Those who enjoy the companionship of birds will find these bird house plans inexpensive and fun to build. A well-built birdhouse should be durable, rainproof, cool and readily accessible for cleaning. By using some imagination, the builder can also add an attractive touch to the landscape.
The first decision to make when learning how to build a bird house is what material to make it from. Wood is the best building material. Metals other than aluminum should be avoided, for they become extremely hot when exposed to a sweltering sun. Rough slabs with the bark left on make ideal material for rustic-looking houses.
Roofs should be constructed with sufficient pitch to shed water. At least 3 inches of overhang should be allowed to protect the entrance from driving rain. Some water may still seep into the house, therefore a few small holes should be drilled in the floor to allow drainage.
When creating bird house plans, builders should plan for several holes near the top of the box to provide ventilation in hot weather. The house should be constructed with screws for easy disassemble when cleaning.
Entrance holes should be near the top of the box and proportional to the size of the bird which will use the house. Houses should have the interior walls roughened or grooved to assist the young in climbing to the opening.
Remembering these kinds of details when creating your bird house plans will obviously be worth it to you and the birds! Now that you've learned how to build a bird houses, let's talk about placement and construction for individual species.
Bird houses should be placed at locations inaccessible to natural predators. The opening should face away from the prevailing wind, and if possible, the houses should be situated in partial sunlight. Subdued color tones are best, except for those placed in direct sunlight where white is needed to reflect the heat.
Bird houses shouldn't be placed too close together. Some birds insist on territorial rights and conflicts could result in empty bird houses. At least 1/4 acre should be allowed for most bird houses.
Different species of birds need houses constructed to suit their particular needs, and you should take that into account when creating bird house plans.
How to build a bird house: Specifications
Natural enemies pose the greatest hazard to birds using man-made houses. Iron poles used for mounts or a sheet metal guard encircling trees or wooden poles will help protect birds from cats and squirrels. Houses suspended from wires beyond the jumping range of these predators can be effective.
Ubiquitous English sparrows and starlings can prove exasperating to those seeking to attract native species to bird houses. Only by persistent harassment can these pests be eliminated. Often sparrows can be trapped inside the houses during the night. But remember: any relaxation of the war against starlings and sparrows will find them re-established. Starlings usually will not inhabit boxes within 10 feet of the ground.
If pests can be eliminated and birds find the house satisfactory, the only requirement remaining is cleaning the interior periodically. So, get busy with your hammer.
How to build a bird house: Basic plans
Here are some basic plans for how to build a bird house (PDF)
How to build a bird house: Wrens
Wrens find almost any sort of cavity good enough to suit their needs. Boxes of small size with horizontal slots for entrance are best. The slot opening permits this small bird to carry cumber- some nesting material more readily. Any partially sunlit spot agrees with wrens. A supply of small twigs about three inches long will aid in nest building. It may be best to place several houses in the immediate vicinity, for the wren often builds several nests before completing one to its liking.
How to build a bird house: Purple Martins
The gregarious nesting habits of martins will allow the builder to employ skill and imagination in construction. Important factors to consider are coolness and accessibility. A multi-storied apartment house will attract a colony of martins. The availability of water will be a factor in inducing the birds to nest. The houses should be situated in an open space and painted white to reflect heat.
How to build a bird house: Swallows
Water near the box will help entice these birds to artificial nests. Open or partially covered nest shelves are best for barn swallows, especially if placed under the sheltering eaves of buildings. Cliff swallows should be provided a narrow shelf under an overhanging roof where they can construct their mud nests.
How to build a bird house: Robins, catbirds, thrashers
These birds will use the nesting platform when natural nesting sites are unavailable. The platforms should be placed in partial shade along main branches of trees or under the eaves of a shed or porch roof.
How to build a bird house: Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches
These birds seem to prefer rustic homes built to simulate natural abodes. Old orchards and woodland borders are good places for their houses. Chickadees often nest within a few feet of the ground, but nuthatches and titmice prefer higher elevation.
How to build a bird house: Bluebirds
Any type of house with the proper dimensions will suit this bird watcher's favorite, though abandoned orchards are bluebird haunts. The house should be placed four to five feet above the ground to reduce conflict with house sparrows.
How to build a bird house: Flickers
A rough interior is favored by these birds. A quantity of sawdust, ground cork or small chips should cover the bottom so the birds can shape a cavity for eggs. Boxes should be placed above immediately surrounding foliage. A dead stub makes an excellent support for their boxes.