Going to the birds: Caledonia resident uses his spare time to build birdhouses

April 9, 2010 10:53:00 AM

Allen Baswell - [email protected]


CALEDONIA -- Carey Bray has many passions in life. Along with his wife Cynthia and daughter Cassidy, Bray strongly believes in two other things. 


"I have a passion for woodworking and a passion for animals. Through my work, I am able to combine both," Bray said. 


Bray spends most of his time building birdhouses at his home on Ridge Road near Caledonia. But that is not all he does. 


Bray said also works on remodeling houses, including those needing repair from water damage. Yet most of the time, he can be found working on new birdhouses. 


"Woodworking is something I have enjoyed doing since I was a teenager, so this is what I do when I''m not working on remodeling houses," he said. 


In the 20-plus years Bray has built birdhouses and bird feeders, he said that he has sold "a lot of them," but he has also donated some. 


"We donated one of our bet pieces of work to the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society. Five percent of every sale we make goes to help the Humane Society," Bray said. 


Bray said he wants to help those who do not have their own voice to ask for help. 


"Every time I see something about animals being mistreated, it makes me sad, and I love animals. They are just as much a part of this world as we are," he said. 


His love of animals extends to birds, which is why he enjoys building places for them to stay. 


"I want to provide a habitat for the birds, and I want to make sure the houses are designed and built right," he said. 


Bray said he likes to use cedar, cypress and spruce wood when he is building either a birdhouse or feeder.  


"I also use waterproof carpenter glue when I am building these, I want to make sure they are made with quality products so they can last for many years," he said. 


Proof of the fact Bray keeps busy with birdhouse and bird feeder building comes from how many orders he has received in recent days. 


"I have a list of eight people wanting Carey to build birdhouses. That is a lot of people," said his wife, Cynthia. 


No one birdhouse is built the same size or design, according to Bray. 


"Building one for a chickadee is not the same as building one for a blue bird or a sparrow. Sometimes a sparrow may try to move in to a chickadee house. The size of the hole from them to go inside is important too. For instance, for a chickadee house, the hole has to be one inch, and the interior has to be 4-by-4 at minimum," he said. 


Bray said he is careful about the paint on the birdhouses and feeders, so it does not contain toxic chemicals. 


"I use non-toxic products, including a non-toxic sealant so the birds do not breathe in any type of toxic chemicals," he said. 


Bray said he is able to find the products he needs to build the birdhouses or bird feeders at local merchants. 


"I usually go to Lowe''s or Cash and Carry to get my wood and other things I need," he said. 


Working on the birdhouses and feeders takes more than just one person, Bray said. As Cynthia take orders from customers and Carey builds them, Cassidy helps with painting them. 


"She does a good job not only painting them, but she has helped in decorating some with marbles," he said. 


Bray said he has been asked to make birdhouses that reflect the owner''s love of their favorite college or professional sports team. 


"I am making a birdhouse for an Alabama fan that has the ''A'' logo, and is painted crimson and white," he said. 


For his father-in-law, Bray made a birdhouse with the New Orleans Saints logo. 


"I have a friend who is a graphic designer who helped with the logo and helmet," he said. 


To find out more about Bray and his birdhouses and bird feeders, contact him at 662-386-4835. 


Bray said he does this for more than just the joy of building something. 


"I do this for the animals," he said.

Allen Baswell is a former staff reporter for The Dispatch