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May 24, 2023

These Wisconsin

You know it's spring when you hear the birds. Not just a few stragglers, but the

You know it's spring when you hear the birds. Not just a few stragglers, but the whole gang, every morning, singing, "We're back!"

We hear them every day, but our feathered friends often go unseen. What a shame. From ruby red cardinals to fast-flapping hummingbirds, birds are a beautiful bunch and often entertaining to watch.

It's easy to bring birds into view, though: add a birdhouse or bird feeder to your yard. Not only will the birds start flocking, but the house will double as lawn art — some are so cute you may wish you could move in.

Take Kimberly Moon Young's handcrafted mosaic birdhouses. The Green Bay Area Public Schools elementary art teacher takes wooden birdhouses built by her parents in Darien and designs stained glass mosaics on the front.

What started as Christmas gifts for family eight years ago is now a part-time side job for Young.

RELATED: 5 easy DIY bird feeders

"They were well received and I got a lot of positive feedback about them," she said. "I've been making and selling them ever since."

She makes more than 100 birdhouses a year, selling them on Etsy ( and at craft fairs across the state for $62 each.

Nicholas Hardrath is a graphic designer and craftsman in Shorewood who mainly makes furniture and custom buildouts for clients. But around the holiday season, it's birdhouses by demand (in addition to wooden ornaments).

Hardrath uses reclaimed wood from barns across the Midwest, sometimes acquiring it by knocking on farmers' doors and asking to buy the wood from dilapidated structures on their property.

"It seems like it's getting harder and harder to find good barn boards as barns are getting more and more scarce," he said.

His birdhouses showcase the patina and character of the wood, and Hardrath will burn custom engravings into the wood upon request. He sells them for $50 on Etsy ( and at The Waxwing, 1800 E. North Ave.

Jen and Eric Kuehl's creations are more like bird condos than single-family homes. Inspired by Jen's love of birds and gardening, Eric handcrafted their first towering bird complex in 2014 after they had both finished serving in the military. Eric endured a disabling back and leg injury in 2002 and had turned to woodworking as a therapeutic way to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

When friends and relatives started requesting their own birdhouses, the Green Bay couple turned their hobby into a small business that allowed them to work together and enjoy a flexible schedule while raising five kids.

"We know how much joy our very own birdhouses bring us," Jen said. "We love that we can share our love of birds and nature with others in this very same way."

The Kuehls sell their colorful, custom-painted or natural wood birdhouses on Etsy ( for $85 to $140.

Project FeederWatch from Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada provides helpful resources for attracting birds to your yard, including what types of bird feeders and food attract what types of birds.

Here are some other options for birdhouses and feeders handmade in Wisconsin:

This adorable ceramic bird feeder is handmade in Madison. $50,

Repurposed glass is painted to make this floral bird feeder, handmade in Elkhorn. $34 at

Hummingbirds will fly right up to your window to feed from this hummingbird feeder, decorated by Kate Hern of Ixonia with copper wire and glass beads. $8.50,

Hollowed out, dried and painted gourds make for artistic birdhouses, like this one made in Menomonie. $28,

All the birds on the block will flock to this colorful row of birdhouses handmade in Racine. $25,

This finch birdhouse is handmade in Waterford. $46,

Alison Sherwood can be reached at [email protected], and