robin box parts.

I was lucky enough to use the shop of a friend and got to use a number of tools I don't have and procedures for angling cuts and whatnot. This was being planned for years but only recently was it a possibility as I wanted to scrounge the wood that might otherwise be wasted. One of the shelves had a dark stain covering. The shelves were 30-35 years old. I took the stain off of what would become the insides of the boxes. I was able to make two boxes with the stained pieces.

The large boxes had grooves cut into the front and two sides for chick ladders and chick perches below the holes in order to make exiting or hanging out near the hole easier. I sanded the sides, tops, backs, and bottoms glass-smooth so as to shed water more quickly. I added drainage to the bottoms of each box.

I did not want to use cedar as there are now warnings about compounds in the wood creating respiratory issues for nestlings and adults when using cedar for birdhouses.

All boxes were put together with screws so that I could easily replace damaged or rotted panels when necessary. I hate doing stuff over when a little planning on the front end can save materials or make them last longer. Especially since scrounged lumber comes rarely in my area. Additionally, to make the wood last longer I used beeswax on all seams, knotholes, dents, and anywhere that might create water issues. I used a mix of a few drops of orange oil and beeswax to treat any end grain. The oil was to help soak into endgrain tissue. This should keep the boxes functional far longer and hopefully will cut back on future maintenance. It also allowed me to leave the interior free of anything except for unfinished surface.

All boxes have been weathered for a year and have been installed. While I cut grooves on the inside of the front panels for chick ladders, and installed a ledge, the weathering also helps with roughening the inside but not with the same potential for splinters entering tender chick skin that physical  roughening or rough wood might take.

Photos below of all boxes but specific mention of the American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes is detailed.
BB-birdhouses1.jpeg
Getting ready to make bird houses for six species of birds.
Getting ready to make bird houses for six species of birds.
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Rough fittings of bird house panels prior to making mods.
Rough fittings of bird house panels prior to making mods.
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The early American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes were as deep as plans specified.
The early American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes were as deep as plans specified.
BB-birdhouses4.jpg
More bird house pre-assembly.
More bird house pre-assembly.
BB-birdhouses5.jpg
Later American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes were made a few inches deeper.
Later American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes were made a few inches deeper.
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Early American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes showing general mods.
Early American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes showing general mods.
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Later American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes w/mods prior to front-opening design mods.
Later American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes w/mods prior to front-opening design mods.
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The collection of boxes made. Note the larger boxes have had the front modified to open for cleaning while still providing structure.
The collection of boxes made. Note the larger boxes have had the front modified to open for cleaning while still providing structure.
American-kestrel-yellow-shafted-flicker-Eastern-screech-owlBox.jpg
Early-style American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box.
Early-style American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box.
KestrelFlickerScreechBoxInstall.jpg
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box installed under 3rd floor eave.
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box installed under 3rd floor eave.
KestrelFlickerScreechBoxInstall2.jpg
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box showing poplar shavings on floor & open maintenance door.
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box showing poplar shavings on floor & open maintenance door.
KestrelFlickerScreechBoxInstall3.jpg
One of each style Kestrel-Flicker-Screech Box installed under eave. Both face East.
One of each style Kestrel-Flicker-Screech Box installed under eave. Both face East.
Staff note (gir bot) :

Mike Haasl approved this submission.

 
gardener
Posts: 299
Location: NW Washington - Zone 8a : 10 to 15 (F)
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I made a Tree Swallow birdhouse from cedar boards cut on the sawmill.  It is sized for Tree Swallows with internal dimensions of close to 5 in by 5 in on the bottom and 8 in tall. The hole is 1.5 in and the top of the hole is 6 in above the floor. The corners were cut out of the floor for drainage as were the top back corners of the sides. One side is hinged at the top so the side can swing out for cleaning out the nest box. A long nail in a predrilled hole keeps the side door securely closed and serves as a small perch. I installed the birdhouse about 6 ft off the ground which is within the 5-6 ft range for Tree Swallows. This birdhouse would also work for Violet Green Swallows if it was installed a bit higher.  Swallows are insect eaters and beautiful birds both stationary and in flight which is why I chose to make this birdhouse for them.
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Raw materials.
Raw materials.
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Cut parts.
Cut parts.
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Under construction.
Under construction.
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Swinging side door test.
Swinging side door test.
20210214_131059.jpg
Final mounted location.
Final mounted location.
Staff note (gir bot) :

Mike Haasl approved this submission.

 
gardener
Posts: 1309
Location: Washington State
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Here is my submission for the Animal Care - Sand (for Straw Points) - Build a Bird House (for House Wrens) BB.
Prerequisite : Here is my submission for the Dimensional Lumber - Sand - Build a Simple Bird House BB.

I started my research at NestWatch and learned the features of a good birdhouse then continued with their interactive Right Bird - Right House.  As I reviewed the recommended species, I decided to provide birdhouses for a small, insect-eating bird which led me to the Wrens and Nuthatches.  I relied on Nestwatch for information on House Wrens and specific birdhouse design elements.  The House Wren is a "species in decline" in this area so making homes for them could increase our local biodiversity.

NestWatch thinks this birdhouse is of "moderate" difficulty and I made two of them out of wood (pine) and screws (no glue) with slightly different features - one for dimensional lumber and one for animal care.  The exterior footprint is 5.5" x 7" and has an entrance hole with a diameter of 1" which allows access for House Wrens, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Pygmy Nuthatches while excluding larger birds.  One side panel is attached with two "pivot" screws at the top and secured with a single screw at the bottom for easy cleaning.  To incorporate the weather-resistant design requirement, I made the roof significantly bigger than the house and cut gutters on the underside of the roof so any rain that drips off the roof runs down the channel and away from the house.  I also cut grooves on the inside of the front the help baby birds climb out.

NestWatch recommends the house be between 5' and 10' above the ground and I mounted this one at about 8' on the north side of a big, live Douglas fir tree.

To document the completion of the BB, I have provided the following:
 - post a pic of the birdhouse under construction
 - post a pic of your finished birdhouse in its final mounted location
 - say what bird species it is designed for, how this design is a good match for that bird, and why you would like more of that bird in this area, and some dimensional specifics

0.jpg
lumber
lumber
1.jpg
drilling
drilling
2.jpg
pieces - sides have ventilation holes
pieces - sides have ventilation holes
4.jpg
finished
finished
5.jpg
Mounting
Mounting
6.jpg
Mounted
Mounted
Staff note (gir bot) :

Mike Haasl approved this submission.

 
Posts: 35
Location: Virginia, USA
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I decided to go with a bluebird box.  I've heard a lot about how bluebird habitat's are not doing well lately and they are slowly disappearing.  I want to do my part to help keep them around!  We see them flying around our neighborhood all the time so I thought I'd make some more available room for future bluebird offspring.  I made it following the Audubon birdhouse book, and this particular design was made to mimic the bluebirds preferred entry hole and box size.  I absolutely love birds and hope to keep making birdhouses to fill my neighborhood.
01-Pre-Wood.jpg
Wood ready to cut!
Wood ready to cut!
02-First_Cuts.jpg
Initial cuttings
Initial cuttings
03-Complete.jpg
Completed box on the right, left box was one made previously.
Completed box on the right, left box was one made previously.
04-Complete_Open.jpg
Open boxes!
Open boxes!
05-Final_Location.jpg
Mounted the new box tonight!
Mounted the new box tonight!
Staff note (gir bot) :

Mike Haasl approved this submission.

 
Shaun Hill
Posts: 35
Location: Virginia, USA
30
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I wanted to follow up on my last post and say that some bluebirds have moved in and started laying their eggs!

It hasn't even been a full month yet,  what a success!  
SUCCESS.jpg
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Made a nice birdhouse for a western Jay. I decided to build this habitat because I consider the Jays to be beautiful birds. The overall dimensions are approximately 7” x 8” and 10” tall. The hole diameter is 1.5” and the hole is 6” up from the bottom. Additionally, the house is mounted up about 5ft and has an easily removable front for cleaning.
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Easy access
Easy access
8523576A-0D15-45FE-A988-A540A34ED9A1.jpeg
Mounted 4-6ft off ground.
Mounted 4-6ft off ground.
Staff note (gir bot) :

Mike Haasl approved this submission.

 
pollinator
Posts: 232
Location: Missoula, Montana, United States
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I built a Kestrel bird house.

Their natural range includes western Montana but they are in decline.

It is built from mill end cuts to provide texture to grab onto plus being extra thick it can provide more insulation from the cold.

The dimensions are 10.5 inches square and 16 inches tall, the opening is a three inch wide hole.

I placed the house uphill of open fields, facing east and where there is lots of grasshoppers for food.
BirdBox.jpg
Under Construction
Under Construction
KestrelMansion.jpg
Built
Built
KestrelBedding.jpg
Top is removable
Top is removable
KestrelHouseUp.jpg
Nice and safe, way up high
Nice and safe, way up high
Staff note (gir bot) :

Nicole Alderman approved this submission.
Note: I hereby certify that this badge bit is complete!

 
Posts: 34
Location: Minneapolis
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This birdhouse is designed for wrens, chickadees, or other small birds who are insect eaters because it would be nice to have less mosquitos and grasshoppers.

It's made from a log. The interior is 4"x4"x8". The bottom of it swivels open to allow for cleaning. neat!
BirdhouseIMG_1326.jpg
Cut a log first
Cut a log first
BirdhouseIMG_1327.jpg
Chiseling the interior
Chiseling the interior
BirdhouseIMG_1329.jpg
Making the hole
Making the hole
Birdhouse.jpg
Mounted! Plenty of grasshoppers and insects in the open area around.
Mounted! Plenty of grasshoppers and insects in the open area around.
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Someone approved this submission.

 
gardener
Posts: 1495
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
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My neighbour has a bird box which has produced four broods of Carolina Wrens, two per year since he hung it. I decided it would be good to build an additional box for them; there might be many returning off-spring. My other neighbour has cats and the wrens are excellent ‘alarm birds’ warning other critters of impeding danger. So more wrens, more protection for other wild life. Here’s my neighbours box and wren from two years ago:



I used this webpage as a reference: https://empressofdirt.net/diy-wren-nesting-box/ and took notes. I wasn’t going to build the box in her plans, I wanted one with a sloping roof that I could protect with metal tiles. I did however take notes which I used. She used this book: Ref: Easy Birdhouses & Feeders: Simple Projects to Attract & Retain the Birds You Want (Birdwatcher's Digest)

1) Box is suitable for House, Carolina, and Bewick’s wrens and others of a similar size.
2) Internal foot print is 4 inches by 4 inches
3) Hole is 1 1/4 inches, small enough to keep larger birds out but not too small that fledglings can leave
4) Baffle around entry hole - Baffle blocks are an extra precaution to help keep predators out. They are especially good for thwarting racoons and snakes.

I only used hand tools for this project.

Here’s the board I used and sketch of my ideas. It’s 1 x 6 so true dimensions are closer to 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches.



Here are the pieces I’m starting with labeled and ready for construction.



Boring the entry hole



Drilling and countersinking the screw holes



Chiselling the slots for the hinges



Hinges installed



Making a baffle from a piece of tulip wood



To help with weather resistance, I used shingles I made in a PEA Metal Work Badge Bit



Easily accessible for cleaning and secured with small bolt



Installed under eves to give it as much protection as possible.

Staff note (gir bot) :

Paul Fookes approved this submission.
Note: I certify this BB complete. Great set of photos well documented.

 
pollinator
Posts: 172
Location: Val d'Espoir, Quebec, Canada, zone3a at the bottom of a valley
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Hi ! 3winter ago, i decided to build more birdhouse to attract Tachycineta bicolor. It's a great bug eater here. 4couple come year after year for now, and i plan to build more for other bird this winter. Here are some pics of the construction in series of 10 in my attic. My neigboor already have Hirundo rustica, i'm hoping to attract Sialia sialis maybee, or Myiarchus crinitus or Troglodytes aedon in the future with other birdhouse.

These birdhouse measure approximatively 5x5x10 inch with an opening of 1 1/2inch.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDIT: To respond to my the flag incomplete, i expect to attract Tachycineta because it's a species in decline in my region and habitat. It's also a good eaters of mosquito and ants, bugs that i find i've too much of them. The nestbox is also suitable for the eastern bluebird who is also in decline here. I've seen before all that, Tachycineta collect all the white feathers around the homestead and hunting in the field around me, so i knew i'd goog luck to attract them in these nestbox. Even seen my first eastern bluebird 2week ago, i cross my fingers for next year with them!
20210319_134820.jpg
Woodworking Workshop in the attic
Woodworking Workshop in the attic
20210320_072554.jpg
Birdhouse made fallen tree at home
Birdhouse made fallen tree at home
20220713_053310.jpg
Some of them installed in the field
Some of them installed in the field
Staff note (gir bot) :

Casie Becker flagged this submission as not complete.
BBV price: 1
Note: Can you let us know why you expect this birdhouse to attract Tachycineta, and why this is the species you chose?  Otherwise it's a wonderful submission and I am impressed by the quantity.

Staff note (gir bot) :

Casie Becker approved this submission.
Note: Thank you very much for the fast edit.  I am happy to see this certified.

 
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I just finished installing my blue-bird house in our front yard.
I looked up the right sizes for a blue-bird when building the house. I posted it where I've seen the most blue-birds hang out. they should have a very nice rent free living space from now on.
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Staff note (gir bot) :

Someone flagged this submission as not complete.
BBV price: 1
Note: Many requirement not met. Roof made of plywood not acceptable in most badges, need only natural wood. Nice is not what i would say about this birdhouse. Would be better in the BB Simple beginner birdhouse of pep lumber woodworking.

 
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John Pachall wrote:I just finished installing my blue-bird house in our front yard.
I looked up the right sizes for a blue-bird when building the house. I posted it where I've seen the most blue-birds hang out. they should have a very nice rent free living space from now on.



Hey John, I noticed your BB got rejected. I think though that not all is lost. You could save this one with a little remediation work.

The roof will work better to protect the birds from rain if it extends beyond the walls in all directions. Maybe you could replace it with some non-plywood while you're at it. Also if you showed us the information (or where you found it) specific to blue-birds it would be a great resource to future bird-house builders.
 
John Pachall
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Approved submission
I just finished making and installing a blue-bird house in our front yard. I looked up the specific sizes and dimensions for the build for example the entrance is supposed to be 1 1/2in in a circle, I also learned the general amount of space for the bottom of the inside was about 3 to 4 inches in each side so they have room to move around.

I put it near the area where I've seen the most of them hanging out. I would be really happy for some more blue-birds to move into the area. They are one of my favorite type of bird species because of their nice colors and behavior.
 

So now they have a cozy rent free bird-house to live in.
bird-house-1.jpeg
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bird-house-4.jpeg
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bird-house-5.jpg
[Thumbnail for bird-house-5.jpg]
bird-house-6.jpg
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Staff note (gir bot) :

Raphaël Blais flagged this submission as an edge case.
BBV price: 0
Note: Good improvement! Could you add why you would like more of that bird in this area, and some dimensional specifics

Staff note (gir bot) :

Raphaël Blais approved this submission.
Note: Nice update!

 
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