Museum Birdhouse Manual

Thank you for purchasing the Museum Birdhouse. Each Museum Birdhouse is constructed of stainless steel and is hand finished and fitted. The metal has been cut with high-pressure water jet that prevents metal warping and discoloration from heat build-up. Water jet cutting also allows for the exacting dimensions necessary for the precise fit and unique design of the Museum Birdhouse. The Museum Birdhouse will last a lifetime, maybe even longer! And it’s squirrel proof.

Design & Features

The Museum Birdhouse was designed to be used by birds. This is not the case with many “decorative” birdhouses that are constructed in such a way that it would be highly unlikely they would be used by any bird: the holes are too small or too large, the distance from the hole to the floor is too short, the materials may not be weather resistant, etc. Along these lines, you probably noticed that the Museum Birdhouse does not have a post sticking out by the entrance hole. A post is unnecessary and may actually make it easier for predators to reach inside and steal eggs or even capture young birds. Most birds will land in a nearby tree or bush, check things out, and then fly directly into the hole. In fact, a post on a birdhouse is usually a sign of a purely decorative house or a house made by someone unfamiliar with bird behavior.

The Museum Birdhouse has many of the features you would expect to find in the finest “nature catalog” bird houses. The entrance hole size and interior dimensions were chosen because they are preferred by chickadees, nuthatches, and wrens. The top of the Museum Birdhouse swings open for cleaning and a special tool is provided to hold the top open. There are numerous vent slots toward the rear of the interior to provide ventilation in addition to slot vents on the rear sides of the back wall. There are drainage holes in the bottom and there is even a ladder inside to provide young birds a good grip when they leave the house for the first time.

Some people prefer to keep the Museum Birdhouse indoors or on the deck, not really intending it to be used by birds. That’s just great. A contemporary design that pleases was a primary motivation behind the birdhouse. You can special order a base that allows the Museum Birdhouse to sit on concrete or other flat surfaces such as a deck, patio, or balcony by visiting tomdukich.com or send an email to tomdukich@tomdukich.com.

Pole Installation

The pole assembly (see the accompanying photos) consists of four parts: the heavier 24 inch long pipe (the stake), the 60 inch lighter colored pipe (the pole), an 15 inch short piece of pipe that is the same color and texture as the lighter pipe (the extension), and a coupling. The stake will be pounded into the ground and will not be visible. The pole fits over the stake and is the one you will see. The short piece is an optional extension and attaches to the pole with the two ended compression fitting.

First, as shown in the photo links at the end, use a hammer and pound the stake into the ground but leave about 6 inches sticking out (the shiny part). When pounding on the stake use the round head carriage bolt that comes with the pole. Put the bolt into the stake thread first and pound on the rounded part of the bolt. This will keep the pipe from splaying out from the hammer blows. The shiny part is machined down so that the pole can slip over it. Deforming it may prevent the pole from fitting.  If for some reason this does happen, file the stake down until the pole fits. If the ground at your location is very hard, try softening it with water.

Keep the stake as straight as possible so that you don't end up with an unattractive tilt to the birdhouse when you install the pole. If you are not satisfied with your first attempt (or hit a rock), move the stake over 6 inches or so and try again--similar to hanging a picture! The only thing to watch for is damaging the shiny part of the stake so that the pole will not fit over it. So use the round headed carriage bolt each time you reposition the pole and save it in the event you want to move the birdhouse in the future.

After pounding the stake into the ground, remove the bolt and slip the pole over the top of the stake. The pole is now ready for the birdhouse. The Teardrop Model and the Round Model may behave a little differently after being mounted. If your Teardrop Model is tilted, the front edge and the pole are not parallel, you can adjust it by grasping the sides with the palms of you hand and slowly straightening it. The Round Model is less likely to need any adjustment, but if it does you can adjust it in the same way.

You can use the extension and the special coupling if you would like the pole to be longer. You might want to do this if the terrain in your location warrants it. It looks best if the extension is added just above the ground rather than on top of the pole. That way, there is an unobstructed smooth line from the pole to the house. Shrubs or ground cover may also be high enough to hide the extension coupling. But adding it on top works just as well and you might prefer that look. The extension is added by using the double sided compression fitting. To keep the two pieces of pipe from flexing at the joint, tighten the large nuts on the compression fitting as tight as you can by hand. Use some cloth such as a towel or one of those rubber pads for jar lids to get additional leverage and protect your hands.

Bracket Installation

The Bracket is meant for a building, a tree or a wooden fence post. Once you decided on the location, position the bracket so the birdhouse will not be tilted and mark the two holes with a pencil. Then with a hammer and nail or a drill, make some small holes so the screws will easily take hold. Two stainless screws are provided and you'll need a Phillips screw driver to drive in the screws.

House Installation

When you finish getting the pole or bracket mount installed, loosen the large nut on the bottom of the Museum Birdhouse and place it on the pole. Then tighten the nut with your hand. It’s not necessary to use a wrench and this nut doesn't need to be nearly as tight as the extension coupling nut. As you will notice, the mounting nut allows the house to be oriented in any circular position. By reversing this process you can easily remove the house from its mount to provide for cleaning or nest inspection. In fact, removing the house from the mount and simply looking in through the hole is the easiest and the least disruptive way of inspecting the nest. Use a flashlight if you can't see in very well.

House Location, Bird Behavior & Temperature

If you can, face the entrance hole of the Museum Birdhouse so that the sun does not shine directly into the hole during the hottest part of the day. Even a small angle from direct sunlight helps. It is also better to have the house within 10 to 20 feet of a tree or bush than out in the middle of an open area.

Put a small handful of moss or dried grass into the hole of the house to help encourage potential tenants. Don’t be disappointed if birds don’t take up residence right away. In fact, it is not unusual for houses to be up for over a year before birds decide to move in. Nesting is also influenced by the season to season changes in overall bird populations.

Bird nesting behavior is complicated and varies considerably from species to species. There are numerous web sites devoted to bird feeding, watching and behavior. There are also many bird books on the market: some focus on species identification, some on backyard feeding, and a far fewer number on bird behavior itself. Here are three that are particularly useful. Birds of North America by Kenn Kaufman is an especially good species identification guide with over 2,000 bird photographs. Stokes Guide to Bird Behavior, Vols. 1, 2, 3 by Donald Stokes is a good book on backyard bird behavior. And the National Audubon Society book, North American Birdfeeder Handbook by Robert Burton, is a nice all around book.

The Museum Birdhouse will not get too hot during the nesting season, which is in the spring and early summer in the vast majority of cases. Lighter colored birdhouses are somewhat cooler than darker colored ones; on that score the Museum Birdhouse rates well. Just as important, design features have been incorporated into the Museum Birdhouse to control the build up of heat on very hot days: the roof and sides are buffed to reflect the sun’s rays and there are numerous vent slots in the back of the house, in addition to the entrance hole and the side and bottom vents.

These design features do make a difference. Extensive computer monitoring of the temperature inside the birdhouse has shown that the Museum Birdhouse compares quite favorably with temperatures inside a traditionally constructed, commercially available wooden bluebird house. Even during the very hottest part of a 95 degree day and in direct sun, the Museum Birdhouse was only a degree or two warmer than a traditional wooden birdhouse. Interestingly, the inside temperature during the coolest parts of the day was several degrees higher than in a wooden birdhouse. This may actually help in the incubation of the eggs. If you would like a more detailed explanation of the rigorous temperature monitoring, log onto tomdukich.com and follow the prompts.

Cleaning and Inspecting the Inside of the House

In early spring remove any nest from the prior year and clean out the inside of the house. A garden hose works well . The outside of the house can be cleaned as needed with any household or stainless steel cleaner and a soft cloth. It can even be run through a dishwasher. Lemon pledge works too!

You can inspect the inside or clean out your Museum Birdhouse by removing the wing nut closest to front and on the bottom of the house. Then remove the truss rod and lift up the top. Start by putting your finger in through the hole and push the top up. It will be very springy and you will have to tug on it with a fair amount of force. Don’t worry. The Museum Birdhouse was designed this way and can handle it.

Hold the top open with the special tool provided. It’s secured under the birdhouse with the wing nut that is closest to the large mounting bracket nut. When you are finished, replace the truss rod. Firmly press on the roof with your thumb and with your other hand begin to tighten the wing nut until the gaps between the edge of the roof and the walls are hardly noticeable, as viewed from above. Getting the truss rod into the bottom hole may take some practice but you’ll notice that the brace on the floor of the house has a forked slot to facilitate replacing the rod. This all sounds a little complicated but it will be obvious after the first time you do it.

Additional Orders and Questions

If you have questions or would like to order another birdhouse, a pole, a stand, mounting brackets, or replacement parts visit tomdukich.com or send an email to
tomdukich (the "at" sign) tomdukich (a "period" for the dot) com or calling me at 509-979-003. (Sorry for the weird listing. See the home page for why I'm now doing it this way.).

Again, thanks for deciding to attract the modern bird to the modern house.

Tom Dukich
Primarily Art Stuff

Instruction Manual Photos:

1) birdhouse side view 
2) birdhouse top view 
3) birdhouse bottom view 
4) mounting bracket 
5) pole assembly
6) inserting the bolt
7) pounding in the stake
8) placing the pole on the stake 

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