Derek Jones makes a birdhouse for the garden.
Derek Jones makes a birdhouse for the garden
This little bird box is made out of 15mm exterior-grade plywood and some off-cuts of softwood tongue and groove. The roof uses up some leftover strips of roofing felt. This design can be adapted to make different types of nest box to attract different kinds of birds – a hole-fronted box for smaller birds, such as tits or sparrows, or an open-fronted design for robins or flycatchers, for instance. The opening roof in the hole-fronted box design enables you to clean out the box thoroughly in the winter to reduce the chances of disease or infestation, but do not be tempted to inspect the box during nesting through spring and summer. The hook on the roof protects the young from predators such as crows, squirrels or rats.
Species to expect
This birdhouse would make an ideal home for:
UK species – with hole front: house sparrow, tree sparrow, tits (willow tit, right), wren, nuthatch, pied flycatcher; with open front: robin, wren, pied wagtail, spotted flycatcher.
US species – with hole front: nuthatch, titmouse, wren, warbler, chickadee, warblers; with open front: barn swallow, phoebe.
Things you will need
• 15mm external plywood
• 15mm softwood tongue and groove
• Mineralized roofing felt
• Brass hook
• Polyurethane glue
• Front and back 228 x 228mm and trim
• Sides 118 x 165mm and trim
• Base 142 x 127mm and trim
• Roof 165 x 178mm and trim
• Top 228 x 210mm
1. Line up your pieces of tongue and groove for the front and carefully mark a centreline down the middle
2. If you are using very small pieces you might want to adjust the angle slightly, but don’t reduce the floor size too much. Cut the angles on the individual components and use the centre line and a straight edge to make sure everything lines up
3. With a closed-front box, you should provide some footholds on the interior to aid young birds in reaching the entrance hole. Some grooves like this would be fine; alternatively, glue some small strips of wood up
to the hole
4. Nail and glue together the lower part of the box, using the front as a template for the back. Create the angles for the roof and fix one half in place with glue and pins
5. Drill the entrance hole 32mm in diameter and trim the edges of the bottom so that they match the slope
of the sides
6. Remove any sharp edges or splinters around the hole inside and out with some 150 grit abrasion paper
7. Drill a couple of small holes in the bottom of the box to allow any water that might collect inside the box to drain out
8. Using a craft knife, cut some strips of roofing felt 63mm wide to lay across the top
9. Start at the base of the roof. With the loose roof piece in place, glue the strips of felt in place using either silicone adhesive or hot-melt glue. Allow an overlap of at least 13mm on each strip. The last strip to be glued along the ridge acts as a hinge, allowing the loose part of the roof to be lifted so you have access to clean out the box
10. A closed hook fitted to the underside of the roof can be used to fix the lid closed and keep out predators
11. The finished birdhouse ready for its location and residents