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How to make a hinged nest box

You will need

  • Untreated wood, ideally 15-25mm thick
  • 40mm screws x 20
  • Felt nails x 8
  • Strip of rubber, roofing felt or leather
  • Wood nails x 2
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil or marker pen
  • Straight edge, or ruler
  • Hammer, drill, drill bits, saw, work bench
Do it: all year round
Takes just: two hours

Overview

Making a nest box for birds is much simpler than you might think. A nest box can be made from cheap, readily available materials, in just a couple of hours. By providing nest sites for birds, you'll help them raise their young, and in return they'll reward you through their tireless efforts to hunt and eat your garden pests during spring and summer.

Once you've created your nest box, why not follow our advice on installing a nest box camera, which will give you a fascinating insight into the lives of your resident birds - from egg laying, hatching and feeding to the fledglings finally leaving the nest.


How to do it

Marking out section measurements on wood

1

Using a tape measure, carefully mark out the pieces according to these measurements: back panel 30cm x 15cm; lid 20cm x 15cm; front 17.5cm x 15cm; base 15cm x 15cm; and two side panels cut for a sloping roof, 20cm high on the back x 17.5cm high at the front.


Cutting wood with a saw

2

Once you've marked the position of all your cuts, saw through the plank. Be careful to follow the lines you've marked, as a wobbly cut may mean your joints aren't flush and the box will be draughty.


Fixing wooden panels together

3

Screw the parts together to ensure a firm join, drilling pilot holes first to prevent the wood from splitting. Attach the two side panels to the back board, then the base and finally the front.


Drilling an access hole into front panel of nest box

4

Using a large drill bit, make an access hole in the front panel, near the top (so the young are out of reach of predators). Blue and coal tits need a 25mm hole, great tits 28mm, sparrows 32mm.


Attaching rubber hinge to lid of nest box

5

Attach the lid by nailing the rubber hinge, and drill drainage holes in the base. Hang the box in 2-3m high, in a sheltered spot, ideally facing north east, east or south east.


A more open option for other birds

6

Not all birds like boxes with a hole for an entrance. Robins, wagtails and flycatchers, for example, need a box with a front panel that covers only two-thirds of the gap, leaving an open 'window'. Simply make the front panel smaller - 12cm long rather than 17.5cm.


Adam's tip

Any type of untreated wood will do - exterior grade plywood is good, but plank wood is easier to cut




Discuss this project

Talkback: How to make a hinged nest box
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Susie47 15/05/2013 at 11:28

I have asked my elderly uncle to make me a bird nest box like the one you show in your DIY projects section. However when I go on to the printable version it still comes out in tiny font which my uncle would have difficulty reading. Can you advise please. Thank you