John Looser from Belgrave, Ontario, known by locals as the “ Birdman of Belgrave “ doesn’t just build birdhouses – he builds Extreme Birdhouses with balconies, gables, wraparound porches, even built-in rooftop swimming pools…”Upscale living ” for birds. Before John changed the face of birdhouse building, he spent 20 years of building houses for humans. That came to an end when he sustained an injury and was told he would never work again.
Birdwatching being one of John’s passions, the idea of building elaborate homes for local birdlife seemed a natural new hobby. His housing projects are designed mainly for sparrows, wrens and Purple Martins. “ These types of birds don’t mind living close to each other. I did lots of reading to determine the size of their nest, entrance and height of the house “ John can tailor each birdhouse to any type of bird by changing the size and shape of the entry hole.
In the beginning, John had no intension of selling the houses, but since his half-acre Belgrave, Ontario property was located near a busy highway, the birdhouses started to catch the attention of people driving by.
“ I had close to 100 houses in my yard … so I finally started to let some of them go “
Every year, he donates several dozen to charities for raffles, gives others to family and friends, and sells more to customers who flock to his yard from all over North America.
Inspiration from the houses often comes from photos of old buildings, particularly those from Victorian age. John also enjoys the chance to replicate buildings that no longer exist, or ones whose architecture captures his imagination. One of his birdhouses is modelled after the historical Wellington Hotel in Guelph, Ontario. “ That hotel caught on fire and they rebuilt it. I didn’t copy it exactly to what it was, but it’s close. That was the first birdhouse I did with a pool … “
His most popular birdhouse is a six-ilex designed about 24 inches square, suitable for most backyards. All of the houses come apart by removing four screws that hold the house down to the base and all the insides slide out from the bottom of the house for quick clean ups.
John has been building birdhouses for over 10 years and says he’s seen his imaginative structures appeal to people of all ages. “ I get about 3000 people stop by my home to view them every year. “ Everyone here calls me the “ Birdman of Belgrave “, says John.
“I also get a lot of woodworkers interested in my designs and they want to build their own birdhouse. I sell a couple of plans online so I know people are building them all over the world, especially in Europe and the U.S.”
There are three different birdhouse plans offered online selling for $10. each. It really helps having a website to get the word out “ John says.
As an added benefit, constructing these Extreme Birdhouses helps John deal with the aches and throbs of fibromyalgia. “ It keeps my mind focused on the task at hand off the pain “ he says. Equally important, he enjoys watching the birds nest in his birdhouses. “ They really love them ‘ John says.
Article based from featured news articles provided by John Looser.