Free Birdhouses By Fred – Looking Out for Our Fine Feathered Friends

Each year, more than 45 million Americans take part in birdwatching, spending approximately $41 billion on birdwatching-related trips and equipment to help feed and house birds in their own backyards. Spending time outdoors with our fine feathered friends increased during the pandemic with many staying home and having more time to interact with nature. Fred Willett, of Clemmons, Navy veteran and retired WSFC teacher, has combined an interest in building with birds and has made more than 500 birdhouses and given each of them away.  

HGTV-Inspired Project Grew and Grew

Although Fred and his wife, Flo, love watching the birds in their own yard, going from that to building birdhouses for others’ yards may seem to be a stretch, and you’d be surprised what inspired Fred to start his hobby.

“A couple years ago, I was watching the series Home Town on HGTV, and I became fascinated with Ben Napier’s, one of the stars of the show, building skills, to the point that I wanted to try my own hand at building. I built a few rough birdhouses and gave them away; bought a few hand tools and improved on my skills. I asked around to find takers for my birdhouses, but soon ran out of people to ask. I then found the website ‘Next Door’ and wrote a blurb about my wife and myself, offering to give away free birdhouses to anyone who asked. Now, this undertaking has become my ‘birdhouse ministry.’ I love giving away birdhouses, meeting and talking to so many new people and sharing the gospel through a book I include with each birdhouse entitled, ‘The Life and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth,’” said Fred. Most recipients follow up with “thank you” notes and many thank Fred with a good hug, which is always appreciated. 

A Small Workshop and a Big Heart Go a Long Way

Fred began his birdhouse project with varying styles, but now focuses on bluebird houses because they are popular and easier to make.

“I have a small workshop in my basement with the necessary tools; I get my wood from wherever I can find it. Folks have been kind to donate wood, and I hit the scrap piles as well. I do not buy the wood because it is so expensive. The birdhouses are free and, so far, I have given away 508 of them. Sometimes folks want to pay me for my time and materials, and I let them know that any money I receive goes to a church in Kenya that our Sunday School class has been helping to sponsor for several years. On occasion, I have to shut down my Next Door site because I have so many orders and need to go down into the basement and turn on some tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s country music, and start building,” Fred commented. 

Fred and Flo deliver the birdhouses on Mondays, after the finish work with the Storehouse of Jesus in Mocksville. Fred doesn’t ship his birdhouses and only delivers them in person. 

“My wife, Flo, and I love our birdies and, in our small backyard, we have seven houses, three feeders and three birdbaths. I tell people to be patient when they put up a birdhouse; the birds will find it. Flo and I enjoy sitting on the back deck watching the birds. God did well with birds for sure!” stated Fred.

If you would like to donate wood to Fred, please contact him at since there are certain types and sizes of wood that can be used. You can also contact Fred to request a birdhouse.


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