With basic woodworking skills and a set of DIY bird house plans, you can easily add color to your backyard and attract lovely birds by building a shelter for them.
Building your own bird house is not a difficult project at all.
More importantly, it is a great family activity to get your kids involved in woodworking and enjoying the wildlife.
Designs can range from very basic to as detailed or stylish as you want.
However, incorrectly built bird house will not be used by the birds. Worse, it could be a death trap to the nesting birds.
Hence, even though there may be many free bird house plans floating around on the internet, it is very important that you follow a proper bird house blueprint that is safe for the nesting birds.
The GOOD news is that you can follow the exact bird house plans that I’ve used.
What Makes A Good Bird House?
A bird house or nesting box is used to attract birds that nest in cavities in their natural habitat. Tree cavities may be formed by tree disease and decay or abandoned by woodpeckers.
A properly constructed bird house should therefore offer the nesting birds the same protection against natural weather elements (rain, wind, cold) and predators as the natural cavities in trees.
Honestly, the birds wouldn’t care about the color of the bird house or the aesthetic designs (be it cute, intricate, stylish or elaborate)… these are more for us. The birds are simply looking for protection and shelter!
What Birds Are You Trying To Attract?
Before you start building a bird house, it is important to first understand what the bird species in your neighbourhood are. The types of bird you are trying to attract will determine the size and design of the bird house.
This is why I highly recommend Ted’s Woodworking as he has incorporated a collection of wooden bird house plans that you can choose from.
Basic elements of a bird house include a sloped roof, a floor, 4 walls and an entrance hole at the front face.
However, if you are attracting specific species, there may be certain features and designs that you need to take note of because of their behavioral traits.
For example, if you want to attract Bluebirds, a relatively easy to construct one-board box would suffice.
However, birds like Purple Martins nest in colonies, so you will need bird house with multi-levels or multi-rooms.
Robin and Phoebes, on the other hand, do not nest in enclosed boxes. Hence the bird house should be designed like a shelf or platform.
Here Are Some TIPS To Designing And Building Your DIY Bird House:
You can look out for these features when deciding which bird house plans to follow.
- The size of the house and dimension of the entrance hole will affect the birds you will attract.
In order for the nesting birds to feel safe, the bird house and entrance hole should be just big enough. If the entrance hole size is too big, predatory birds may enter. The house should also be big enough to accommodate the incubating bird and the brooding of young birds.
TIP: Ted has provided a reference table of bird house dimensions for more than 20 types of birds which you can use to customize the bird house plans.
- Ensure proper ventilation
To provide proper air circulation, small holes of 1/8 or 1/4 inch should be drilled on each side of the bird house below the roof.
- Features to keep the bird house dry and warm
In order for the rain or snow to run down naturally and also protect the entrance hole and sides of the bird house from the dripping water, the roof should be slanted at a slight angle and extended over the side walls and front. The side walls should also extend beyond the floor of the bird house to avoid water from leaking in.
Drill 4 drainage holes in the floor, with diameter ¼ inch, in case water does seep into the bird house.
- Easy to clean
The roof or one of the sides should be detachable for easy and regular cleaning.
- There is NO NEED to add a perch.
Adding a perch to the birdhouse is not necessary as that would only aid the predatory birds getting inside.
- Help the young birds exit the bird house
Roughen the wall below the entrance hole to help the young birds get a better grip when they are climbing out of the entrance hole.
What Materials To Use?
Suitable wood type includes red cedar, bald cypress and redwood. The wood should be at ¾ inches thick to provide sufficient insulation.
Do not use treated wood as the chemicals can be harmful to the birds, and never paint the insides of the bird house.
It is not necessary to paint the exterior walls of the bird house. But if you do, use an earth-toned color so that the bird house can blend into the environment, making it less obvious to predators.
Construction of your own DIY wooden bird house is just the very first step.
DO NOT OVERLOOK the importance of placing the bird house at the right locations. The bird house should be placed at heights and environments as similar as the natural habitat of the bird types that you are trying to attract.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that along with Ted’s collection of bird house plans, there was also a guidance table of how high the bird house should be placed for the various bird types!
Where To Get Good Quality Bird House Plans?
Hopefully by now, you have a better idea of what makes a good bird house and are excited to start building one!
I strongly recommend you to check out Ted’s Woodworking package. Not only can you download a collection of bird house plans, there are also guidance on dimensions, designs and placing tips for different bird types.
If you are a bird lover, you will be glad to know that there are also DIY plans to build a bird feeder!
You will also be able to access a host of other woodworking projects! These woodworking plans are very well-received by other woodworkers and I’m sure you will greatly benefit from them too!