If you drive by Rhonda Rooker's house in Tyler, it's clear she loves birdhouses.
"Actually, it's my mother's fault. She started it with the first one," says Rhonda Rooker, a Tyler birdhouse collector.
Her first birdhouse turned in to more birdhouses than you can count, and almost all of them are made in East Texas.
"I would rather have something that someone has handmade, has taken time and effort to put into it, and I like when they re purpose things," Rooker says.
Everything from license plates, to watering cans, and even gourds have been re purposed in this collection. And yes, birds actually live in her birdhouses.
"It's fun to watch them as the little ones get big enough to fly and mom starts pushing them out," says Rooker.
Watching the birds is a fun pastime for the Rooker family and it's also a conversation starter for passersby.
"I had one man just recently who stopped and wanted to know if I had any of them for sale! He wanted to buy some. I told him nope, you'll have to go find yours someplace else," Rooker says with a laugh.
Rooker claims she comes from a long line of collectors and shares her passion for birdhouses with her mother and sisters.
"I think she's given some to my sisters too so we've all benefited from her collection," Rooker says.
But Rooker has another sort of collection, and jokes about how it's not what it seems.
"Some of the neighbors think we do it to try and feed the cats," says Rooker, but she assures everyone that she puts the birdhouses where the cats can't reach them.
When asked if there is such a thing as too many birdhouses, Rooker said, "Yes, I have finally stopped … well maybe!"
After 25 years of collecting, I think "maybe" is a safer bet.
Rooker says she kept her birdhouse collection inside until she ran out of room. She then decided to hang them up as a fun way to decorate and hopefully spread the joy that birdhouses bring her.
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