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How to make your own bird box

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
Do it: All year round
Takes just: 2 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.

How to do it


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.

Our tip

Don't apply wood preservative, stain or paint near the entrance hole of the bird box because birds will peck there to make sure the box is safe.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to make your own bird box
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Birdboxbill 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Thank you 'Gardeners World' for the very easy instructions on
how to build a simple bird nesting box. I now have three boxes
in my garden.

bluetim 24/11/2011 at 15:27

i shall be making some bird boxes and placing them in our allotment..thanks.

George54 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Thanks for the details. I'm going to be making the bird boxes with the elderly folk at our "Church Holiday at Home" event.

Later Graham

Hashim 24/11/2011 at 15:29

Hi there. You mentioned in the article that the box should be facing a north-easterly direction. Would it be possible to face the box south instead? Only, if I was to place it north-east, it would be facing completely the wrong way, and would not be visible from the house. Thanks. Awaiting your reply. :)

ramses2 24/11/2011 at 15:29

Clear instructions - should be feasible for the Youth Club

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