How to Make a Bird Nesting Box

How to Make a Bird Nesting Box
If you enjoy bird watching, you've probably thought about building a bird house. If you don't care about the type of bird you attract, you can build whatever design you like. This isn't the case if you're targeting a specific species. Birds have preferences, just like us, and entry hole size, nest box design and site location are important to them. Here's a basic design that appeals to most songbirds.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 1-inch by 6-inch board, 6 feet long Workbench or two sawhorses Tape measure Carpenter's square Pencil Jigsaw Miter saw Power drill with screw bits 1.5-inch hole saw Round file or sandpaper Quarter-inch drill bit Awl (optional) 18 galvanized-steel wood screws Two pivot screws Baling wire Wire cutters
  • 1-inch by 6-inch board, 6 feet long
  • Workbench or two sawhorses
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's square
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Miter saw
  • Power drill with screw bits
  • 1.5-inch hole saw
  • Round file or sandpaper
  • Quarter-inch drill bit
  • Awl (optional)
  • 18 galvanized-steel wood screws
  • Two pivot screws
  • Baling wire
  • Wire cutters
Step 1
Cut the parts. On one side of the board, with your tape measure and pencil, measure and mark both edges at 4 inches (for the bottom), 8 1/2 inches (for the top), 10 inches (for the front), and 17 inches (for the back). Draw a line between your marks with the carpenter's square. The remaining side pieces are 10 inches on one side and 12 inches on the other. Lay these pieces out so the angled line is between them.

Cut along each line with your jigsaw to get the parts for your nest box. Get the roof piece and cut matching 45 degree angles, with your miter saw, at each 5 1/2-inch edge. Cut another 45 degree angle at one 5 1/2-inch edge of the front piece.
Step 2
Modify the parts. Get the front piece and measure 1 1/8 inches down from the 5 1/2-inch side that has the 45 degree angle. Put a pencil mark here and cross it with a second mark 2 3/4 inches in from a 10-inch side. Center the half-inch hole saw, in your cordless drill, on the X mark you just made. Drill out the entry hole and smooth the edges with a round file or sandpaper.

Get the bottom piece and drill a few quarter-inch drainage holes in it. Get the side pieces and drill a few quarter inch ventilation holes near the angled cut of each one. Measure 9 inches up, from the non-angled 5 1/2 inch edge of a side piece, and put a pivot screw mark along its 10 and 12-inch edge.
Step 3
Assemble the parts. Center the side piece, that doesn't have pivot screw marks, along one 17-inch edge of the back piece and screw it into place. Flush the bottom piece with the non-angled edge of the side piece and screw it into the back and side. Line up the front piece with the edges of the side and bottom pieces and screw it into them (make sure the angled edge of the front piece matches the angle of the side piece). Lay the top piece over the side and front pieces, with its angled edges matching the front and back surfaces, and screw it to them.

Center the second side piece along the opposite 17-inch edge of the back, so that it lines up with the top, front and bottom pieces. At the marks you made, on its 10 and 12-inch edges, put a pivot screw through the front and another through the back and into these edges. Near the bottom-front of this side, put a screw half way in. Put another screw half way in at the same position on the front piece. Cut a piece of baling wire to wrap between these screws. It will secure the hinging side door.

Tips & Warnings

 
Use an awl to put a row of eighth-inch grooves under the entry hole (baby birds can climb them to reach the hole).
 
To avoid splits, when using hardwoods, predrill your holes with a bit that has a smaller diameter than your screws.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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