Homemade wooden nest bird box for garden birds with blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) on branch

How to make your own bird box

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

two hours

Making a bird box couldn't be simpler and is one of the best ways of attracting birds into your garden. This project uses a single piece of wood, costing just a couple of pounds, cut into six sections. Make sure you site your nesting box high up in a tree or building away from predators, strong sunlight and wind. A north-east facing spot is best.

You will need

  • 1.5m x 15cm x 1.25cm piece of untreated, sawn timber
  • 20cm x 2.5cm nails, 3cm x 2.5cm self-tapping screws
  • Drill and 25mm, 28mm or 32mm wood drill bit (see Step 6)
  • Wood saw, sandpaper, hammer screw driver, tape measure and pencil

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Cut the timber for the bird box into six sections using the following measurements: back panel 45cm x 15cm; base 11cm x 15cm; front 20cm x 15cm; Roof 21cm x 15cm; and two side panels cut for a sloping roof, 25cm high on the back x 20cm high at the front.

Cut the wood along the pencil lines using a wood saw. Sand down all rough edges to protect the birds.

Nail one of the sides to the base of the bird box, then nail them both to the back section. Hammer gently to avoid splitting the wood.

Turn the nesting box on to the fixed side and nail the other side into position. Three nails for each join should be enough.

Before fixing the front panel to the sides, make an entrance hole for the birds using a wide drill bit. Sand the edges smooth. A 25mm hole will attract blue, coal and marsh tits and a 28mm hole attracts great tits.

Place the bird box on its back and nail the front to the sides. The pieces should all fit together without gaps.

Use the self-tapping screws to fix the top to the sides and the front. This will allow you to remove the top to clean the bird box out.

Drill a hole in the top of the bird box and attach it to a tree using a screw. Position in a sheltered north-east facing spot.

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Kate Bradbury

Kate Bradbury

If your box doesn’t attract residents within two years, move it to another part of the garden. Ideally the spot should face north-east, 2-4m above ground and with a clear flight path to the entrance. Tilt the box slightly to deflect rain away from any babies inside.

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