Birdhouses can be both functional and beautiful, and building your own can be very satisfying. It’s fun to involve children, too, who can enjoy bird-watching to see what birds set up housekeeping in your birdhouse. You can also give the houses you make as gifts. As long as they meet the basic design points that allow for proper function (such as hole size and perch), birdhouses can be quite individualized.
Before you begin, you need to decide what kind of birds you want to attract with your birdhouse. This will affect key design details such as house and entry hole size, height of placement, and so forth. The following instructions are for a birdhouse that should suit chickadees, house sparrows, wrens and bluebirds.
Note: Cedar is an ideal wood for birdhouses due to its durability and resistance to insects. The following refers to 1/2″-thick wood or plywood.
* 1 piece of 5″x5″ wood (this will be the floor)
* 1 piece of wood, 5″x10″
* 2 pieces of wood, 5″x10″, cut at a slant ending at 7″
* 1 piece of wood, 5″x 6″ (this will be the front)
* 1 piece of wood, 7″x7″
* Water-resistant wood glue
* Dowel, 3/16″ diameter, cut to 3 inches in length
* Drill with 1 1/2″ bit
* Paint (if desired)
1. First, you’ll want to drill the hole for the entry. Using your 1 1/2″ bit, drill a hole in the center of the 7″x7″ piece of wood.
2. If you’re going to paint, do so now. Lay the pieces aside until dry.
3. Lay the 5″x5″ piece of wood on a flat surface covered with newspaper.
4. Squeeze a line or bead of glue along the side edge of the 5″x5″ floor piece.
5. Press one of the side pieces to this bead of glue, making sure its edge is flush with the flat surface the base is sitting on.
6. Repeat this process with all four sides, except you’ll want to put a bead of glue along the vertical edges of the sides as well as along the side edge of the base. Allow to dry.
7. Lay the birdhouse on its back so that the entry hole is facing up. About 2 inches below the entry hole, put a single circle of glue – be generous.
8. Put the dowel piece into this blob of glue. Allow to dry.
9. Squeeze a bead of glue around the top edges of the birdhouse and place the 7″x7″ on top. There should be a 1-inch overhang all around, and the roof should slant downward toward the front of the birdhouse.
Fun tip: Wrens actually love buckets. In early spring, if you hang a bucket against a tree trunk with sheltering branches around, you will probably find a family of wrens making a home there. They will also be likely to return to the same spot year after year!