Nesting boxes make it easier for many native bird species such as tits, sparrows or redstarts to breed and raise their young. This is because these birds usually nest in burrows, which are rarely found in our tidy gardens. Nature lovers therefore make sure to offer the birds a natural environment – and this includes breeding grounds. With a few simple steps, a little time and skill, inexpensive nesting boxes can be built yourself. The following construction instructions with construction plan, list of materials and detailed instructions should encourage you to rebuild. This nesting box is a variant that is particularly easy to clean.
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Who is this guide for?
Building a nest box yourself is a fun activity for grandfathers and an interesting experience for grandchildren. For these building instructions you need about two hours from marking to cutting and assembling. The children can also lend a hand – when grinding and screwing in the screws (with a Phillips head or, under supervision, with a cordless screwdriver). It is not a kit, but requires some skill. On the other hand, the construction plan is so simple that the children should not lose interest, because the progress of the construction can be observed well.
However, the replica of the nesting box is also suitable for all other do-it-yourselfers and bird lovers – thanks to the low material and tool requirements.
Build your own nest box
- Materials list and hole sizes
- illustrated assembly instructions
- hints and tips
List of materials For the wooden nesting box, you only need a board of spruce wood measuring 20 x 120 cm and 16 mm thick. According to our research, the wood costs about 3 euros. In addition, twenty-three 40mm screws are required to assemble the nest box and two 80mm screws to attach the nest house. You also need a short nail with a maximum length of 20 mm.
A Phillips head or alternatively a cordless screwdriver is recommended as a tool, as well as a screw clamp, a hammer and a folding rule; and possibly an angle.
This nesting box with a footprint of 13 x 13 cm is suitable for redstarts, tits and sparrows. Of course, you can also adapt the dimensions of the instructions to the needs of the bird species. Here are the most important birds and hole sizes:
- 2.8 cm Ø: blue tit, crested tit, marsh tit, coal tit and willow tit
- 3.2 cm Ø: great tit, sparrow and pied flycatcher
- 3.5 cm Ø: redstart, house sparrow and nuthatch
- 5,5 cm Ø: Star
dimensions of the components
- Roof: 20 x 18.5 cm
- Side panels (2x): 16.8 x 24.5 cm / 16.8 x 26.0 cm (cut at an angle)
- Rear: 26.0 x 13.0 cm
- Front: 22.5 x 13.0 cm
- Bottom (2x): 13.0 x 6.5 cm
- Bracket inside:
- 1,8 x 16,5 cm
- 2,7 x 16,5 cm
- Bracket input (2x): 7.0 x 1.5cm
- Posture for tree: 51.0 x 4.0 cm
Many hardware stores offer the service of cutting the parts to size. Of course you can also saw at home. Don’t forget to sand down the edges with sandpaper.
Building instructions for the nest box
1) side panels
First, pre-drill holes in the side parts (see illustration). The distances to the outer edge of the wood are 7 mm. You need four holes in the ground. To attach the front and rear panels, you need a hole on the longer side, 25 mm from the top and 7 mm from the side.
Next, pre-drill the holes for the inner bracket and attach the 7.0 x 1.5 cm brackets with a screw. The distance to the side is approx. 1.7 cm, 7.0 cm above and 10.5 cm below.
2) Prepare the back panel
At the same height as the side panels on the long side, pre-drill holes in the back panel. Pre-drilling is important to avoid splitting the wood.
3) Insert floor
Now insert the floor and set the back wall. The bottom doesn’t close completely at the front. This is intentional. More on that in step four. Of course you would now need three or four hands to fasten the screws. It is therefore advisable to fix the construction with a screw clamp. This makes assembly much easier. You can then attach the screws and connect the bottom, back and side parts to each other. The nest box is now gaining shape.
4) Attach brackets to the outside
Next, attach the two brackets at the top and bottom to the front of the side walls. The wood above measures 2.7 cm x 16.5 cm and the wood below 1.8 cm x 16.5 cm. You also attach these pieces of wood with screws and, of course, also drill holes in the middle for this.
5) Attach roof
Once the nesting box is stable, you can attach the roof. Drill holes in the back corners 20 x 20 mm from the sides and in the front 20 mm from the side and 55 mm from the front edge. It must be 55 mm at the front because the roof protrudes.
6) Prepare the front
The front has a special feature. It has a recess at the bottom. This is 18 mm high and 10 mm wide, leaving 6 mm of wood. This recess then fits exactly into the gap between the base part and the outer bracket below and ensures that the nest box can be cleaned easily.
Drill the entry hole about 40 mm above. Depending on the diameter, you can also drill the hole a little deeper. Of course it would be helpful to have a suitable drill at hand. If this is not the case, you can also mark out the hole and then use a small drill to drill many holes to gradually create one large hole.
In addition to an entry hole, a jetty is needed to enable the birds to land. To do this, you can carve a bridge out of the leftover wood. In the front wall of the nesting box from these building instructions, a hole was drilled in the middle about 11.5 cm from the top, into which the bridge fits exactly. So that the bridge also holds, it is fastened with a short nail that is driven in at an angle. Make sure that the nail does not protrude from the inside of the wood.
7) Attach front
You can then insert the front into the nest box. To do this, position the front at an angle, first slide it into the top of the nest box, then press it into the nest box and move it down so that the cut-out snaps into the gap between the base part and the outer bracket below. Ready!
hints and tips
Of course, you can then embellish the self-made nesting box and make it durable by painting the outside with primer (wooden base), and then with glaze if necessary. Those who like it natural can also weather the nesting house. Spruce wood lasts a long time – you will enjoy this nesting box for at least ten years.
The nest box is not hermetically sealed. Nevertheless, it can make sense to drill a small hole in the floor and under the roof so that water can drain off and the air can circulate better in the hot summer months.
If you want to protect the hotbed and wood from moisture, you can attach a slate, roofing felt or foil to the roof. Birch bark, which is screwed on and lasts for many years, also looks particularly beautiful. There are no limits to your imagination: even an additional thatched roof is possible.
Attach nest box
Fasten the nesting box in a sheltered spot on the tree that is difficult for cats and martens to reach. In principle, this place should be at least three meters above the ground and not constantly exposed to the sun.