You might not think birds are a picky sort when it comes to birdhouses. They just want what the rest of us do in a home: four walls, a roof over our heads and enough space to sit with our family.
Or in the case of birds, that’s sit on their family – when their kids are in egg form and when they’re newly hatched.
“Birdhouses are just tiny houses you live in,” said Chris Glenn, the programs and education coordinator at the arboretum.
If you think you’ve got just the right model that could end up on all the bird real estate sites, consider entering the 18th annual Birdhouse Competition at JC Raulston Arboretum.
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The competition at the NC State arboretum allows for creativity when coming up with the home of these birds’ dreams. About 100 houses are entered each year.
Here’s what you need to know. For complete rules, go to jcra.ncsu.edu/birdhouses.
1. The competition is open to adults and children. Youth enter four categories based on their ages of 4 to 16. Admission is free, and you can enter as many birdhouses as you’d like. Advance registration is requested at jcra.ncsu.edu/birdhouses. Onsite registration will also be available on March 31.
2. You can enter the “Serious” category or the “Flight of Fancy” category, or both.
Those entered in the Serious category are “true working birdhouses,” Glenn said. That means they’re for nesting cavity birds and will be judged on craftsmanship, functionality for humans and birds, mountability, type of material, ability to be cleaned out, the hole, roof, chamber and aesthetics.
“Birds make a mess, you need a way to get rid of it,” Glenn said.
In the “Flights of Fancy” category, these are considered more as works of art. Bottom line, they need to look like a birdhouse, Glenn said. They’re judged on aesthetics; theme or concept, use of form, texture and color and execution; craftsmanship and functionality for birds (the hole, roof, and chamber).
There also is a category for people with mental or physical challenges.
3. Bring your creations April 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center at the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh. Judging begins at 6:30 p.m.
On April 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Raulston Blooms! garden festival opens, as does the competition. Birdhouse builders receive a free ticket to attend Raulston Blooms!
4. Judges won’t be the only ones evaluating the houses. There will be visitors’ choice awards at 1 cent a vote.
5. Judges are still needed. A background in youth education is sought for the youth category judges while expertise in birding is handy for the serious categories. Contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or email@example.com.
6. At the end of the whole shebang, you’ll get to take your birdhouse home. After all, there may be a bird family just waiting for it in your yard.