Anyone who has met our family will know that we are without a doubt crazy about nature! One of my children's favourite hobbies is to watch the birds that come and visit our feeders throughout the year. So what sort of craft do you make to keep a couple of bird brained nature lovers happy? Why you construct a simple bird blind of course for hours and hours of bird watching fun that keeps you up close and personal while incognito.
You will need:
A large cardboard box
A small cardboard box
Masking tape or clear packing tape
Start by finding the largest cardboard box that you can. A great place to get a box if you don't have one handy at home is by visiting your local grocery store and asking if they have a banana box or another large box hanging around in their stock room that they could spare. Quite often I have gone asking for boxes for school projects and I've never been turned down yet. Once you have your box, carefully open the top and bottom flaps and then cut vertically down one of the side seams so that the whole thing lies flat on the floor, then cut the box in half and stack the one layer above the other creating a large square. Now grab your tape and tape up the center seam where you are joining the two box halves together on both sides of the cardboard and any other spots on the box that appear to be weak. It may take a couple of strips of tape layered side by side until you have a good six inch width of tape to create a nice sturdy seam that is going to stand up straight when you set your cardboard upright.
Now that you have the backbone of your bird blind built you will want to put in some viewing holes. Place your bird blind on the window sill where it will be used for bird watching and have each of your children stand right in front of it so that you can mark exactly where their eyes meet the cardboard. Take a glass and use it as your template for drawing nice uniform circles. Using your exacto knife carefully cut out the circles slightly within the lines.
With a rambunctious four year old that wants to be just like big brother and sister I thought it was pertinent to create a way to cover up some of the viewing holes while they weren't in use to keep him from startling the birds as he bounced around behind the blind. To do this we used a smaller cardboard cereal box and using our glass again we traced out more circles to be cut out as covers for our viewing holes.
Using the tip of your scissors poke a hole above each of your viewing holes on your bird blind and through the top of each of the viewing hole covers. Then place a brad through each of the covers and in turn through the holes on your bird blind creating little flaps that swing open and closed over your viewing holes.
We had fun drawing on ours so that they looked like eyes looking back at us. We also thought it would be neat to use our bird blind as a bulletin board (see very first photo) for our nature drawings as well. So we taped up a bunch of our bird drawings from out of our nature journals and photos from bird articles in our local newspapers so that the we could try and spot different species as we watched our feeders. The entire project from start to finish took us about an hour to complete and it is amazing to be able to sit less than a foot away from the feeders watching unnoticed as the birds munch away on their bird seed. Don't be afraid to get creative with your bird blind either. Take it outdoors on a nice day and have your children cover it with branches and leaves to really camouflage it or let them paint it to blend into the surrounding shrubbery. Set it up near a place you know the birds always gather at, bring along a couple of lawn chairs and some snacks and have fun!
If you decide to make one let me know. We'd love see how you make your bird blind special :)