Garden crafts always sell well at festivals since many are looking for the different and unusual. Though this certainly fits the bill, you can decorate it very easily with paint, paint pens or permanent markers. You can, also glue bark and pieces of foliage as you see fit.
If you have minimal skills with tools (hack-saw, file or rough sand paper, power drill and hole saw) you can be successful with this craft and if you are the least bit creative, you can adapt it for other birds such as the Carolina Wren.
When pricing this for sale at the festival, make sure to take into account your time and the cost of all supplies. Remember to include the cost of the festival entry as well.
Though the finished product is very tall, you can sell it as a ‘put-together for the customer. Simply bundle the three main sections together with tape, twine or a zip-tie. The customer can provide their own t-post and since you have already assembled the small pieces, all they have to do is attach to their t-post and slide the two upper tubes onto the lower tube. Simple.
The illustration and directions for this craft are courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Illustration by Susan Spear
The design for this nest tube was adapted by David Bonter and Caren Cooper from a model developed by Thomas Grubb and C.L. Bronson in Ohio in the 1990s, as mentioned in the Summer 2008 BirdScope article, Looking for the Perfect Fixer-Upper.
Where should you place your chickadee nest tube?
Setting out a nest tube, like any other nest box, is not guaranteed to attract nesting chickadees. Where should you place yours to improve your chances?
David Bonter notes that these tubes are very successful at attracting House Wrens as well as chickadees. To discourage wrens, the tubes should be placed at least 60 feet into a wooded area. Placing the tube along a wooded edge of a field or lawn will make them much more attractive to House Wrens. The compass orientation of the entrance hole probably does not matter at all, but chickadees do seem to prefer an unobstructed path to the entrance hole, without branches and leaves in the way. Caren Cooper suggests that the farther the artificial snag from other trees and branches, the less likely it will be for squirrels and mice to jump to it.
Caren also emphasizes that habitat type matters. For example, placing a nest tube in a coniferous forest stand that does not have chickadees is unlikely to lure them in. Ideally, these nest tubes should be placed where chickadees are fairly easily found in the first place—usually in deciduous or mixed woods.