How to make the Buddha Bird House

A lot of the stuff I find at yard sales ends up in my eccentric garden under the category of “Yard Art”. It is an esthetic genetically passed down from my eclectic parents, both of whom found pleasure in small treasures and unexpected surprises. I also remember with admiration the long and twisted driveway of a friend of my parents that was studded with small figurines and hidden creatures. Her name was Mary Holmes and she was an artist and a Personality, with a capitol P. The torturous drive up to her house was a series of muddy, rutted, hair pin turns through the redwoods that were sometimes un-passable and always an adventure. God help you if you came upon someone going the other direction as there was almost never anywhere that two cars could pass or turn around.

As a young man I would sit in the back seat of the car as we bumped and jolted along and as I peered out the window, I would see ragged little forest nymphs, and plastic horses, and sodden little stuffed bears. I seem to remember that it all represented some kind of story of Man, but I was but a sprout and don’t remember the mythology. When you finally came out into the sun at the top of the wild Mr. Toad ride, you found Mary’s mad, messy, creative house that was bursting as full of treasure and art as an architectural Pinata.

So that’s my excuse for my own crazy garden full of invasive plants and found art. From the tea house made of old windows and hanging wooden spoons to the Red Door surrounded by a forest of bamboo, my garden represents a jumble of memories and moments of sanctuary.

My most recent little art project is the making of the Buddha Bird House. I find Buddhist imagery comforting and serene and as I rumble along from Yard Sale to Yard Sale, I always keep an eye out for interesting examples. Of course, I am always looking for most anything that seems fun and unusual, but the Buddhist stuff has a special place in my heart.

For this particular example, I admit shopping at, of all places, Ross Dress for Less, which for some unknown reason often has fun Buddhist statuary. The piece I am using for this demonstration was $12. The nice thing about most of the stuff found there is that if it is not ceramic, then it is probably cast resin, which means that it is usually hollow, which brings us to the first picture.

First Step

First thing is to find a piece that is big enough to house the kind of birds you are looking to attract, in this case probably a standard House Finch, and appeals to your sensibilities. It doesn’t have to be any particular motif of course. If you like Garden Gnomes, that’s fine too… Or Fu Dogs, or  Turtles, or whatever…  I just happen to like Buddha heads and like the idea of the compassion of Buddha giving the bird a place to live. It’s also a good idea to think about how you want to mount the bird house. This particular head has an obligingly flat back with hooks already mounted. This piece is approximately 12 inches tall by 11 inches wide at the top.

View from the side
Another side view

Another aspect to look for is a way to keep rain out of the bird house. This can be done with where you hang the House or, as in this case, you might notice that there is an over hang  from the head piece that acts as a rain block.  It is also a good idea to drill a couple of small holes at the bottom of the house in case water does find its way in.

House and Drill

Next you choose where you want the door to be and what size hole you want to make. They have these groovy little drill sets for making larger holes where you can pick and choose your sizes.

Getting Started

Go slow and don’t push too hard.

The door!

Once you have the door drilled, use a vacuum cleaner to suck out all the grindings.

Chop stick bird rest

For a little bird rest, I have just used a drill about the same size as a chopstick and jammed it in there. You might need a little glue to keep it in place, or you might not. Now I’m told that birds don’t really need a roost outside their door, but I like the way it looks. You might also notice I have used an indelible marker to color the inside of the door cut. It just makes it look a little cleaner.

All ready for occupancy!

Here is another one I did last season… I used two different sculptural pieces so that I could put the three dimensional piece on top of the one with the flat back to make it easier to hang. That makes the Bird House into a duplex.

The Compassion of Buddha allows us live here rent free!
Come and live in my stomach!
Photoshopped bird looking for a new House!

I did a little Photoshop to show you what it looks like when you put a bird on it.

Why do I always write this stuff in the middle of the night?

One Response to “How to make the Buddha Bird House”
  1. Deanna Jay Chu Nim says:

    You have the wackiest ideas, thank God.

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