How to make a bird box

12 October 2018

Making a bird nesting box is a one of the best ways of attracting birds into your garden. It’s really simple and can be made from a single plank of wood that only costs a few pounds.

This easy-to-make box may soon be home to any number of birds, from coal tits, marsh tits and blue tits to tree or house sparrows. So here’s how to make a bird box.

What you’ll need

  • Wood
  • Pencil and tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Handsaw
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Sealing tape
  • Drill
  • Optional: a hole saw/cutter for making 3.2cm holes
  • Screws

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Measure and cut your wood according to the diagram. Sand down all the rough edges to protect the birds from injury.
  2. The inside front surface should be rough to help birds clamber up. Scoring horizontal lines with your saw should do the trick.
  3. Drill some drainage holes in the base to stop the inside from going damp.
  4. Using a wide drill bit, make an entrance hole for the type of bird you want to attract.*
  5. Leave the roof panel to one side, and nail all the remaining pieces together.
  6. Attach the roof by using screws, so you can get into the box when it’s empty to clean it out. Make a hinge between the top edge of the roof and the backing board. Use a waterproof strip like roofing felt or bicycle tyre inner tube.
  7. Decorate your bird box with non-toxic water-based paints.
  8. Choose a spot that has easy access for your garden birds, and is far out of the reach of cats and other predators.

There’s no guarantee that birds will use your box, but with a bit of time it’s likely that someone will take up residence.

* Your bird box entrance will need to be 25 mm for coal tits, marsh tits and blue tits; 28 mm for great tits and tree sparrows; and 32 mm for nuthatches and house sparrows. A starling box needs to be 25-30% larger with an entrance 45 mm across.

Updated: 30 January 2019

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