Buy a blingin’ bird house for charity |

Buy a blingin’ bird house for charity

AE Jarrod's Bird House DT 6-12-07

Jared Staber’s birdhouse will complement any valley chateau that shadows it. At its core, Staber was going for a bird’s nest ” you know, roundish, bowl-shaped space but with a few Vail starter castle features: hardwood floors, solar panel powered lights, xeriscaped garden, slate walkway and steps, and wood deck. It’s tantamount to the 10,000 square foot log “cabins” tucked around the valley.

“It takes the basic idea of what a bird lives in and then makes it a Vail resident,” Staber, 26, said.

The whole project took Staber around 40 hours spread out over a week-and-a-half, he estimated. The best part is it’s all for charity. The Vail Symposium decided to host a Build a Better Bird House competition to hold in conjunction with Saturday’s Healthy Homes Tour in Eagle. The 15 or so bird houses the symposium collected over the past month or so will be displayed at the Healthy Homes Expo (taking place in conjunction with the Healthy Homes Tour) from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday at Brush Creek Elementary School in Eagle. At the end, the houses will be auctioned off with the proceeds benifiting the two nonprofits hosting the event: The Vail Symposium and the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.

Before Staber even found a basket or gathered wood he sat down to sketch out some ideas, including a detailed front elevation and a ground plan of the house he envisioned in his head. He took a hike outside of Twin Lakes near Leadville to gather wood chips and twigs, bought the cactus plants and the solar panels from Home Depot in Avon and scavenged the rest of the building materials from a friend’s garage.

The roof has a log frame, the base features a wench to make sure it’ll attach snugly to a tree some day and if the bird that moves in turns out to be a “night owl,” the solar-panel-powered light will be a big hit.

That’s some spoiled bird.

“This house is seeking a one-acre plot of land in Cordillera or Bachelor Gulch, with a pond and a worthy tree to perch on,” Staber said.

So what’s it worth?

We’ll know come Saturday after the silent auction finishes but in the meantime, Staber has high hopes.

“I thought it would be funny if it sold for a million dollars and I didn’t think it would be unheard of for someone to spend a million dollars for charity, but it will likely bring in much less because it doesn’t have the lot in Bachelor Gulch to go with it ” yet.”

All in all the birdhouse entries ” 15 so far ” were pretty impressive, said Fraidy Aber, Vail Symposium director.

“I thought people were pretty inventive,” she said. “The birdhouses that we received spanned the gamut in shapes sizes and materials. From old toys, to corks, to reconfigured steel, to soup cans, people really used their imagination ” and home extras. I think this may change the way people look at their items before they are tossed, perhaps they can create something exceptional.”

Six-year-old August Mayer drew a plan for his cuckoo clock bird house, made from scrap wood, metal rebar and a used toy, before he began building it, Aber said.

To create the bird house titled “The Early Bird Gets the Worm,” the crew at TV8 “retasked a television studio lamp instead of sending it to the landfill,” they wrote on their entry form.

Heather Schultz, owner of Holy Toledo, Minturn’s consignment shop, constructed a miniature version of the white, red roofed church the store is housed in ” complete with stained-glass windows.

“My husband joked it looked like an eighth grader did it,” Schultz said.

It took Schultz a few hours over the course of two days to build the house. Though Schultz liked having an artistic project, she did it more for the cause, to raise money for the symposium, she said.

“I clearly was not in it to win it,” Schultz said, laughing.

Even so, she hopes someone will buy the house, find a spot in their yard for it and that a bird will eventually move in to the tiny church.

“It’ll be one holy little bird,” she said.

Caramie Schnell can be reached at 748-2984 or

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