How To Build a Bird Box: Make Your Feathered Friends Feel at Home!

Bird box with birds on it

Birds are wonderful companions. They are beautiful to look at and they provide you with gorgeous melodies every day. So if you plan on having birds as companions, make sure they have a comfortable home.

Read on to learn how to build a bird box.


‘A Bird is Joy Incarnate’


That is a direct quote from American author Myrtle Reed. 

Don’t you think it’s true?

Birds are indeed great companions. They are beautiful to look at and they can sing for you, too. 

There’s nothing better than to wake up from a natural alarm: birds singing outside the window. 

If you must know

Birds can also become indoor pets. 

This way, a person living alone can have their very own companion. 

Maintenance wise

Birds require minimal grooming. By nature, birds are clean beings. 

In fact, they regularly preen their feathers so they always look clean and pretty. 

This way

You don’t have to spend money on shampoos and grooming sessions. You can just spray the bird with clean water twice a week. 

There is also no need to walk them every day. Flying is their means of exercise. 

You know what else?

You don’t need to spend a fortune on food. Birds eat birdseed, fruits and vegetables–at small portions. 

Basically, you can just share your food with the bird.

But what’s really lovely

Birds are social beings. They socialize with other birds and with humans. 

If birds have developed a rapport with their human companions, then they will be affectionate, too. 

Blue and yellow Macaw eating banana; Boracay; Philippines

What are the most famous pet birds?

  • Parrot (no surprise here!)
  • Budgerigar
  • Cockatiel
  • Cockatoo
  • Domestic canary
  • Dove
  • Finch
  • Hyacinth macaw
  • Loverbird
  • Parrotlet

Bird Box vs Bird Cage


Both the bird box and bird cage are considered homes for the birds. However, the bird box is the more humane version since the birds are free to leave the nest whenever they want. 

Basically

The bird box is designed as a more natural habitat for birds while the bird cage is designed for pet birds. 

The bird box is at a high place while the cage can be placed wherever you want, which includes inside the house. 

Also

In keeping with the notion that the bird box is a natural home for the birds, it is preferably made of wood. 

A bird cage, on the other hand, is usually made of iron or stainless steel. Some designs have wooden bases and structures but still need the metal to make the birds more visible while caged. 

Birds in cages

On that note

If you want to see your bird or birds whenever you want as well as exhibit them to your friends at any time, then you definitely want to have the bird cage. 

However, if you really feel for the birds and want them as companions, you would prefer that they live in a safe and secure environment while also enjoying their freedom. 

This is why

Bird box is a better option. 

Birds also tend to use the bird box as their nesting place. So in a way, if you have a bird box, you are giving birds a home and a place to reproduce. 

Finally

Bird boxes are quite easy to make. A bird cage is usually something you buy, but a bird box is something you can create. 

This way, you can design it that way you want it but with a sense of propriety for the birds that will live in it. 

Bird box

How To Build a Bird Box


A bird box is very easy to make. It only becomes complicated when the owner wants to be more creative with it. 

Basically

A bird box uses six wooden planks nailed together to form a cube. A hole will be made in the middle of the front panel to allow birds to go in and out of the box. 

It is usually attached to a tree. 

But

If you don’t have trees at home, all you have to remember is that the bird box needs to be in a high place. 

This way, the birds will feel more secure. 

Warning

While bird boxes are created for birds, there is a tendency that other animals will inhabit them as well. 

Squirrels could easily climb the tree and go in the bird box, or bees could create a beehive inside the box. 

Anyway

Here are the things you need to consider when making a bird box:

Location & Position

We already know that the bird box should be placed on a high place–preferably on a tree. But there are more things to consider if you want to find the best place for it. 

Shade

As already mentioned, it would be preferable if the bird box will be attached to a tree. One reason for this is it becomes more natural for the bird. 

But there is another reason: shade. 

Baby owls on branch

Consider this:

Many homeowners have complained that their bird box hasn’t been inhabited by any feathered friend. 

In most cases, it is because the box is facing south, which makes for a really hot situation. 

The solution?

Let your bird box face north or east. 

Another thing

You might also want to protect the birds from the rain. So tilt your bird box a little bit forward so the bird’s home will not be flooded when it rains. 

What is the perfect height?

Ideally, the bird box should be about three meters off the ground. It’s going to attract a variety of birds.

However, blackbirds, robins and wrens are known to be comfortable with bird boxes at the height of 1.5 to two meters. 

If you are looking at housing kestrels, owls and woodpeckers, though, make sure your bird box is more than three meters high. 

Caution

Keep the bird box a good distance away from another bird box to prevent warring colonies. 

Although, if you are planning to attract sparrows, then you can build a few bird boxes close together. 

Process

You have to know that there is no black-and-white standard in making a bird box. But this is a simple bird box that you can easily make at home. 

Materials needed

  • (7) untreated timber at different sizes: base, back, front, 2 side panels and 2 slanting roof panels
  • (20) nails 
  • (3) self-tapping screws
  • Scrap rubber
  • Galvanized wire
  • Drill
  • Hammer

Notes:

  • Wood should be at least 1.5 centimeters thick
  • Slanted cut between the front panel and roof at a 45-degree angle.
  • Make a hole at the front panel. The hole should be between 25 to 38 millimeters in diameter, depending on what kind of bird you want to attract:
    -25 mm for blue, coal and marsh tits
    -28 mm for great tits and pied flycatchers
    -32 to 38 mm for sparrows and nuthatches
    -45 mm for starlings
Sparrows

Steps:

  1. Nail the side panels to the back. 
  2. Drill some holes on the base panel as drainage when it rains.
  3. Do the same with the base panel or the floor of the bird box. 
  4. Now you are ready to nail the front panel. 
  5. Use the scrap rubber as a rubber flap hinge to make the bird box waterproof. Do this by nailing the rubber into the back panel first. Then pull it tightly so it will then cover the roof and you can nail it there as well. 
  6. Treat the outside of the box with a preservative so that it will last for a long time. 
  7. You may then attach your bird box to a tree using a galvanized wire. Don’t use nails as it will damage the tree.

Protection from predators

Another reason why bird boxes should be high is to protect the bird from predators. 

However, you also need to consider that some of the predators are also climbers. Case in point:

Squirrels

You can put a metal plate around the hole of the bird box so that squirrels won’t go inside. The first thing the squirrel actually does is chew on the hole, so putting a metal plate will prevent it from doing so. 

As such, the squirrel won’t also disturb the inside of the bird box and possibly eat the bird’s eggs. 

Squirrel

Cats

If the bird box is at least two meters high, chances are the cats won’t bother with it. It’s too much of a climb. 

Having said that

Keep the nest away from feeders because predators are also fond of visiting this place for food. 


Caring and Cleaning


Obviously, you want to have a bird box because you want birds at your home without caging the birds. 

So can you look inside the bird box?

Yes you can!

However, you also have to be mindful of the birds. You don’t want to disturb them. 

Approach the bird box slowly so as not to scare the birds. 

Remember

The early bird gets the worm. So don’t go peeking at the bird box early in the morning because chances are, the bird will be away. 

However, this would be a good way to check the progress of the bird’s eggs. If they have hatched, then you will have a chance to see freshly hatched birdies. 

How about cleaning?

You can do so when nesting season is over. You may remove old nests and clean up the bird box. 

Make sure to wear protective gear when clearing out. Use gloves, dust mask and even goggles to prevent fungi, bacteria and parasites from getting into your system.


Summary


Welcome the company of birds at your home by creating your own bird box. It will be such a joy hearing the birds’ early-morning chimes and seeing their gorgeous feathers right outside your house.

So how to build a bird box? It’s actually quite easy! You don’t need to be an expert carpenter to build one to attract these gorgeous winged animals. 

Make sure you know the proper way to build a bird box as well as the best position for it. Knowing the details will get you the gorgeous feathered companions you deserve. 


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In case you don’t have any trees in your yard yet, you might want to find out the easiest fruit trees to grow.

If birds are not your thing, perhaps bees are? They are not just good at making honey, they are also important to your garden especially if you have flowers. Now how do you attract bees to your garden

Finally, if you are not fond of winged creatures, you might prefer fish. Then a pond may be more to your taste. First, you have to learn how to maintain a pond

Useful Resources

  • Give a Bird a Home in Your Garden this Summer with this Guide to Nest Boxes – iNews
  • Bird Tales: The Swallows’ Tale – Sequim Gazette
  • Hummingbirds See Colors We Can’t Even Imagine – National Geographic
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