Building Bird Houses made from Wood and Common Objects
When building bird houses, many can be made using a half inch lumber
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Building Bird Houses