Protecting birds is a worthwhile cause for many reasons, but it doesn't hurt to remember the many ways they benefit humans. Birds keep insect populations under control, spread seeds, pollinate plants and in cities, they even help keep things clean by eating dropped food or picking up pieces of trash to use in their nests.
As cities upgrade old buildings, many of the holes, cracks and other nooks and crannies birds have used as shelter are sealed up, which reduces potential nesting spots. Since we're pretty much to blame for destroying their homes, we can help out by putting up bird houses to keep our bug-eating buddies flying around.
Here are a bunch from the TreeHugger archive.
Birdhouses for Multiple BirdsUrban birds need places to nest and thankfully a number of artists have found beautiful and creative ways to address this problem.
Andreu Carulla's NeighBirdHoodAndreu Carulla's NeighBirds is a clever take on the birdhouse. Each hexagon unit works as a stand-alone birdhouse, but the genius of the design is when you combine birdhouses to make a NeighBirdHood. Buy via Utoopic. More on TreeHugger.
Birdhouse / Treehouse ComboAn artist in Japan created this birdhouse/treehouse combo that in addition to providing homes for multiple birds, also becomes an observation point for birdwatchers. See how it works here.
Decorative Birdhouses or Birdhouses as ArtThese birdhouses are beautiful, but likely best suited as interior art instead of being exposed to the elements. My favorite piece of this bunch is this one:
Modern or Designer Birdhouses
Created by Etienne Esmenjaud of UK-based company Desinature, the "Mr. and Mrs. Birdee" birdhouses are shaped to best accommodate species like robins, wrens, and pied wagtails, The house is laser-cut from PEFC-certified birch (the UK equivalent of FSC) and is shipped flatpack to reduce shipping costs. For a bit of fun DIY, you assemble yourself, after soaking in water to make the pieces pliable.
Recycled Material Bird House by Peter MarigoldCreated by Peter Marigold, these birdhouses are made from old shop signs and wood from crates.
This onion shaped house is made by a co-op in Bangladesh that helps rural women by teaching them skills, providing design assistance and access to credit.
DIY BirdhousesNow that you've seen a lot of differently shaped and styled birdhouses, you may start seeing potential bird houses in junk around your house. Here are some you can make yourself.
Old Skateboard BirdhouseThis house is another piece by Thomas "Dambo" Winther, which uses a broken skateboard as the roof.
Tea Pot Birdhouse.This one may be more decorative or better suited as art, but it was certainly a creative way to reuse an old pot.
Golf Club BirdhouseOld golf clubs aren't too hard to find. This house uses the handle as a roof piece and the club head as a perch.
Wine Box Birdhouse
Simple Box Birdhouse
Which birdhouse did you like best? Have you built your own? Tell us about it or post a link in the comments.