Hentila has birdhouse room in his NY Mills home

Kathryn Wilkowski
Ed Hentila of New York Mills poses in front of the designated “birdhouse” room in his home; here he will put together, glue, paint, and sell his favorite hobby. 

By Kathryn Wilkowski


Though Minnesota’s state bird is the common loon, Minnesota is also home of at least 266 documented bird species. 

Ed Hentila, of New York Mills, has been in the bird-house-making business for over 20 years, and sells them at local stores all throughout Mills. 

As a kid, Hentila learned the art of making bird houses from his father. 

“He was a carpenter. I was the only kid so I ended up helping him out with a lot of carpentry. It was something we bonded over.”

Ed Hentila

As Hentila got older, he worked diligently on his farm, south of New York Mills until retirement. 

“After I quit farming, me and my wife decided to do something together,” he said. “I cut them up and glued them together, and then she painted them. I give a lot of them away, but I sell some of them too.”

After his wife, Merlyn Hentila, passed away in 2009, he kept on the tradition of making and selling birdhouses for the community.

“It keeps me moving, it’s like playing with tinker toys,” he said. “At first it was something me and my wife bonded over but now I do it all. I make them and paint them all.”

To buy any of Hentila’s birdhouses, many are on display at local stands or at the grocery store. To contact, look up Ed Hentila in the phone book.