By Tina Comeau
A lone birdhouse here or there doesn’t catch the eye of the passerby. But stick 30 of them onto a tree on Willow Street in Yarmouth and you get people’s attention.
This is what Yarmouth resident and crafter Holly Morton has done.
And she’s not finished yet.
Her goal by the end of the year is to put up 100 of the colourful birdhouses throughout the town. She’s already receiving suggestions and requests from people about potential birdhouse locations.
Morton approached the town and the Communities in Bloom Committee with the idea for the birdhouses. On May 21, with the help of an employee from the town’s parks department, a cluster of birdhouses was erected onto a tall tree stump on Willow Street. The branches of the tree had long been removed because they were dying so Morton has turned the dying tree into what she hopes is a point of interest.
Morton says she first got the idea after looking at photos from a town in Denmark where an artist had made thousands of birdhouses and stuck them all over the town.
Morton inquired to make sure the town doesn’t have a bylaw against putting up birdhouses. When she was told it didn’t her idea took flight.
Morton makes the birdhouses out of abandoned wood she salvages at the landfill, from the side of the road, in dumpsters and other places where it’s been discarded. The paint is second-hand as well, and by recycling the paint it is kept out of the waste stream.
Given that Morton has a full-time job at the hospital, she makes the birdhouses in spurts. The ones on the Willow Street tree are different from ones that she produces for sale at Shackwacky Art and Photography. Those she makes out of driftwood that she finds on beaches and are more ‘touristy’ in nature.
She’s hoping these other birdhouses, however, appeal to tourists and others.
It didn’t take long for people to notice the birdhouses after they went up.
“People were stopping and taking pictures,” says Morton. “It was fun.”
Morton has been active in crafts for a while. She says back in 2003 when her parents owned the El Rancho Motel, one day she had painted some scallop shells when visitors at the motel started putting in requests for painted shells to purchase.
It was, she says, the launch of her craft career.
Whether her birdhouse idea becomes the launch of something else, meanwhile, remains up in the air.