I found this drawing of a birdhouse made from two nail kegs in the August 1915 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine and had to share it with my readers. It amazes me some of the materials that people have used for their birdhouses even in the early 1900′s. I’ve seen birdhouses made of everything from old tires to household insulation. I am also taken back by how adaptable birds are becoming these days. I believe their adaptivity has come from necessity because their natural habitats are being destroyed by our human progress.
I live in a small town outside Louisville, KY and it has tripled in size in the last 7 years and I’m sure that growth rate will continue for the foreseeable future. All of that land, now shopping centers, strip malls and parking lots, was once covered in trees that birds could call home. Humans have affected the way birds live ever since the first birdhouse was built and I believe our fates are now tied together. The purple martins for example rely entirely on humans for all their nesting needs east of Rockies.
Purple martins migrate from Brazil back to the United States and take up homes in the same place year after year. If the people who maintain all those martin houses suddenly decided to stop providing them it would be disastrous for the purple martin population. Now that we have interjected ourselves into their lives by providing homes for them it would irresponsibility not to maintain them.