No garden is complete without a house or two for our feathered friends, but why stick to boring boxes when you could have sculptural works of art, modern flat-pack steel worthy of urban design enthusiasts, and even posh bird abodes complete with swimming pools? These 15 clever and creative bird house designs – many of which are recycled or even solar-powered – provide fashionable homes for birds year-round.
Heart for the Birds
(image via: mocoloco)
When the Toronto Botanical Garden called for entries in a birdhouse design competition, they received some incredible works of art – but none quite so unusual and sculptural as this piece by Josh Coulas. Entitled ‘Heart for the Birds’, the gallery-worthy design takes human love for our feathered friends to an almost gruesomely literal level.
Spontaneous Bird City
(image via: london field works)
Bird houses tend to be lonely little structures, located far from their neighbors. Why not build an entire bird metropolis? This ‘spontaneous city’ was created by London Fieldworks, a collaboration between artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson.
CCTV Bird House
(image via: gizmodo)
That’s not a camera watching your every move – it’s the beady little eyes of a bird. But from far away, this clever and creative birdhouse design might just fool a criminal scoping out your neighborhood.
Posh Bird House with a Pool
(image via: posh living)
Who’s to say that birds don’t love a little luxury every now and then? The lucky birds that find this home first will get a rooftop swimming pool in addition to their modern, vaguely Scandinavian cabana.
Solar-Powered Illuminated Bird House
(image via: oooms.nl)
Given that the need for an illuminated bird house is questionable at best, a solar-powered bird house may seem less than eco. But aside from how cool it looks when lit up at night, the little perch on this birdhouse attracts bugs, giving birds an easy snack.
Giving Birds the Boot
(image via: great green goods)
Luxurious? Hardly – but green? Definitely. It may seem cruel to ask your friendly backyard birds to roost in somebody’s stanky old work boot, but these tough and dependable castoffs could actually be quite cozy for small species like wrens and chickadees, and they save shoes from the dump.
Folding Modern Bird House
(image via: grass roots modern)
On the other end of the spectrum, for urbanists who won’t accept anything less than chic modern design, there are bird houses like this: ultra-modern, super-simple, flat-pack and made of steel.
Modern Bird House with a Green Roof
(image via: workshopped)
Vertical gardening and green roofs aren’t just for people. Artist Donald Corey incorporated the best green design practices into this commission, keeping the most important needs of his ‘clients’ in mind. “Using a natural green roof to protect the ‘clients’ from heat and rain, they get the extra benefit of having a good place to look for food that is very close. The house’s walls are created from salvaged wood and the front and back are made of recyclable stainless steel.”
Airstream Bird House
(image via: chrome dome studio)
For nomads, vagabonds and people who just like the look, Airstreams are a sleek and lovably retro alternative to sticks and bricks. So doesn’t it follow that migrating birds who love to be on the move might want a portable home, as well? Maybe this awesome Airstream birdhouse can’t migrate with its avian inhabitants, but it certainly captures the spirit of travel.
Bird Turf Hanging Bird House
(image via: design sponge)
Pairs of shoes hanging listlessly from power lines are a common sight in urban areas, but why not use that same concept to take back the space for wildlife? This design, with twin black and white cylindrical wooden houses hanging by a cord, creates a habitat in a place where birds often congregate.
Ephemeral Paper Bird House
(image via: design boom)
The remains of old auction catalogs fold up nicely into a sort of origami-like modern birdhouse, albeit one that won’t last long in the wind and rain. But designer Michael Young admittedly didn’t create this as a functional place for birds to nest; it’s a work of art.
CD Case Bird House
(image via: craftster)
It makes for a somewhat geeky, very cool looking birdhouse – but this DIY recycled creation, made with CD jewel cases, does have its downsides. “Now, as long as the plastic cases don’t focus the sunlight like a magnifying glass and fry any potential occupants, we will be doing OK,” writes the artist on Craftster.
Coffee Can Bird House
(image via: ignacio pilotto)
Industrial designer Ignacio Pilotto came up with an awesome and surprisingly nice-looking way to reuse coffee cans: turning them into avian abodes with a couple hooks and a modified lid, fitted with a little perch and a round entrance.
Cinder Block Bird House
(image via: design related)
Who knew that cinder blocks could be such fashionable modular bird houses? Sure, they’re a bit heavy – strong chains would be a must – but this design by Mathew Zurlinden makes great use of a common waste material and can easily stack into apartment buildings for birds.
Flowerpot Bird House
(image via: digsdigs)
So you’ve got one good branch in your yard from which to hang something pretty, but you can’t decide between a hanging pot of colorful flowers and a birdhouse. This unusual concept called ‘O_Nest_O’ by De Castelli gives you the best of both worlds with a hollow area under the plant’s soil in which birds can make a home.