Few things are more lovely than sitting in the garden during the spring and summer months with the sounds of birds in the background. You can encourage birds into your garden if you make it attractive to them, through things such as bird feeders, bird baths and bird boxes. But why should you spend money on buying a bulk-made bird box when you can make one yourself? They aren’t difficult to make and it would be a great activity for children during the school holidays! Not sure where to start? This guide should help.
What Materials Should You Use?
Bird boxes should always be made from wood, untreated wood in particular, as some treatments may harm the birds. You should avoid any metal or plastics to make your bird box as they may cause the box to overheat, potentially causing harm to unhatched eggs and young chicks.
- Try to use hardwood that is around 15mm thick in order to provide sufficient insulation for the birds, and to prevent warping. Hardwood, such as oak or beech will also last longer than softer types, such as pine.
- Nails are preferable for securing your box together, rather than glue. Stainless steel ones won’t turn rusty in the rain and will also allow water to drain through.
What Size Should You Make The Entrance?
Obviously you want to make it as easy as possible for birds to get in and out of the bird box but, at the same time, you must consider the threat of predators reaching them! The recommended size of the hole for your bird box will depend on the birds that will be using it. Try to find out which birds are most common in the area in which you live to help you decide, but here is a general guide:
- 25mm for Blue Tits, Coal Tits or Marsh Tits;
- 28mm for Great Tits and Tree Sparrows;
- 32mm for House Sparrows.
Whilst considering predators in terms of the size of the entrance to the box, you should also considering them when adding a perch to the box. Most of the time, a perch would be an unnecessary additional feature and could aid a predator in accessing the birds.
How Can You Decorate It?
In general, you can decorate your bird box however you wish. However, if you are planning to use paints, you may wish to check the safety advice to see if it could cause potential damage to animals.
Important Things To Remember
It is important not to fully secure the roof of a bird box in order that you are able to access it easily and quickly if you need to, for reasons such as cleaning or inspection.
You can ensure this easy access by attaching the roof with weather-proof hinge that is easy to lift up and down. For extra safety, you may wish to add a hook so that it can’t accidentally be opened, putting the birds at risk.
Do you have any tips and advice on how to build a D.I.Y. bird box? Share your ideas in the comments!
[Photo Credit JanetandPhil]