I have a 2000 sq ft woodworking shop with a mezzanine floor where my small flock of parakeets (budgies) live. They love chasing each other through the shop near the ceiling and never venture downstairs where I work, which is great for all of us. They have taken to perching on a piece of chair I have screwed to the wall and I didn't really want them on that, so I decided to make them a natural branch perch.
Step 1: Go Out and Get a Big Branch
I found a 5-6' branch in the yard and thought that would make a nice perch, its more natural than the chair piece. I needed to suspend it somehow and didn't want to mess with drilling holes through the steel girders that my shop is built from. So I decided to attach the branch to a piece of scrap wood that way I could move it around, in case they didn't take to it.
Step 2: Get a Scrap of Wood for the Plaque
I used some 3/4" plywood, you could go with something solid like pine or hardwood. The board I found was 11" wide and I chopped off the rough end to make it around 18". I figured making it rectangle would encourage the plaque to stay put since its balanced at the bottom more. I used a 3/4" forestner bit to make a hole that was smaller in diameter than the branch end. Always put a scrap piece under what you drill through to make a cleaner hole, otherwise you'll get tear out.
Step 3: Trim Your Branch, Remove Bark and Fit to the Hole
I used a pull saw to trim a nice squarish end on the branch, it doesn't have to be perfect. I then used a spokeshave to remove the bark and reduce the branch size to fit snuggly into the hole. I think bark is spongier and wouldn't make a very solid connection.
Step 4: Cut a Kerf in Your Branch
I did this to tighten up the joint, the kerf will receive the wedge you will see in the next step. Simply make two cuts side by side and angle them to meet around where the face of the board will be (the front)
Step 5: Make a Kerf Wedge
I used a piece of oak since its a good hard wood and will hold up over time. I sanded it on my disc sander to make the tip wedged. Then cut it to length with about a half an inch extra to make hammering it in easier.
Step 6: Glue the Branch Into the Board
After you have all the components simply put them together. Make sure to coat all surfaces with glue, its better to have too much than not enough. I use pallet knives to get the glue down in the kerf, and coat both sides of the wedge. Then put the board onto the branch (I held the branch in my vice) and hammer the wedge into place. Now simply wipe extra glue away and trim wedge flush with the back side of the board. Set the whole thing to the side and let it sit over night.
Step 7: Hang Up Your New Perch!
The birds love being near the ceiling so I hung it about 15-20' off the ground near the chair I didn't want them on. I put a 3" drywall screw through the board and into a stud. I only took a couple of hours and they are using it more and more. It works well, the board doesn't move a bit, but the branch sways when they land much the same as a tree branch. As they pile on the branch, it sways more like a swing for them to play on. I was able to get a pic of one of them using it, usually they fly around so much its hard to get a shot! Hope this inspires someone to make something similar. Thanks for looking!