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  • Virginia M. Wright

I know who started the Moscow, Maine birdhouse wall!

Updated: May 31, 2021

Rae Wren has come clean: It was she who installed the first birdhouse on a Route 201 retaining wall in Moscow, Maine, in 2007, unwittingly inspiring hundreds of copycats in the years since. The wall is now a giant guestbook for people visiting the Upper Kennebec Valley, a destination for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and rafting. Their birdhouses are often signed and dated to commemorate their stay in the area.

Rae contacted me at Down East several months after our feature about the wall appeared in the September 2017 issue. Worried she might be accused of vandalism, she signed off as

"Birdie," but, emboldened by the fact that a retired state trooper is among the wall’s decorators, she recently agreed to share her story. “I figure I’m probably not going to be charged with criminal mischief,” she says. Her first birdhouse, a cheery blue box, was a wink to her aunt, who thought the abutment was so ugly she called it “the wall of shame.” In late July, Wren helped me install a Down East-themed birdhouse, bringing the number of houses currently on the wall to 347.

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