William "Birdhouse Willy" Barr is a local independent business owner, creating specialty birdhouses and feeders in his garage workshop at home in Port Perry. Barr has been constructing birdhouses since he was eight years old. He started by using old Allen's apple juice cans and scrap wood and still uses recycled products to create his more intricate designs, such as the old barn wood that he salvaged to create his latest birdhouses.
Barr was given the nickname "Birdhouse Willy" in 1975 by a young man with down syndrome who Barr befriended and mentored. The name stuck, as did Barr's passion for helping those with special needs or those in a difficult situations.
Barr operates his business from home, out of his garage, which serves as a workshop and display room. He shares his home with his wife of 61 years, Sherley. Barr calls her "his Little Wren.”
Barr has had several accidents with his saw, severing three fingers on his left hand on two separate occasions. Despite his accidents, Barr shows no fear in handling his workshop equipment. The 83-year-old says that sometimes he'll have to stop when the machines aren't 'cooperating,' but he'll go inside to take a break then come back out to work in a couple of hours when he's more relaxed.
For William "Birdhouse Willy" Barr, it all comes down to a love for the birds.