17th Annual Birdhouse Competition

Part of Raulston Blooms!

  • Friday, March 31, 2017 – 10:00 am6:00 pm – Entries Accepted
  • Saturday, April 1, 2017 – 9:00 am4:00 pm – Show

Imaginations Run Wild—Birds Take Flight

It's that time of year again! The Birdhouse Competition returns to the JC Raulston Arboretum. If making birdhouses is not your thing, then looking at them should be. The creations range from barrels of laughs to studies in craftsmanship and beauty. Pack up the whole brood and join the fun.

birdhouses on display

Schedule of Events

Friday, March 31, 2017

10:00 am
Registration opens
4:00 pm
JCRA Plant Sale (members-only preview sale) opens
6:00 pm
Registration closes – no birdhouse entries accepted after 6:00 pm
6:30 pm
7:00 pm
JCRA Plant Sale closes

Saturday, April 1, 2017

9:00 am
Raulston Blooms! opens
JCRA Plant Sale opens
17th Annual Birdhouse Competition opens
4:00 pm
All activities conclude
Entries may be picked up – no entries allowed to leave prior to 4:00 pm
5:00 pm
Entry pickup closes

Monday, April 3, 2017

Entries may be picked up between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm on Monday. Entries not removed by 6:00 pm will become the property of the JCRA.

Birdhouse Competition Details

Open to adults and children. If you love the natural world and unique garden art, get out your sketch pad, paints, and tool box. The competition is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about bird habitats, while expressing your own creativity.


Adult (Ages 17 and above)
  • Serious
  • Flight of Fancy

  • Ages 4–6
  • Ages 7–9
  • Ages 10–12
  • Ages 13–16

Judging Criteria

Each participant may enter more than one birdhouse. There's no limit.


Entries will be judged on:

  • Craftsmanship
  • Functionality for humans and birds
  • Mountability, ability to be raised or lowered, type of material, ability to be cleaned out, hole, roof, chamber (hole diameter, depth)
  • Aesthetics
Note: Birdhouses entered into the Serious category can best be described as working birdhouses. They will be judged using the criteria listed above in the order they are listed.

Flight of Fancy

Entries will be judged on:

  • Aesthetics
  • Imaginative theme or concept and exceptional use of form, texture, and/or color, composition, and execution
  • Craftsmanship
  • Functionality for birds (hole, roof, chamber, etc.)
Note: Birdhouses entered into the Flights of Fancy category can best be described as decorator birdhouses. They will be judged using the criteria listed above in the order they are listed.

Please note the order in which the judging criteria are listed. These are listed in the order of importance for each category.

Children (Ages 4–16)

Entries will be judged on:

  • Aesthetics
  • Imaginative theme or concept; use of form, texture and/or color
  • Craftsmanship
  • Functionality for birds (hole, roof, chamber, etc.)

All entries should be portable.

Most entries should be able to stand alone when placed upon a display table. If they cannot stand on their own, please bring a stand to help display the birdhouse. Large birdhouses should be equipped with their own stand that can support the birdhouse in an upright position on a floor. As much as possible, children's entries should be prepared by the entrant.


We'll need six judges, three for the adult categories and three for the youth categories. Ideal judges have a creative background (e.g., woodworking, ceramics, etc.) or are birders. A background in youth education is ideal for the youth category judges. If you're interested in helping us judge this year's competition, please contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or chris_glenn@ncsu.edu.

Visitors' Choice Awards

All guests are invited to judge the birdhouses on Saturday. Use your spare change to vote for your favorite birdhouses. There's no limit. Vote for as many as you wish. Each 1¢ is worth one vote. Winners of the Visitor's Choice Awards will be announced on the JCRA's Web site and our Facebook page. Your spare change votes support the JC Raulston Arboretum’s general fund within the NC Agricultural Foundation, Inc. (Tax ID 56-604930).

Raulston Blooms! Tickets

Raulston Blooms! tickets will be provided everyone that enters a birdhouse in the competition. Invite your entire family to attend the event and see your birdhouse in the competition, shop the Spring Plant Sale, and enjoy Raulston Blooms!

Media Sponsors

The JC Raulston Arboretum would like to thank the News & Observer for being the birdhouse competition's media sponsor.

Proceeds from Raulston Blooms! benefit the daily operations and programs of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Fund-raising efforts for the JC Raulston Arboretum operate under the auspices of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit (tax ID 56-6049304).

All ages.
Cost to enter birdhouse(s): free. Birdhouse builders receive a free ticket to attend Raulston Blooms! Raulston Blooms! admission: free for members, $5.00 for nonmembers, $10.00 per family. Raulston Blooms! admission includes admission to the birdhouse competition and plant sale, too.
Advance registration is requested. Please register online using our registration e-store. Onsite registration will also be available on March 31.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center at the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this event.