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Big B.A.D. Birdhouse Project

Help build & design our beautiful bird-friendly community!

Overview:

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center and the American Institute of Architects Lincoln are collaborating to bring the Big B.A.D. Birdhouse Project to Lincoln. The goals of the project are to provide both organizations outreach and community programming opportunities, combining a mission about architecture and design with providing habitat for birds around the city of Lincoln. In addition, the project provides youth, families, and all audiences the opportunity to share their artistic and design skills with the community in a fun and collaborative way. Finally, the project will end with a special fundraising event to support ongoing STEM programming for the Lincoln Community Learning Centers at Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center.

The Big B.A.D. Birdhouse Project is a birdhouse building and design competition. Birdhouses can be entered in two categories divided by six grade/age levels. Winning birdhouses in each category and level will have the chance to be exhibited and auctioned off at a public “First Friday” event on May 6, 2022. Other birdhouses may be displayed around Lincoln during the month of April leading up to May 6. For more details, please read on, and we hope you’ll consider joining us by designing and building YOUR BIG B.A.D. BIRDHOUSE!

ENTRY FORM & CONTEST GUIDELINES

When filling out the entry form, please make sure to choose both a CATEGORY and LEVEL. Descriptions of both are below: 

  • CATEGORIES
    1. Creative Art & Design:  No restrictions on materials or design. Make it creative, original, and artistic. Embellishments encouraged. Entries in this category can be either designed for outdoor use or as indoor art. EXAMPLES
    2. Form & Function:  Use basic birdhouse templates for the structure. Design can be incorporated on the outside but the main goals are function and stability. Entries in this category must be functional outside as a useable birdhouse. EXAMPLES

Special Note: Extra Points will be added for birdhouses in either category that are built with or incorporate recycled/reclaimed/reused materials such as reclaimed barn wood, plastic bottles, broken plates, etc., as well as the use of natural materials and paints. Please include items in list of materials.

  • LEVELS
    • Grades K – 2
    • Grades 3 – 5
    • Grades 6 – 8
    • Grades 9 – 12
    • Adults
    • Family or Club TEAM (mixed ages & levels building ONE birdhouse together)

Directions:

  1. Birdhouses in the Creative Art & Design category have to be designed and built from scratch – no kits or birdhouses that were purchased and only painted or embellished. Also, this category allows for indoor/art only pieces as well as pieces that will survive and function outside as real birdhouses. Please ensure to mark which one on your entry form.
  2. Birdhouses entered in the Form & Function category MUST be functional birdhouses built with the correct size entry hole for a specific bird species (please list bird species). One can use a birdhouse template or pieces and then decorate the house after construction. These birdhouses also must be able to function and last outdoors to provide nesting spaces for birds. Remember, birdhouses (unless specifically designed as indoor decoration) are to be installed outdoors, so please consider outdoor paint and materials that weather well.
  3. If your birdhouse will hang on a wall or from a tree, please include the pieces for hanging/mounting on or with the birdhouse and in the design. If your birdhouse is to sit on a platform, ensure it can sit flat on a table/platform for display.
  4. Please check the following document for the correct size of entry hole and house, especially if entering the Form & Function category. It is important to build and design the right house for the right bird. And don’t forget to provide a way to open the birdhouse for cleaning. Here is a link to some birdhouse sizes for common birds to help you plan. BIRDHOUSE SIZE CHART
  5. Entries will be accepted from March 1-April 1, 2022. All entries must be received by 4:00 p.m., Friday, April 1. Entry forms are fillable .pdfs that can be saved and emailed with 3 photos of your finished birdhouses, birdhouse measurements, and a list of materials used to construct and decorate your birdhouse. Entries and photos can be emailed to BIRDNERD at scp@audubon.org  or mailed (postmarked by April 1, 2022) to Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Attn: BIRDNERD, PO Box 117, Denton, NE, 68339.
  6. If entering as a family or club team, please ensure to list the full names of ALL designers/builders and grade levels.
  7. Please contact Jason “the BIRDNERD” St. Sauver if you or your group would like to be part of a community Big B.A.D. (Build and Design) event – with experts from AIA Lincoln and Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center to help you get started with ideas, design, and more.  Email the BIRDNERD at scp@audubon.org.

Judging:

Birdhouses will be judged from entry form descriptions and 3 photos provided. Judging will be based on:

1. Functionality of the birdhouse as a nesting box for birds (for Form & Function category entries only), including the appropriateness of the design and materials, ability to withstand weather year-round, ability to be opened and cleaned, size of the birdhouse, size/location of the entry hole, and ability for it to be installed (hung, on post, on pole, etc.).

2. Adherence to the description of the Design Category that the birdhouse has been submitted under, relative to the submitted Level.

3. Craft and cleanliness of the birdhouse construction and materials.

4. Unique and original design and/or decoration.

5. Use of recycled/reclaimed/reused materials.

* Reminder: Extra Points will be added for birdhouses in either category that are built with or incorporate recycled/reclaimed/reused materials such as reclaimed barn wood, plastic bottles, broken plates, etc., as well as the use of natural materials and paints. Please include items in list of materials.

Transportation of birdhouses:

Winning designers will be contacted about delivery or pickup of their birdhouses to/from display galleries or locations around Lincoln and/or to the auction event (if applicable) on May 6. Other honorable mention winners across the categories and levels will be asked to have their birdhouses temporarily displayed in the month of April or May across Lincoln and/or installed for bird habitat at to-be-determined locations in parks and yards across the city.  Project coordinators will contact birdhouse designers by email for more instructions on delivery or pickup of their birdhouses in April.

Here is a short video taken at a building workshop at Prescott Elementary in Lincoln: 

Birdhouse Building Workshop

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