How to Build a Wooden Birdhouse
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With 2,059 bird species in the USA, a lot of them will be species you could have visiting your yard. It’s not uncommon to see a house finch or song sparrow looking for safety at your home. But if you have nowhere safe for them to rest, why not combine your love of woodworking and give your wild birds a home of their own?
Read on for our guide that will teach you how to build a wooden birdhouse you and your garden birds will love.
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Tools You’ll Need For Your Wood Birdhouse
First, let’s start with a list of the tools you’ll need to get this project off the ground. To get started, you’ll need:
- Nail gun
- Brad nails
- Drill bit (sized to the diameter of the rope or twine you’re using)
- Paddle bit
- Hole saw
- Miter saw
Once you have these in place, you’re ready to get started on gathering the materials you’ll need.
Materials You Need to Build a Birdhouse
Now we’ll look at the materials you’ll need for your project. Make sure you’ve gathered:
- 1×6 board
- 1/4″ plywood
- Exterior wood glue
- Exterior wood filler
- Exterior wood stain or paint
- 1 1/4″ nails
- Sanding sponge
- String/twine to hang the birdhouse up
You can of course include any accessories you would like to or add carved decorations. You can use anything extra you like to personalize it, especially if you intend your birdhouse to be a gift.
Your Birdhouse Cut List
Before we get into the detailed instructions, we’ve put together a cut list for the dimensions.
- Back & Front Wall 1×6 – 2 at 7 1/2 inches
- Side Walls 1×6 – 2 at 4 3/4 inches height x 4 1/2 inches depth
- Base 1×6 – 1 at 8 inches
- 1/4 inch plywood roof panel – 1 at 8 inches depth x 5 1/2 inches width
- 1/4 inch plywood roof panel – 1 at 8-inch depth x 5 1/4 width
This will help you get the size right so it will be a comfortable home that is inviting to your local birds. It’s also worth checking out these woodworking tips before getting started.
Building a Birdhouse: Step by Step Guide
Now you’ve got the cut list and what materials you need you can get onto construction. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to build a birdhouse. A birdhouse is a great project for woodworking beginners to get used to making smaller objects while keeping a rustic look.
1. Size Up Your Pieces
Using the miter saw and the cut list above, cut the pieces you need from your 1×6 board and 1/4 inch plywood. Mark your center point along the edge of the back and front walls. From that point, you want to clip each corner to a 45-degree miter that makes a peak.
2. Make an Opening
On your front wall, mark a central point on the width of the board. It should be about 3 1/2 inches from the peak you’ve cut. Using your hole saw, jigsaw, or paddle bit, make a hole that has a diameter of around 1 3/4 inches.
3. Attach the Side Panels to the Front
Using the cut list and miter saw again, make your side panels. You then want to set them so that the 4 3/4 inch-tall edge faces upwards. Apply your outdoor glue to each edge of the panel.
Place the front panel of your birdhouse onto the edges. The sides of the front panel should sit flush against the outside face of each wall and not be set back.
Using your nail gun, punch 1 1/4 inch brad nails into the face of the birdhouse so they go through the edge of each side wall. This will add more stability than using glue on its own.
4. Secure the Back Panel
Again, use your miter saw to cut your back piece to size, as above. Flip over your assembled pieces and apply the glue to the remaining edges of your side panels.
Line up the back panel so it sits flush to the edges and press it down. Then use your nail gun to put 1 1/4 inch nails through the back panel into the side edges like with your front panel.
5. Attach the Base of the Birdhouse
Apply the outdoor wood glue to all 4 of your bottom edges from the walls that are now joined. Place the base so that the back edge is flush with the back wall.
The front edge should protrude out from the front wall a little, creating a ledge for the birds to sit on. Punch nails through the base to the bottom edge of each wall, for a more secure fit.
6. Attach the Roof
Drizzle wood glue onto the peak edge of the front and back walls. Place the shorter roof panel first so that it’s flush with the tip of the peak. Nail through the roof and into the edge of front and back walls.
Next, place the longer roof panel into place so that it’s overlapping the top edge of the front panel. This will stop the top edge from being exposed. Nail through his roof panel to the edges of the front and back panels too.
7. Add Your Finish of Choice
Use exterior-grade wood filler to seal and fill in the nail holes to protect them from rusting and let this dry. Sand it down so that it’s smooth and flush against the panels.
Then you can apply your exterior wood stain or paint as you see fit. Get creative here and make designs or keep it simple for a more rustic look. For a more even finish, apply two coats, the second after the first has dried completely.
8. Add Something to Hang It With
Drill a hole into the side of each roof panel along the roof’s peak. Push your string or twine through the hole, using a pair of pliers to pull it through the front opening.
Knot that end tight and then pull it back so the knot sits against the inside of the roof. Repeat this step on the other hole with the other end of the string or twine.
In the end, you should have a secure loop with knots that won’t break even with a few firm tugs. If you’d prefer you can look at installing an exterior hook on the back panel. Or you can place it on a sturdy bird table and let it be freestanding.
Why Have a Birdhouse in Your Garden
Now you know the steps in how to make a birdhouse, let us look at a few quick reasons why you should have one.
A birdhouse provides safety and shelter for nesting birds looking to raise chicks. Not only does it protect from predators but also from the weather. During the winter, this gives birds a resting stop so they can recover from the cold conditions.
By adding a birdhouse or two you’ll bring a variety of birds into your yard. Every morning you can watch them come and go, you could even put a camera inside to see their nest.
This is great if you want to watch the chicks hatch and grow. You’re a part of new life coming into the world and learning to navigate it. Your family gets a new appreciation and intimate understanding of thankfulness and life.
Some birds like to feast on pests that include:
- Cabbage maggots
- Potato beetles
If you’re an avid gardener or like to spend time outside, you’ll know how much of a pest these can be.
Your new bird neighbor can provide you with help in removing these pests from your yard. This is an eco-friendly method that’s good for your yard’s micro-ecosystem. It’ll also save money as you won’t need to buy harmful pesticides instead.
Birds can also help control the weed population at its most critical stage when it’s seeding. This can help prevent widespread weeds across your yard.
Again, if you’re an avid gardener, this can help the productivity of your crops and flowerbeds. It will also save you time and energy as you will have fewer weeds to clear out yourself.
Fertilization of Your Plants
Bird poop provides a natural fertilizer for your plants. Birds hopping across your yard will also create a scratching of the soil. This helps loosen it up and make it more absorbent and looser.
In turn, this lets the nutrients combine and mix in the topsoil, making good bacteria. You need these bacteria to help maintain the right pH balance in your soil for healthy plant growth.
Some plants rely on birds and animals to spread their seeds so they can reproduce. When birds eat the seeds they will transport them in their body wherever they go.
As those seeds reach the end of the digestive system the seeds come out as the bird defecates. It lands in a pile of top natural fertilizer, able to bed into the ground and start to grow a whole new plant.
Wooden Birdhouse: The Perfect Project
So, there you have it! Now you know why a wooden birdhouse is a perfect project and how to build one. Not only are you providing a safe sanctuary for your local birds, but you could be doing your garden a huge favor.
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