There’s a secret city within Picton in Prince Edward County, that isn’t very popular among humans. However, it’s all the rage for smaller critters. Welcome to Birdhouse City.
Located in Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area, this bird paradise is a quirky spot featuring over 80 elaborate miniature homes. But these aren’t just your classic old backyard birdhouses—there is a McDonalds, a Tim Horton’s, and an O.P.P. cruiser as well as many local buildings such as Salmon Point Lighthouse and Crystal Palace.
This paradise started in 1980 when Doug Harnes, the then superintendent for Prince Edward Region Conservation Authority (now Quinte Conservation) used his love and talent for woodworking to start making birdhouses.
The first build was a re-creation of the historic Massassauga Park Hotel. The birdhouse version is quite large, comes complete with 80 rooms, and is supported by 2 poles. Massassauga Park Hotel was a functioning hotel in the Massassauga Point Conservation Area until it was dismantled in the 1940s.
Maya Narvot, the Education and Stewardship Coordinator of Quinte Conservation, says, “the intent is to maintain the integrity of the original Birdhouse City mandate: to build and showcase birdhouses not just for birds and other wildlife but also to showcase birdhouses built as miniature replicas of Prince Edward County buildings”.
One of Maya’s favourite birdhouses in the City is the Massassauga Park Hotel partly because it’s located in one of her favourite conservation areas and partly because she enjoys, “standing at the old foundation and imaging when it was a bustling hotel with guests arriving by boat.”
In order to keep up with appearances, Birdhouse City has its own group of dedicated volunteers called The Friends of Birdhouse City. Members of the community are also welcome to reach out to Quinte Conservation if they have an interest in helping to refurbish an existing birdhouse or build their own to donate.
Want to build your own birdhouse? Follow this step-by-step video.