Tag Archives: project

Bird house project

31 Oct

Here’s a great family project for next summer…build a home to provide shelter to birds on the property. take a look at the state of some of our bird houses.

wet leaves-133

wet leaves-132

wet leaves-81

A sad state of affairs. Wouldn’t it be great to have bird boxes all over the place to keep our feathered friends safe from predators and the elements? How about making it a project the next time you are up? There is plenty of spare wood and I’ll make sure we have some nails and screws…

Take a look at this chart before building your nest box, keeping in mind that birds make their own choices, without regard for charts. So don’t be surprised if you find tenants you never expected in a house you intended for someone else.

birdhouse sizes
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when constructing a home for a bird:

Ventilation

You should provide air vents in bird boxes. There are two ways to provide ventilation: leave gaps between the roof and sides of the box, or drill 1/4 inch holes just below the roof.

Drainage

Water becomes a problem when it sits in the bottom of a bird house. A roof with sufficient slope and overhang offers some protection. Drilling the entrance hole on an upward slant may also help keep the water out. Regardless of design, driving rain will get in through the entrance hole. You can assure proper drainage by cutting away the corners of the box floor and drilling 1/4 inch holes. Nest boxes will last longer if the floors are recessed about 1/4 inch.

Entrance Hole

Put the entrance hole on the front panel near the top. A rough surface both inside and out makes it easier for the adults to get into the box and, when it’s time, for the nestlings to climb out.
If your box is made of finished wood, add a couple of grooves outside below the hole. Open the front panel and add grooves, cleats or wire mesh to the inside. Never put up a bird house with a perch below the entrance hole. Perches offer starlings, house sparrows and other predators a convenient place to wait for lunch.

Cleaning

A bird house with easy access makes the job simple. Most bird houses can be opened from the top, the side, the front or the bottom. Boxes that open from the top and the front provide the easiest access. Opening the box from the top is less likely to disturb nesting birds. If you clean out your nest boxes after each brood has fledged, several pairs may use the nest throughout the summer. Some cavity-nesting birds will not nest again in a box full of old nesting material.
In the fall, after you’ve cleaned out your nest box for the last time, you can put it in storage or leave it out. Leaving your houses out provides shelter for birds, flying squirrels and other animals during winter. Each spring, thoroughly clean all houses left out for the winter.

Limiting Predator Access

Proper box depth, and roof and entrance hole design will help reduce access by predators, such as raccoons, cats, opossums, and squirrels. Sometimes all it takes is an angled roof with a three-inch overhang to discourage small mammals.
The entrance hole is the only thing between a predator and a bird house full of nestlings. By itself, the 3/4-inch wall is not wide enough to keep out the arm of a raccoon or house cat. Add a predator guard (a 3/4-inch thick rectangular wood block with an entrance hole cut in it) to thicken the wall and you’ll discourage sparrows, starlings, and cats.

I plan to find a good birdhouse instruction document or website and post it here later. Happy building!

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