Drivers traveling along Milton Way may notice a myriad of birdhouses greeting them from Alder Ridge Senior Apartments, located at 2800 Alder St. The houses come from the mind of Jerry Borderlon, a resident of Alder Ridge who over the last year has crafted more than 30 unique birdhouses to decorate the grounds of the senior living facility.
Borderlon began the project in order to utilize flagpoles on the grounds that were just going to waste. Residents on that side of the building loved them so much that neighbors on the other side wanted birdhouse views too, so Borderlon continued his work. He also decided to get creative with his designs, making everything from airports to old west saloons for our feathered friends.
“I started thinking, well I can’t keep building a standard little birdhouse. It can be anything really. It can be whatever idea you want. The birds don’t really care, so let’s make something fun and that’s what I started to do,” Borderlon said.
Borderlon repurposed an empty former trash room into his workshop, and has always had a project on his plate since then. Whenever a resident has something they might throw away, Borderlon is thinking about how he can turn it into a birdhouse. One of his more creative creations involves a repackaged Folger’s coffee can that a neighbor was going to throw away.
“We called it ‘Cup A Joe.’ It was stuff that [a neighbor] was going to throw it away and I said hey let me try it, and I just tried it,” Borderlon said.
This can-do attitude has given Borderlon a whole list of ideas he works from when he has time. Alder Ridge recently received a new bus for transportation, and Borderlon was creative enough to reuse the old license plates and turn them into a birdhouse.
Borderlon draws inspiration from residents in the building, including making a cantina based on his wife’s old tavern. Another resident requested a bank, which was completed just a short time later.
Borderlon sets up themes for various houses. After gathering some water damaged deck wood, he decided it was perfect for a western theme and created a jailhouse and saloon.
Despite having no real experience painting, Borderlon is self-taught and every house brings a new spark of color to Alder Ridge. No matter how professional they look, Borderlon is not looking to make a profit – he does it strictly for the smiles.
“I don’t sell them. The only reason I make them is to have people smile when they go out the front door. That’s the whole reason for it really, to brighten your day. So that’s what I did. I started making them and people liked them.”