What should my first woodworking birdhouse be?

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Forum topic by WoodGoddess posted 10-06-2012 01:22 PM 1397 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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100 posts in 2063 days

10-06-2012 01:22 PM

So I did a “search” for a birdhouse. I want to put it near my deck. I found that there are tons of choices! I got a bit overwhelmed and I’d hate to begin something only to find I’m not ready for it. Any suggestions? Websites? Thanks so much!

12 replies so far

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#1 posted 10-06-2012 03:13 PM

First of all determine what types i.e. species are native to your area…some want a specific type of house and they all prefer a certain size entry hole with landing perch. be sure to make the bottom of the house removable for clean out. After doing that research do a search for house for the birds in your area. Hope this long winded answer helps. Larry

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

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2767 posts in 2292 days

#2 posted 10-06-2012 03:33 PM

I built a few basic birdhouses like this:

Couple of things: I mount mine to a pole or small shelf bracket on my porch post so I have a fixed bottom and the front is held on with two drywall screws letting me clean out for the next tenant. I have basically had Wrens living there and hatching babies, which is a delight to hear when mom and dad take turns coming back with a gnat. Also, do not put a little perch on your house. The birds don’t need it and it’s only a handhold for predators. A birdhouse is one of the best projects because if your joints aren’t tight or a measurement is off the bird just doesn’t care. Plus you can use up your scraps and use any kind of saw to make one.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is a wealth of info in birds and birdwatching.

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Bill White

4929 posts in 3956 days

#3 posted 10-06-2012 05:49 PM

Blue bird houses are ALWAYS a cool project. Some accuracy is needed, but not too overwhelming. Besides that, bluebirds are cool little creatures.
Might not be for deck location (too close to we humans), but close enough to watch the little critters.


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3050 posts in 2252 days

#4 posted 10-06-2012 11:32 PM

If you have squirrels in your area you might consider putting some metal flashing around the opening to discourage them somewhat.

-- Art

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14940 posts in 2685 days

#5 posted 10-07-2012 02:42 AM

If you have wrens, they will nest really close to human activity and are very entertaining. Check the links listed above for the proper hole size as I can’t remember but it is small.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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2767 posts in 2292 days

#6 posted 10-07-2012 12:52 PM

I’ve had wrens nest in potted plants hanging on the porch. I keep a couple of houses high on the posts of a west facing porch. Robins nest in trees, and once I had a baby robin hatched in a nest made on the manifold of my tractor. Never had a problem with squirrels bothering houses. They’re too busy with seeds and nuts.

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1215 posts in 2680 days

#7 posted 10-07-2012 04:54 PM

bluebirds…they are a little “shy” and prefer open spaces to get their food (they are amazing to watch and eat bugs!). I do have one on a post outside my shop (about 30 ft from the door and 15 ft from the building itself but it overlooks an open field. 2 hatches this year and looked like we were going to get a 3rd but mother nature is what it is.

wrens are doable as are chickadees…I’ve never known most other desirable birds (cardinals, orioles, buntings, grosbeaks) to nest in a box. whatever you do, size the hole to prevent sparrows and/or cowbirds or plan on buying a BB gun and a ton of BBs (check local laws) and don’t worry about the Audobon Society with those species…

don’t forget you can also build feeders instead of houses.

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1642 posts in 2979 days

#8 posted 10-07-2012 04:59 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks WoodGoddess,

I agree, that you should research the type of birds native to your local. Robbins and Doves like an open sided house where Wrens and others prefer closed sided houses. Some prefer perches and others don’t. Be sure to put a wire hail screen or other material on the inside of the hole to give them something to climb out on. Here’s a link for a couple of Bluebird houses that other birds will use also.

Here’s a link that will help you with hole sizes and other dimensions for different types of birds.

I would recommend that if you have any squirrels nearby and there usually are, that you build a house for them as well.

Most cuts are simple cuts and generally the same degree of angle cut for all angle cuts. So houses can be as simple or complicated as you want to get. In the end the birds don’t care as long as the sizes are right for them. Good projects for anyone who feeds the birds. Hope you find this information useful, and as you can guess this what I’m planning to do myself to get back into the shop before it gets to cold.

Have fun.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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100 posts in 2063 days

#9 posted 10-07-2012 08:44 PM

You guys are awesome! Thank you so much. So I’ve discovered that I get a lot of “Carolina Wrens” in my yard. And one even made her nest in my BBQ cover. I felt horrible because I had no clue and didn’t see it until it was too late. Though I will admit that the wren’s in my yard are not as “round” as I see here. Here’s a link to the birds I’m hoping will find a home with me. :D

With your guys help I was able to streamline my search, learn about the birds’ native here, and find a suitable house! Do you want to work for Wagner Meters…you experts you!?

Now…here’s the link to what I’ll be building…

The best news….my first woodworking project will be with red cedar!!!!! So it’s going to smell lovely! Now I’ll call on the experts here…how do I ensure it’s of the right moisture content? How is red cedar’s moisture content and where can I purchase some? Is it an easy wood to cut?

Thanks so much! I’m so excited…no worries I plan to Twitter and blog about my experiences with building my very first bird house. ;)

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2767 posts in 2292 days

#10 posted 10-08-2012 01:17 PM

Cedar is a soft wood, so very easy to cut. You can do the whole project with a hand saw or jig saw or band saw. I’d pass on the hinged top and just pull the front off to clean. Lumberyard, maybe a Lowes or Home Depot, but you could make this out of anything. Don’t worry about moisture, any cedar you pick up will be plenty dry.

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1215 posts in 2680 days

#11 posted 10-08-2012 02:24 PM

dhazelton…I agree on dumping the hinges. cedar is pretty soft and will last forever. the hinges won’t. I’ve built some houses and the “hinges” consisted of galv nails so one side or the front could swing (up or down depending on how you want to do it). Another nail served as a pin to hold the swing panel closed.

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100 posts in 2063 days

#12 posted 10-08-2012 03:07 PM

Sounds good! I’m not really sure how I’ll be able to make it so the front can be removed without hinges. I’ll have to play around with the pieces and let you guys know. Thanks so much!!!

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