Birdhouses offer a simple and fun craft project to make at home and they can be a great way to watch local wildlife. In addition to teaching basic carpentry skills, a birdhouse may attract a wide range of nesting bird species. The size of a birdhouse often affects which types of birds it will attract, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For example, a bird box with a four-inch by four-inch floor and a depth of six to eight inches will attract small bird species like chickadees, nuthatches, and at least three species of wrens. The house wren, the Bewick's wren, and the Carolina wren all love small birdhouses. Meanwhile, larger birdhouses may attract various owl species and wood ducks, depending on the natural habitat surrounding the box.
Although the style options for birdhouses are endless, many birds will be content with one basic, easy-to-build rectangular style. The rectangular-style birdhouse is simple to build in a variety of different sizes. It is also easy to clean, thanks to its swing-open front. You will need the following supplies:
These instructions describe how to make a box with the right dimensions for bluebirds. To build a birdhouse for another bird species, alter the dimensions to fit. The U.S. EPA offers a list of proper dimensions for various birds.
First, prepare the pieces of your birdhouse. Cut the back piece to 18 inches in length and five and one-half inches wide. Then, cut the top edge of the back at a 12-degree angle. The two side pieces should each be eleven and one-half inches long and five and one-half inches wide and also have a 12-degree angle on their top edges. Drill two 3/8-inch holes near the top of each side piece. These will provide ventilation for the birdhouse's inhabitants.
Next, prepare the birdhouse floor by cutting a piece of wood four inches wide and five and one-half inches long. Measure 3/8-inch up the edge side of the floor, starting at the corners. Cut diagonally from one end of the 3/8-inch mark to the other, making a diagonal "notch" in the floor piece.
Prepare the front of the birdhouse. The front is 10 and one-half inches high and five and one-half inches wide and also has a 12-degree beveled edge at the top. Cut a hole one and one-half inch in diameter in the center of the front near the top. This hole is the entrance to the birdhouse.
Finally, cut a piece of wood nine inches long and eight inches wide. This piece is the roof.
Now nail each side of the birdhouse to the back, lining up the long edges. The angled ends of the sides and back should be on the same short end of the birdhouse. These edges support the roof. Insert the floor piece at the non-angled end of the birdhouse, about one-half inch from the bottom, and nail it into place.
Line up the front piece with the sides and floor of the birdhouse. Measure one inch down the one side of the birdhouse. Insert a nail here. The single nail should allow the front to swing open so it can be cleaned. Align the top of the birdhouse so that the nine-inch-long sides face front and back and the eight-inch sides face the sides. Nail into place against the back and sides, but not the front, of the birdhouse.