Part functional bird house, part sculpture: these complex creations by collaborative arts practice London Fieldworks create mini cityscapes high up in trees. Some have large arched doorways for a classical look, while others feature the archetypal birdhouse entrance holes preferred by many smaller species, like chickadees.
The creators, including London Fieldworks founders Jo Joelson and Bruce Gilchrist, often build them as site-specific installations commenting on the changing architecture of the surrounding city. “Spontaneous City: Clerkenwell,” for example, is set in a tree at London’s St. James Church, Clerkenwell, which has early 12th-15th century architectural foundations and was once full of dense housing for the poor, but is now undergoing gentrification.
But the birdhouses are pretty delightful in their own right, just to look at and enjoy; there’s something organic about the way they almost seem to colonize the trees that host them, like moss or mycelium. Many of them are made of pine in shapes that are simple enough to mimic, so if you’re in need of a fun backyard project, you might be inspired to build a birdhouse city of your own.
DIY birdhouses are a great first project to work with Eastern White Pine. Check out a simple tutorial by Birds and Blooms, and get some tips for working with white pine from Woodcraft Magazine.