Much as we humans can be picky about the spaces we inhabit, so too are the 200 species of birds who call Portland home—or just drop in from the Pacific Flyway for a quick roost and refuel on their way to the abundant steppes of Patagonia. In the past century, as the Willamette Valley has been systematically developed and deforested, the places birds call “home”—natural “nesting cavities” like decaying trees and wooden fence posts—have become an increasingly narrow and competitive market for local birds. In the 1940s, a longtime favorite—the dainty and warbling Western Bluebird—was forced out of the valley and into higher elevations in search of nesting sites. With the help of local advocates like the Prescott Bluebird Recovery Project, though, Western Bluebirds are slowly trickling back into the fringes of our city. All it takes is some simple, small-scale homebuilding on some good land to lure these winged house hunters back into Portland’s backyards.

You’ll need:

  • One standard 4-foot-long 1-by-6 board
  • One standard 10 ½-inch-long 1-by-10 board
  • About 20 1 ¾-inch galvanized nails (or screws)
  • Hammer
  • Handsaw (or circular saw)
  • Power drill
  • 1 ½-inch spade bit
  • Some patience
  • A good eye for the right location to hang your new bluebird home