Felt Birdhouses?

Over the summer, I found myself shopping in a touristy, vacation town. I had only just started working on this blog and was still trying to determine what directions I would like to go with it and all bird related products were of particular interest. I happened to look up over the registers and there, hanging among the wind chimes and windsocks were a series of felt birdhouses. The accompanying sign assured customers that not only were they a sustainable and fair trade product, but they were for inside or outside use. Taking one look at these cute things I felt great doubt that they could sustain a full season outside. But who knows? Lucky for me I had my phone handy and thought fast enough to snap a quick reference photo. I put this in my metaphorical bag of ideas, for a rainy day when I had time for more googling.

It didn’t actually take much research to find the source of these felt birdhouses. Wild Woolies Felt Homemade Designs. The retail website indicates that they are made of 100% wool, in Nepal. As I searched the site and took a look at the birdhouses, I was genuinely surprised by the variety of styles. According to my count, there are exactly thirty-nine different felt real estate options. Many are what you might expect, cute houses, themed and decorated in a way that you just know Tinkerbell and her fairy friends would feel right at home. These styles included the Pixie Cottage, Magic Mushroom and Fairy House, as well as the Chalet and Hermit Hut (for those birds seeking a life of solitude and quiet contemplation). There were others inspired by nature such as the Acorn, Cactus and Beehive and several decorated with flowers, humming birds and insects. But there were also some less traditional housing options, including a Taco Truck, Yellow Submarine, Hot Air Balloon and Yeti Hut (for which you could also purchase the accompanying yetis). For me the most bizarre were those designed to look like animals. The Owl, Chicken and Fox, which all have holes in their bellies, making me assume that the emergence of the resident bird probably looks like an adorable parody of a scene from Alien. For me the Puffer fish and flower power Elephant were just a bit too weird, though admittedly cute.

As I browsed the different houses I caught myself thinking of which friends would like which designs, as if I was doing my Christmas shopping instead of researching for my blog. But the questions still remained, can they really survive the elements and act as a functioning birdhouse? I snapped out of my shopaholic state, and started looking for reviews. I could only find one, which was a five star review from 2018. A positive sign. Unfortunately the review didn’t answer the question of outside use as the reviewer specifically said she wouldn’t put it outside. Five stars for cuteness, but does the product work outside as promised? I searched in vain for a while longer before coming to the conclusion that there were no more reviews. No one had put the wool birdhouses to the test AND written about the results.

And then I got an idea. An Awful Idea. I had a Wonderful Awful Idea. Just kidding! What are the holidays without a good Grinch reference?! But I did truly have an idea. If I wanted to know how the houses fared outside, I should buy one. I could hang it out this spring and document its progress. And then I could write the definitive review that either confirmed or denounced whether these cute little houses can weather the elements.

So I have put in my order, and am anxiously awaiting my package. Stay tuned to see which design I picked and learn how it does outside.

If you are interested in buying one of these lovely houses, since I think we can all agree that they are super cute, you can find them at a variety of retail outlets, including amazon. I referenced https://www.songbirdgarden.com/ when I did my research which seems to be the outlet that features all of the different style options. They also sell a variety of felt bird ornaments, perfect for any bird lover on your holiday shopping list.

Introduction

Bird watching is a great hobby as it is easy to do anywhere. In theory it’s free, unless you get addicted and begin bribing birds to your yard with numerous feeders like I do! It encourages us to take in nature more generally and often motivates us to walk in parks or on trails, getting much needed exercise and fresh air. However, the thing I like most about bird watching as a hobby is that you can dedicate as much or as little time as you have. There are whole days I have sat in my yard with a camera and a book. But I can also come home and sit outside for a few hours, unwinding after work and allowing myself to relax.

I have always liked nature, camping, hiking etc., but I didn’t really get into bird watching until we moved from the city into the suburbs…a heavily treed suburb. Sitting by the window with my warm drink, I would often see flashes of color fly past. Sometimes I knew it was a blue jay or a cardinal, but I wanted to know more about the other flashes I was seeing. I was given a bird identification book for Christmas 2015, along with my first feeder pole and feeder. Before I knew it, I was hooked! And bird watching turns out to be contagious. After seeing my photos, my parents purchased some bird feeders, their own field guide and we have all been bird watching ever since.

This blog is a way for me to share some of my bird photographs, but I also want to provide some facts and figures along the way, as well as some of my own observations. I want to be clear that I have no background or formal training in any science field, so most of the information I will share comes from field guides.