Building Bird Houses for Specific Birds: Free Birdhouse Plans

Building Bird Houses made from Wood and Common Objects

When building bird houses, many can be made using a half inch lumber and can be made very attractive . Other material, however, can be utilized especially old logs and other common households. The most natural bird homes, which can often be found with the least trouble, are pieces of hollow limbs or small hollow trunks of trees, or the old nesting holes of woodpeckers.

If no suitable tree limbs with suitable cavities can be found when building birdhouses, they may be made by taking a piece of a limb, about eight inches in diameter and fourteen to sixteen inches long, dividing it in half, with a rip saw, from one end to within three inches of the other, where the cut is met by a right-angle cut from the side.

After this an entrance hole of the required size is made through the shorter or front half.

The two halves are hollowed out, as shown below, so as to form a cylindrical cavity about three and one-half inches in diameter and ten inches deep; then the two halves are placed together and held with screws or bolts.

A similar bird house is made by boring an auger hole from one end of a piece of limb to within a couple inches of the other, plugging the bored end, and making an entrance hole near the other end. Building bird houses like this are adapted to woodpeckers, bluebirds, house wrens, chickadees and tree swallows.

A little larger home of the same type is required for crested fly catchers and decidedly larger ones for the nicker.

A good sized, deserted flickers' home or similar cavity provides a nesting place attractive to the screech owl.

A piece of wooden tubing, with the ends plugged, and an entrance made in the side near the upper end, the tube being covered with bark, makes a very good substitute for a hollow limb.

If old and weather-stained boards are used in building bird houses, bark covering is not absolutely necessary, but it adds to the attractiveness, from both the birds' and the human standpoint, and bark affords a good foothold for the birds as they alight at the entrance. Woodpeckers especially should have bark covered exteriors to their homes. Dried gourds, hollowed out, and with an opening made for an entrance, often attract wrens and bluebirds.

While tin cans may be used in building bird houses, it is not desirable, as tin becomes very hot in the sun. If cans are used, care should be taken to place them in shaded places.

Flower pots  inverted, are suitable for some of the smaller birds.

The old fashioned chimney having been replaced by the modern chimney with small flues, the chimney swifts may he provided with suitable nesting quarters by building on the roofs of barns or sheds, artificial chimneys of wood.

Birds may not always respond promptly to the first attempt at placing a bird box, but
the would-be landlord must not get discouraged. Try building bird houses in an attractive a manner as possible, keep a supply of water for bathing and drinking at hand, and prevent their being disturbed. Then watch the results that are almost sure to come.

Persistent and intelligent effort will bring ultimate results, which will be sure to reward
the attempt. Experience is the best teacher.

bird houses made from common objects2

Building Bird Houses using Common Household Objects

Building Bird Houses and an Overview of Construction

As has been before stated, the best finishes when building bird houses is using bark, especially that from the cedar tree.

It is rough enough for the birds to obtain a good foothold and it is very artistic in appearance, cuts and bends very easily and can be held with four ounce tacks. A word should be said here about obtaining this bark when building bird houses is that it should never be taken from the living tree.

Cedar posts are used very much for supports in building and most any contractor or mill man has quantities on hand. These posts most always must have the bark removed, especially the part to show above ground, and the owners, I have found, are
glad to have the boys remove the bark from them. Sometimes a fallen cedar will be found in the woods and from it may be obtained all the bark necessary for a number of boxes.

If the whole bird house is not to be bark covered it is a good plan to see that the roof
is protected by bark.

The remaining portions of the birdhouse should be stained or painted a very somber color, such as dull gray, brown, or dark green. Avoid all gloss paints as they reflect light and tend to drive away rather than attract the birds.

Bright colors should also be avoided. A nicely constructed Bird Box painted a brilliant red with yellow trimmings or some other equally absurd combination, is a travesty on proper bird house construction.

Gloss paints can be dulled by adding turpentine. Painted or stained houses should be put out at least a month or more before the time for the birds to arrive. This is to weather them and remove all odors. It is a good plan to put out Bird Boxes in the fall if possible, and they are then in excellent shape for spring use.

When building bird houses, do not paint or stain bird houses on the inside. Place the houses in quiet places, away from the direct rays of the sun, high enough to be out of the way of prowling cats or too inquisitive human beings.

General Instructions on Building Bird Houses

First decide upon the bird for which your house is to be made and, referring to the drawings, select the cue which best suits your fancy. Look the various pieces over and estimate about how much timber will be required, then plan your work so as to cut your board with as little waste as possible. Take pieces of a similar width and get them out in one long piece from your board.

Building Bird Houses- Construction

Plane one edge of the board straight and smooth and call this the working edge, or edge from which all measurements are to be taken. Square one end square with the working edge and the surface. Measure from this square end, the length specified on the drawing, and square a line across the board, placing the try square handle tight against the working edge.
Next, for your free birdhouse plans, take the cross-cut saw and saw carefully just outside your line on the side away from the piece to be cut off. Plane now back to the line and no further. The width must next be obtained either with a marking gage, if you have one, set at the required distance, or by measuring carefully with your ruler.

Now saw and plane to your line. Treat each piece in this manner and mark with its
proper letter, to be ready for assembling later. We shall consider, for illustration, that we are making the Free Birdhouse Plans for Bluebirds. We have our pieces all cut out and numbered and shall now cut the shape of pieces A, which are the front and rear of the house, from our pieces that we have previously cut S-i/o inches wide by 10 inches long.

Find the center of one end, which will be one-half of 8 1/4 inches or 4 1/4 inches. Measure down on each side 4 inches and draw from our edge center to these points.
Find the center of our bottom edge next and measure 2 1/2 inches each side to make
our bottom edge 5 inches wide, as shown. Draw from the ends of this 5 inch lines to our points on the sides and we are ready to carefully cut out the form as shown in the drawing. Always remember when sawing to a line to leave about 1/16 inch between our saw cut and the line and finish with a plane to the line.

Be sure that the front and rear pieces are exactly the same size and shape to insure our
house going together nicely later.

Take the bottom piece E and draw light lines from corner to corner, and with a dot locate the points where we are to bore our drainage holes. In boring these take care not to split through on the opposite side.

Locate the holes for ventilation next and bore these carefully. Take our back brace F next and draw a light pencil line from end to end, through the center, and locate the holes for nailing to the tree 1 inch in from either end. The holes for screwing piece F to the box are 3 1/2 inches beyond these outer holes. Bore carefully.

Bore the entrance hole with an expansive bit set so as to bore a hole 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The center for this hole is 3 inches down from the top and 4 1/4 inches from either side.

Building Bird Houses and Preparing for Painting

If the birdhouse is to be painted it should be thoroughly sandpapered with No. 1/2 sandpaper, going with the grain. Take the sides and bevel them to fit the front and back pieces, that is plane them so that when they are placed in proper position against the front and rear, the edges will follow the same sweep as the eaves and the bottom edge. All cutting should be finished before sandpapering so as not to dull our plane blade with the fine particles of sand left in the wood by the sandpaper.

Building Bird Houses and Nailing and Fixing

Nail the sides to the front and rear, using 1-1/4 inch brads, placing about five on each
edge, and taking care that they strike fair in the center of the edge to prevent splitting.
Next nail on roof C, having the rear edge flush with the rear of the box allowing all projection to come in front. Have ridge edge just level with peak. Next nail on roof B, seeing that it overlaps and is nailed to the edge of C.

Next attach piece F to the rear of the box with screws, allowing equal projection above
and below the box. Take the bottom E and screw on an inch butt hinge to the under side at the middle point of the rear edge. Then place in position and screw the other part of hinge to F, taking care that the bottom fits tightly against the bottom edges of the box. Retain in front by means of a small flat hook and eye as shown.

Building Bird Houses and Painting

Our box is now ready to be either painted or covered with bark as desired. If it is to be bark covered use a pair of quired. It is generally a good plan to cut the bark a little large and trim off after attaching it to the box. Use 4 oz. tacks, using as few as possible. Have the bark run uniformly in the same direction over the box. Bark directly over all holes and when finished cut these out with a sharp knife.

If a house is to be painted and have a bark roof only, paint first and allow to dry, perhaps giving a second coat and then place the bark on the roof.

This same method of construction as described will be practically the same for any of the houses shown. Lumber should be used that will withstand the weather. Cypress, spruce and soft pine snip shears to cut the bark to the size are perhaps the best.

various designs for birdhouses

Various Designs for Building Bird Houses

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