Birds really are remarkable creatures. Their delicate bodies are covered in feathers that can be either dull in colour or the most lustrous of bright hues. Some fly thousands of miles to escape the winter months, some prefer the water, while others favour the ice and snow. All have their own unique birdcall, which can range from a magpie’s warble to a canary’s tweeting. But perhaps the most fascinating thing about birds is their ability to engineer a home from whatever they can find around them, be it twigs, vines or manmade rubbish. Of course, their innate ability doesn’t stop them from nesting in places that have been made by human hands, as is evident in Anne Schmauss’ unique book Birdhouses Of The World.
In this collection, Schmauss travels the world, searching for the most unusual birdhouses that she can find, which have been lovingly crafted by bird lovers and designers. These aren’t your average wooden-box birdhouses, which you might whack together one sunny Saturday afternoon- these offerings are architectural masterpieces, some of which feature separate rooms, elaborate metalwork, lighting, bells, stained glass windows, semiprecious stones and even staircases. They are made from a variety of materials, including repurposed woods, bronze, rocks, cork, plastic, seeds, steel and other metals. All are made to specifications best-suited to a particular bird species, with predator prevention and entrance holes carefully considered. Most of these structures are quite large (and heavy) and can be made to order if you are so inclined to have a birdhouse of these designs in your own backyard, but be assured that the financial cost would be staggering (especially when you consider all the work that is involved in making these mini houses).
This book would make the perfect gift for bird lovers and architecture enthusiasts everywhere. There are plenty of photos of over forty different birdhouses (found in the United States, Japan, the Netherlands and many other countries), and specifications for each model. There is also a short history of human-made birdhouses for those interested in how they originated, and even information on what to look for in a functional birdhouse. I guarantee that you will be amazed at just how elaborate some of these birdhouses are.