(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 12, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

You may call them bird castles in the sky, luxury bird condominiums or simply mansions. Some birds call these houses "home", thanks to John Looser, a Dave's Garden member. After a devastating doctor's diagnosis, John's passion for woodworking and building houses emerged in a relentless drive to build wonderful birdhouses. Here is John's story and pictures of his "Extreme Birdhouses".

Please note: all the following pictures and designs are copyrighted by Mr. John Looser, an artist recognized in the province of Ontario, Canada.

Extreme birdhouses designed by Canadian artist John Looser

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John's talent for woodworking began early in life; he began building homes for people when he was only 15. His natural ability and his love for woodworking shone through many projects. John's daddy was a carpenter, so he grew up on a lumber mill with a hammer in his hand and a head full of plans and dreams. John built anything: homes, fences, decks. John's life was full of woodworking and homebuilding.

However, before John was 40 years old, an accident at work left him unable to continue building. Doctors told John that he would never return to work due to the chronic, debilitating pain. John, an active young man with so much life before him, was depressed and devastated. He stated, "After sitting around for a few years, I thought maybe I could still do some woodworking on a smaller scale. That is when I came up with the idea of building Extreme Birdhouses."

John's first birdhouse was only about 16 inches square with 6 bird apartments. He says, "the birds wasted no time moving in". Soon people began to slow down their cars to look at his bird house. Then, he created larger birdhouses; more people slowed down to stare. Now, about 7 years later, John has built 46 Extreme Birdhouses. The largest was over 9 feet wide and 8 feet tall. One of the houses weighs over 500 pounds, has 32 dormers, 14 different roofs and 103 bird apartments. Some have other fun features including swimming pools (bird baths) in the roof. John does not work from plans, so the ideas come to him as he constructs the homes. Although he spent almost two years working on his favorite (and largest) birdhouse, most of them require between two days and six weeks to build. The homes have a natural, rustic look because John creates them from reclaimed 80 to 150 year old barn wood. Enjoy the following pictures of some of his work.

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Many people wonder how the birdhouses are mounted. John stated, "They are usually mounted 8 feet in the air. Sometimes I have to use a farm tractor to lift them in the air. It takes about 1 hour to mount one securely. All the insides are removable for easy cleaning." It appears (in the following pictures) that some of John's friends wish he would create some fun houses for them as well...

Image Image "Are there any others on the market right now?
We, however, have some feathered friends
who would be delighted with this fancy home."

Guard kitty

John said, "I mainly build (the birdhouses) to help me deal with my chronic pain, but now I am getting more and more people wanting one so I have been getting requests to build copies of...homes and cottages.The best part is the birds love them. It is nice to look out the window everyday and to watch them come and go. The most rewarding part about building these is it keeps my mind busy from daily pain and it gives me a reason to keep fighting."

Beauty through the seasons

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More interesting information:

  • John builds two different styles of houses; the shape of the entrance holes are different for various species of birds. He focuses on sparrows, swallows and Purple Martins.
  • Although John has given away many of his creations to family and friends, a "small" 30 inch square Extreme Birdhouse costs about $400.00, while a home over 5 feet wide costs between $1,500.00 and $2,000.00.
  • John custom designs and builds birdhouses.
  • John's birdhouses have given him back his life. See below for pictures of John's other projects, including rustic arbors and lawn ornaments.
  • You may contact John here, at Dave's Garden or write: John Looser , RR3 Brussels Ontario, Canada.
  • There are two threads about John's projects in Dave's Garden's community Discussion Forums. Click here for the first thread or here for the second. These threads are open to visitors.
  • John's Dave's Garden's user name is cranbrook2.
  • Dave's Garden has hundreds of other talented members that love gardens, nature and animals. This is just a spotlight on one of the many wonderful members here.

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