Guest Blogger Fatbirder :
Building your own bluebird nest boxes can be a fun and rewarding project. Here are the east to follow steps:
- 1 x 6 or 1 x 8 cedar board (roughly 5 feet long)
- 1 ¼ inch exterior screws
- 3/8 inch dowel
- Wood glue
- Hacksaw or handsaw
- Drill bits (3/8 inch and 1/16 inch)
- Stain or sealant (optional)
- Cut the cedar board into the following pieces:
- Two 9 x 5 inch pieces for the sides
- One 6 x 5 inch piece for the front
- One 9 x 6 inch piece for the back
- One 4 ¼ x 5 inch piece for the bottom
- One 4 x 5 inch piece for the top
- One 3/8 inch dowel, cut into two 4 inch pieces
- Drill a 1 9/16 inch hole into the center of the front piece. This will be the entrance hole, so its important to get this measurement right as if it is too small the birds will not be able to use it, and too big they might get ousted by bigger species or attacked by predators.
- Use the 1/16 inch drill bit to create four drainage holes in the bottom piece.
- Sand all the pieces of wood until they are smooth.
- Attach the bottom piece to one of the side pieces using wood glue and exterior screws.
- Attach the front and back pieces to the bottom and side piece using wood glue and screws.
- Drill two 3/8 inch holes on the front and back pieces, about an inch below the roof. Insert the dowels into these holes, making sure they are level and perpendicular to the front and back pieces.
- Attach the top piece to the box using wood glue and screws. If desired the top can be covered in a waterproof material such as tarpaulin to keep rain out.
- Apply any desired stain or sealant to the wood, making sure to let it dry completely. It’s important to only paint or stain the exterior as some paints and stains can give off fumes that are harmful to birds in the nest.
Hang the box on a pole or attach it to a tree trunk. Make sure to mount it at least 5 feet off the ground. If on a pole this will need to be rocksteady not move about in bad weather.
Your bluebird nest box is now ready to be used! Keep in mind that bluebirds prefer open fields and meadows, so try to place the box in an area with plenty of open space away from the house to minimise disturbance.
You need to complete the project well before spring to allow the box to weather and lose the odours of paint etc. Siting it also needs to be before birds are about so it becomes part of the landscape when they arrive.
With any luck birds will find the box and move in, returning year after year.