22nd Annual Birdhouse Competition

Part of Raulston Blooms!

  • Saturday, April 27, 2024 – 10:00 am3:00 pm

Register Register

It's that time of year again! The Birdhouse Competition returns to the JC Raulston Arboretum. What is a better way to celebrate the return of spring than with our 22nd Annual Birdhouse Competition?

If you love nature, birds, and unique garden art then this is the competition for you. Get out your sketch pad, paints and tool box to start building your creation today!

If making birdhouses is not your thing, then admiring them should be. Whether you join as a competitor or come to enjoy the creations, our 22nd Annual Birdhouse Competition will surely be an experience you never forget.

Registration is open now! Please register in advance here.

Birdhouse collage

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 26

9:00 am
Drop off window opens
4:00 pm
Members Only Spring Plant Sale opens
6:00 pm
Drop off window closes for judging – no birdhouse entries accepted after 6:00 pm
7:00 pm
Members Only Spring Plant Sale closes

Saturday, April 27

10:00 am
Raulston Blooms! and Plant Sale opens
Birdhouse Competition Showcase opens
3:00 pm
All activities conclude
Birdhouse Pick-up opens
6:00 pm
Birdhouse Pick-up closes

Monday, April 29

Entries can also be picked up between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on Monday. All entries must be picked up by 5:00 pm on Monday. Please email jcra-events@ncsu.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

Birdhouse Competition Details

Open to all ages! The competition is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about bird habitats, while expressing your own creativity.


Adult (ages 17 and above)
  • Functional
  • Flight of Fancy
  • Ages 5 and under
  • Ages 6–9
  • Ages 10–13
  • Ages 14–16
All Ages
  • Creativity for All!

Judging Criteria

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

All entries should be portable.

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 structures should be equipped with their own stand that can support the entry in an upright position on a floor.

As much as possible, entries should be prepared by the entrant.

Functional Birdhouse Example

Functional Category

Entries will be judged on:

    1. Functionality for humans and birds
    2. Craftsmanship
    3. Mountability, ability to be raised or lowered, type of material, ability to be cleaned out, hole(s), roof, and chamber diameter and depth
    4. Aesthetics

Note: Birdhouses entered into the Functional category can best be described as usable structures for birds. They will be judged using the criteria listed above in the order they are listed.

Flight of Fancy Birdhouse Example

Flight of Fancy Category

Entries will be judged on:

    1. Aesthetics
    2. Imaginative theme or concept and exceptional use of form, texture, and/or color, composition, and execution
    3. Craftsmanship
    4. Functionality for birds

Note: Birdhouses entered into the Flight of Fancy category can best be described as decorations. They will be judged using the criteria listed above in the order they are listed.

Birdhouse example for Creativity for all category

Creativity for All! Category (Open to all ages and abilities)

Entries will be judged on the basis of creativity! Judging for this category will take place on the day of Raulston Blooms! by Visitors’ Choice. Bring along your family and friends to vote for your birdhouse with their spare change.

This category is designed for individuals of all ages and all abilities, including individuals who live with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and varying abilities. Groups are invited to participate as well!

Kids Birdhouse example

Children Category (Ages 17 and under)

Entries will be judged on:

  • Aesthetics
  • Imaginative theme or concept; use of form, texture, and/or color
  • Craftsmanship
  • Functionality for bird

Note: Children's entries are judged holistically. They will not be judged in the order the criteria are listed.


Judges have a creative background (e.g., woodworking, ceramics, etc.) or are birders or wildlife enthusiasts. Youth judges typically have a youth education background. If you're interested in helping us judge this year's competition, please contact our Events Team at jcra-events@ncsu.edu.

Winners of the Judge's Choice and their honorable mentions will be announced on Sunday, April 28th on the JC Raulston Arboretum's social media. Want to find out the winners sooner? Come to Raulston Blooms! to see them in person.

Visitors' Choice Awards

All guests are invited to judge the birdhouses at Raulston Blooms! Use your spare change to vote for your favorite birdhouses. Vote for as many as you wish, there's no limit! Each 1¢ is worth one vote.

Winners of the Visitor's Choice Awards will be announced on the Monday, April 29th on the JC Raulston Arboretum's social media.

Raulston Blooms! Tickets

A Raulston Blooms! family ticket will be provided to everyone that enters a birdhouse in the competition. Invite your entire family to attend the event and see your birdhouse in the showcase and enjoy Raulston Blooms! and Plant Sale

Media Sponsor

The JC Raulston Arboretum would like to thank the Triangle Gardener for being the birdhouse competition's media sponsor.

Triangle Gardener logo

Proceeds from Raulston Blooms! benefit the daily operations of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Raulston Blooms! is sponsored by and fund-raising efforts 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 competition: Free! Plus all participants receive a ticket to attend Raulston Blooms! and Plant Sale.
Advance registration is required. Registration is open now! Register here.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC 27606.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available along Beryl Road. The JC Raulston Arboretum parking lot is reserved for handicapped parking only.
Contact the JCRA Events Team at jcra-events@ncsu.edu for more information about this event.