Connect With Nature And See How To Build A Bird Box Easily

Having a garden, whether it’s a big or a small one, with or no grass, you can find plenty of ways to upgrade it. Especially if you’re one of those you like bird watching! There’s an idea to both boost your garden’s atmosphere and appearance and get on with your favourite obsession. The idea is to build a bird box.

A green bird box with an entrance hole mounted on a tree

Many homeowners, who have a garden, have probably done many projects concerning their outdoor space’s improvement. For example, they may have upgraded their garden with gravel or have built a raised garden bed. But, when it comes to building a bird box, it is something completely different. It’s a great opportunity for someone to connect with nature, plus it doesn’t require any special skills. So, are you ready to learn how to build one? Let’s dive in!

Bird boxes: Their importance to nature

Bird boxes, along with birdbaths and bird feeders, are a great option to upgrade your garden. Nesting boxes provide birds with a safe shelter to build their nests and breed protected from the natural elements and predators, especially if there aren’t enough tree trunks. But that’s not the only reason someone might want to build one in the garden. Thinking about building bird nestlings and attracting birds to your space could also benefit you in other ways. Have a look!

  1. Birds can control pests. Their favourite snack is insects. Hence, they’ll eliminate pests found in your garden, and you won’t have to use harmful pesticides to protect your plants and vegetables.
  2. Garden birds can control weeds. Except for insects, birds also like eating seeds.
  3. They can help with flower pollination. As weird as it may sound, many species love sipping flowers’ nectar and pollinate, like bees.
  4. Children will find out about the natural world. For example, they’ll have the chance to learn how birds teach their young to feed and fly and how they let them out into the world.
  5. Building one help birds to survive and not get harmed from high winds and frequent rain in the UK.

Build your own bird box step-by-step

It doesn’t require lots of materials. Just a single piece of wood is enough to create a shelter for the lovely birds. You don’t need extreme carpentry skills, which is why anyone can do it. Ready to see how to build yours?

A man building a wooden bird house

Here’s a list with the needed materials:

  • A plank of wood 15cm x 1.4m long x 1.5-1.8cm thick and not pressure treated
  • Pencil and tape measure
  • A saw
  • A hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Nails
  • A strip of waterproof rubber or roofing felt, a small patch
  • Drill
  • A hole saw/ cutter for making small holes
  • A ladder
  • Screws
  • Water-based paint

Now that you know all the needed materials and tools check our step-by-step guide on how to build it.

Step 1

Start by dividing the piece of wood (you can use exterior-quality plywood, hardwoods for something more sturdy, or a softwood) into six sections and cut them using these measurements:

  • back panel 45cm x 15cm
  • base 11cm x 15cm
  • front 20cm x 15cm
  • roof 21cm x 15cm

You’ll also need to cut two side panels for creating your sloping roof: 25cm high at the back x 20cm high at the front.

To ensure that you have the right measures, use a tape measure and mark with your pencil. Then, using your wood saw, cut along the pencil lines—afterwards, sand all the rough edges.

preparing and cutting the wood pieces

Step 2

After cutting the wood, it’s time to nail the bird nest box. Start by nailing all the parts of the nesting box, apart from the roof. Use your hammer, but don’t press too much to avoid damaging the materials. Before nailing the front panel, you’ll have to make an entrance hole using a wide drill bit. Depending on the bird species you’d like to attract in your garden, adjust the hole size. For example, if you want to attract blue, coal tits and marsh tits, create a 25mm hole. For great tits, you need a 28mm hole. On the other hand, house sparrows and nuthatches will need a 32mm hole, or if you prefer having Robins and Spotted Flycatchers, you can build an open-fronted box.

Extra Tip: Drill a 1x8mm drainage hole for rainwater into the base. 

nailing the wood pieces together to create the bird box

Step 3

Once you have made the entrance hole, you can attach the front panel. Place the box on its back and nail the front to the sides, ensuring there are no gaps between the sides. To clean it easily, you should use self-tapping screws to fix the top to the sides and the front.

attaching the front panel to the bird box

Step 4

Now, you can attach the roof. Using a waterproof strip, make a hinge between the top edge of the roof and the backside. You can use a  piece of bicycle tyre inner tube, damp-proof membrane, or roofing felt.

attaching the roof of the bird box and finishing it

Step 5

Your bird box is ready. You only need to decorate it and hung it. Get your ideal water-based paint and paint it as you like. You can draw patterns, symbols or you can leave it as it is. Just don’t forget to choose a non-toxic water-based paint for your birds’ shake.

painting your bird box with water based paint

Step 6

Once the box has dried, you can mount it. Drill a hole at the top of the box and mount it to the spot you wish using a screw.

mounting the bird box to the location of your choice

Finding the right place for your bird box

When you’re looking for the right nesting site, the first place to look is under the eaves of your house, on a wall and, of course, on trees. But that’s not enough as there are some things you need to consider and will determine your final decision. In addition, some factors are vital for the well being of both the bird nest box and the nesting birds.

  1. The first thing you should keep in mind is the “privacy” and the birds’ safety. In other words, you should fix the bird box in a place far away from humans, and of course, the cats. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to build it on a tree or a wall. The most important factor you need to consider is keeping a bird nest box away from the enemies.
  2. What’s more, the proper orientation is also important for the nest’s proper use by its inhabitants. For example, a bird nest should face between southeast and north. Facing anywhere else, birds will have to deal with direct sunlight and heavy rain. Plus, the box has to be inclined a bit forward for the roof to prevent rain from entering the nesting box.
  3. Finally, avoid placing the bird nest box near a bird table or feeding area. Different birds will come and go, preventing breeding in the box.

Depending on the number and the type of bird species you want to attract to your garden, you can build the corresponding nest boxes. And that’s because many species, like blue tits, don’t like to live close to other pairs. Hopefully, there are other ones, such as tree sparrows, which don’t mind nesting close to others.

Cleaning your bird box the right way

Spring cleaning doesn’t concern only your house. Nestboxes also need to be cleaned as well. But, not every spring. More specifically, every time a breeding season ends, in October or November. You should remove all the old nesting materials during these months and clean the box with boiling water to eliminate parasites. Avoid using any insecticides or flea-powders to clean it.

You need to be very careful, though, if you find any unhatched eggs in the nest. You are legal to remove and destroy them only from October to January. After that, don’t consider keeping them cause you’ll have law problems according to the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

A blue tit feeding its chick in a bird box mounted on a wall

Birds are an important part of any garden. By choosing the right birdhouse and the right spot to build it in your garden, you’ll be benefitted. Mount some bird boxes around your space and attract different species. After a few days, we promise you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed.

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