Contemporary Design

Mycelium birdhouse

by Johannes Kaarakainen
a birdhouse made of mycelium hanging from a tree

My work is a reinterpretation of a simple traditional birdhouse. It is made by moulding mycelium-based material that is fully natural, biodegradeable and sustainable.

In a world where growing numbers of people live in cities and suburbs, our relationship with forests is changing. For people who have grown and lived in the close presence of nature, forests can be a normal part of everyday life. For some, on the other hand, they can represent something unknown, intimidating, mysterious or dangerous.

The project started from an idea of creating a concept that would help in forming a more personal connection with forest and its inhabitants. Crafting a nesting place for a bird is a concrete way of empathizing and relating to an animal of another species, and also provides a reason for actually going into a forest. Searching for an appropriate location for the birdhouse helps in understanding a bit more about the particular bird species and its living environment.

Unlike a traditional wooden birdhouse, the mycelium birdhouse can be made without any special tools. Crafting one is possible even in spaces like small apartments, where noise and mess caused by woodworking tools could be a problem.

Project, photos and video: Johannes Kaarakainen

Length: 10–11,5 cm Weight: 8-10 g

Nesting sites: Rotting tree-stumps, holes in the ground, burrows of mice and rabbits, birdhouses. Do not excavate holes themselves.

Distribution: Widely spread around Europe and Asia in the Northern hemisphere

Living habitat: Spruce stands and mixed forests Diet: Seeds and invertebrates

Migration: Sedentary, but may range longe distances on years when spruce seeds are in short supply

General information on the species:

Links to sources: (

IUCN Red List (

Birdlife Finland (

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