Birdhouses at the Gardens
Birdhouses at the Gardens

Birdhouses at the Gardens

Please note changes to the competition and exhibit: Due to COVID-19, the Gardens will remain closed through April 30. At that time, we will review to determine when we can open for the season. In the meantime, we encourage new and current entrants to continue working on their entries. We’re looking forward to seeing them and sharing them with our community. Please check back here for more information-we will be updating this page as developments happen.

We are gearing up for spring with our first annual birdhouse competition and exhibit. The project encourages anyone interested, from local artists to businesses, students, organizations, birders, and individuals, to use their creativity to grace the Gardens with handcrafted birdhouses, from wildly creative works of art to functional, environmentally friendly, and durable structures. We hope this exhibit will help demonstrate some of the many ways of attracting wildlife through the creation of unique and creative backyard habitats. Detailed information about the birdhouses—and how to build your own—will be available to visitors.

Installed along CMBG’s new Birdhouse Trail, this season-long exhibit also gives anyone visiting for the first month after opening a chance to participate in our People’s Choice award and cast a vote for their favorite. Other awards include Most Sustainable, Best Kids’ Entry, and Best Maine Spirit, in celebration of Maine’s bicentennial.

To Participate:

We have extended our registration deadline, and are now accepting entries through the end of April. Please use our online form. We are not accepting mailed paper entries at this time.

Enter online here.

Birdhouses at the Gardens

For Participants:

Important Dates

Birdhouses will be judged for awards (except for People’s Choice) throughout installation. Birdhouses will remain installed all season, quality and condition allowing. There is no fee for entering.

Entry categories

Contestants may enter a house in either category, but the birdhouses must be original works created by the contestant. (Kits are okay–please see rules for more information.) CMBG encourages the use of recycled, reclaimed or sustainable building materials. Please consider the environment when choosing your materials.

For the Birds

Functional birdhouses designed to house native species here at the Gardens, these entries should be tailored toward one of the bird species listed below. These entries can call on your creativity, but they are primarily considered “working birdhouses” – i.e., weather-durable and made of non-toxic materials. Do not paint or stain the inside of the birdhouse.

  • Must be of non-toxic and all natural materials (no plastics, metals, glass, Plexiglas or exterior-grade plywood or pressure-treated lumber).
  • Must have mount (provided by the Gardens) centered securely on the bottom of the house.
  • Must include drainage holes, ventilation, and an easily removable section for cleaning.
  • Must be of durable and weather-proof construction.
  • Perches provide easy access for predators; please do not include them in your design.
  • Light or natural colored houses, or houses covered in natural materials, are preferred by most bird species.
  • Must weigh no more than four (4) pounds.

Flights of Fancy

Whimsical and unique pieces of garden art, these creations are imaginative and feature distinctive use of color, form, texture, and composition. While they should still function as birdhouses, since they are for decorative purposes only, requirements are more relaxed—in this category, creativity is king. Please strive, however, to use non-toxic, ecologically friendly and recycled or sustainable materials.

  • Must be no larger than 18”x18”x18” or heavier than 10lbs.
  • Must have a sturdy hook for hanging or ability to be placed flat on a table.
  • Must include drainage holes and an easily removable section for cleaning.
  • Must be of durable construction.

Native species birdhouse specifications