Build a DIY Birdhouse- Part 1

Building a DIY birdhouse is not just for the birds, it is for you too. Birds give us a little impromptu show with a full cast of winged characters. Learning about different species that visit your backyard, and sharing this curiosity with children, is a great outdoor education. So why not build a happy home for your feathered friends and experience this wonderful outdoor project for kids.

A birdhouse can be built with just a few simple hand tools. A simple construction technique can be used to build a very nice looking birdhouse for your yard. You can choose whether to paint your birdhouse with a bright color or allow it to weather and blend in with nature. Building a wooden birdhouse is a project that children can easily help out with.

*Tip- A birdhouse should be placed somewhere in your yard where it can be observed or seen easily. Try placing it somewhere around a canvas gazebo or close to a park bench, deck or patio, anywhere that it can be easily seen and enjoyed.
Colorful, whimsical birdhouses add punch and personality to garden areas, but bright paint is more pleasing to the human eye than to birds. If your goal is to attract nature’s aviators, a different finish may be required to attract the females, who generally avoid drawing attention to their nesting areas.

When choosing paint, buy exterior latex finish. Do not paint the interior of the birdhouse. This is because birds will not nest in a house that smells like humans. Dark colors absorb and retain heat, and birds prefer a cooler home. So choose lighter, duller colors, as opposed to high-gloss brights, if bird attraction is your goal.

If you don’t want to paint your birdhouse, use cedar, redwood, or cypress. These materials are naturally rot resistant and do not require finish. These woods woods will naturally weather and turn gray as they age.

Finally, the size of your birdhouse will invite certain species to nest. You should cut the entrance hole, which is the door to your birdhouse, exactly to specifications. This is very important because if it is any larger it could invite in their predators.

Building Preliminaries
Before you measure and cut wood, draw a plan for your birdhouse on paper. Exact measurements are important with this and any project. Sloppy corners and lines result in awkward pieces that don’t fit together, so be sure to pay attention to detail. A try square will help you draw perfect corners. Also, be sure to mark centers and sides of each piece. Following these guidelines will help you assemble your birdhouse properly.

If you have power tools, you will reduce the labor factor in this project, but since you are building a birdhouse instead of a four-bedroom ranch, handsaws are safer to use with children and are appropriate for a project of this scope.

*Tip- Always wear safety glasses when using saws of any kind. Also, review safety tips with children, and stress that tools are helpful, but potentially dangerous.

Hole and Depth Sizes for Different Birds
*Bluebird- 1 1/2” hole & 8”depth, Chickadee- 1 1/8” hole & 8-10”depth, House Wren- 1-1 1/4”& 6-8” depth, Redheaded woodpecker-2”& 12-15” depth, Screech owl- 3” & 12-15” depth. Robin-one side open & 8” depth, Barn swallow-one side open & 6” depth.

*Build a DIY Birdhouse- Part 2, will give a detailed supply and material list as well as detailed steps and directions for the perfect wooden birdhouse.

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