Building a Bird House

Make a home for your avian friends

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, then you probably have no use for store-bought items that you can build yourself. Building your own bird house (or a few bird houses) is a great project for the winter or early spring. You can enjoy the fun of crafting something yourself and then if you've done it right, you'll see birds flocking to make their nests when they come back from their migration.

A few tips to remember before you start planning your bird house:

  • Consider what kinds of birds you want to attract to your yard and then do some research on their nesting and feeding habits and what kinds of predatorsthey have. It's also helpful to consider if the birds migrate or winter in your area.
  • Think about placement - you don't want to place the house in the path of predators or too high / low on a tree. Don't put too many bird houses in a yard - each house should have ¼ acre so that territorial birds don't get too angry.
  • Consider what size of bird house you will need. This will depend on the type of bird you want to attract to your yard. Make your measurements carefully.
  • Choose the type of wood that you will use to build your bird house. Don't use pressure-treated or creosote-coated wood, as this is toxic to birds. Any exterior wood, like pine, cedar, redwood or spruce will do fine and hold up to the elements.
Building a Bird House

Bird House Plans

Planning your bird house is an important step - you will need to gather your materials and supplies together and either follow a pre-made plan or make one up yourself. There are plenty of free bird house plans online and you will find a few plans included below. If you don't feel up to making a full bird house, then why not help a bird, such as a mourning dove, make a nest? Doves can be very bad nest-makers, often producing flimsy creations that fall out of the tree at the slightest rainstorm. You can help by making a dove's nest cone.

Dove's Nest Cone

You will need:

  • 12" square piece of small gauge chicken wire or hardware cloth - choose a piece with the smallest holes you can find
  • Tin snips or heavy-duty scissors
  • Leather gloves
  • Fine wire

Once you have cut your chicken wire into the needed dimensions, cut off the edges to make a circle. Cut out a wedge and then twist the remainder into a cone shape, wiring it together. Make sure to fold over ½ an inch of the chicken wire so that the edges are smooth. Wire the cone about 10 to 30 feet up in a tree and watch the doves build strong, sturdy nests!