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bird flying house

Note: This project comes to us from Jess Hobbs at the Flux Foundation as part of Maker Camp 2014.

For downloadable PDFs of Flux Foundation’s Tweethaus project, click each term: Paper TemplateParts, Prototyping, Resources.

The project’s website reads:

TweetHaus, a collaboration between the FLUX Foundation and community partners, is a public art + ecology project focused on citizen science, interactive learning and collaboration. It fosters community through the design, construction and installation of bird habitats and public pathways in urban environments.

Grounded in our belief that art builds community and that community can build art, the first installment of TweetHaus takes place in our own backyard—Oakland, CA, with Park Day School as its locus.

TweetHausOAK engaged 3rd grade students at Park Day in collaborative, project-based learning. Under the mentorship of FLUX artists, Park Day teachers and community professionals, an 8-week curriculum guided five teams of 3-4 students in the design, construction and installation of an urban Western Bluebird habitat. The program began with students and mentors collaborating in the classroom to learn about bluebird habitat and ecology. The teams put knowledge into practice by venturing into the neighborhood to find appropriate birdhouse locations. They then returned to the classroom and the school’s garden to design and construct a unique birdhouse and bluebird-supportive garden for installation at each specific location. The kids’ excitement about the program is uncontainable! Take a look at our photos on Flickr to see for yourself! Two birdhouses have been installed at Mosswood Park in Oakland, one at a neighborhood home and two at Park Day School.

TweetHaus will expand into the larger community through participation in Maker Faire and in new partnerships with the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department and other local community organizations and schools interested in implementing the curriculum.


Step #1: Learn about your bird.

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  • Use the Internet. Great site to start with
  • Go to the Library.
  • Observe the birds in your own environment: your neighborhood and parks!

Step #2: Create a paper TweetHaus.

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  • Print out the PDF template on 11x17 paper. (linked to image above, or here: Tip: Cardstock paper works well!
  • Cut out and glue or tape it together as shown.
  • Decorate it!
  • Iterate! Make a few paper prototypes. You don't have to stick with the template: change the shape and size.
  • Get feedback.
  • Incorporate suggestions.

Step #3: Optional: Make a cardboard prototype.

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  • Use cardboard from old shipping boxes and food boxes. For cardboard, you'll need to add a utility knife and measuring tape, especially if you make the design above.
  • Make a prototype.
  • Get feedback.
  • Incorporate suggestions.

Step #4: Optional: Make your final wooden design.

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  • You'll need to add a chop saw, drill, screws, nails, hammer, sandpaper, adults to do this part of the project!
  • We recommend untreated, clean pine, birch, redwood or cedar that is at least 3/4” thick (for the birds to stay warm.)

Step #5: Observe and report.

New Project: TweetHaus

Engage in a Citizen Science project with your TweetHaus. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology ( runs at least 4 great projects:

Project FeederWatch (

NestWatch (

Celebrate Urban Birds (

YardMap (

Additional citizen-science projects include eBird ( and the Great Backyard Bird Count (, developed by the Cornell Lab Information Science program in partnership with the National Audubon Society.

Jess Hobbs

Jess Hobbs

Idea Generator, Maker, Social Sculptor

Collaboration is Jess's magic ingredient for success in work, community, art and life. This can be seen through her founding and directing work with Flux Foundation, All Power Labs and Flaming Lotus Girls.

From a lofty dream to concrete reality; Jess is well known for taking that ethereal idea and manifesting that substantial something. Whether taking on the challenge of design, founding an alternative energy company, or creating awe-inspiring-interactive sculptural experiences, she uses collaborative structure to create the bigger picture.

Michelle "Binka" Hlubinka

Michelle "Binka" Hlubinka

Michelle, or Binka, is the Director of Custom Programs for Maker Media, overseeing publications, outreach, and programming for kids, families, and schools. Before joining Maker Media in 2007, she worked at the Exploratorium, in Mitchel Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, and as a curriculum designer for various publishers and educational researchers. When she’s not supporting future makers, including her two young sons, Binka does some making of her own, most often as a visual artist.

  • Niamh

    This sounds like a fantastic blend of ecology and art. Do you know how many bird habitats have been created so far?

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