If a man builds a better birdhouse, will the world beat a path to its door?
Gosh no, the birds won't even use it.
What more could a sparrow want? here is this elaborate structure complete with living room chandelier, door knocker, porch lights -- just about everything except a cat compactor.
"Don't ask me," shrugged Leonard Wonenber. Here we've got this housing shortage in Southern California and I can't find tenants."
The burly Wonenberg spends most of his time trucking bananas to Canada. But between hauls he likes to do things with his hands, and of late he has taken to building custom birdhouses, which he gives away.
His fifth and most elaborate creation rests on posts on the back yard of his daughter's home in Fullerton, about 25 miles southeast of Los Angeles. It is three feet long, two feet high and is wired with electricity. It took him six weeks to complete.
The real estate ad might read: "Great starter home. Has two swings on the ceiling."
"It took a lot of imagination," said the 54-year-old Wonenberg. "For the lighting, including the street lamp out front, I used dashboard bulbs from a truck.
"The steps are handles from shoeshine brushes. The frames for the house number came from my wife's lipstick case."
The door knocker is a drawer pull from a dresser, the chandelier is made of cupboard teacup hooks.
From the beamed to the springloaded door, the plywood home is in move-in condition.
But so far only two birds have been seen near it -- and they stayed outside.
An explanation for the boycott came from Mrs. Olga Clarke of the Los Angeles Audubon Society:
"Birds tend to like natural things. If a bird had been nesting in a hole in a tree, he doesn't want any extras. All that other stuff is just to please people."
But this doesn't discourage Wonenberg, who is already talking about building again.
Maybe he should just add a wing.