Anyone who enjoys having birds around them will find a bird house inexpensive to build and great fun. Bird house plans come in many shapes and sizes and you need to know what you want to build before you start looking for bird house plans.
It’s just as easy to build a well-built house as it is to build a terrible one, so I suggest you make something you can be proud of and will suit your purpose. The finished article should be sturdy, rain-proof, and easily accessible for cleaning. By using some imagination, you can make your bird house an attractive addition to the landscape.
Wood is the only building material you should consider. Metals get extremely hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. Plastics are hard to work with and cardboard will not last. You should also consider the bird’s preferences, which will undoubtedly be for wood.
So, wood it is.
When looking at different bird house plans you should be prepared to make yours as “bird-friendly” as you can. Even if this means altering the design slightly. For example, make sure your roof has sufficient pitch to be able to shed water. I don’t know about where you live, but in my little corner of the world, it rains a lot!
Make sure you leave at least three inches (7 cms) of overhang in order to protect the entrance hole from heavy rain. Expect a little water to seep in to the bird house, so it’s also a good idea to drill four small holes near each corner of the floor to allow for drainage.
As well as thinking about drainage, it’s often a good idea to insert a suitable number of holes near the roof of the box (protected from rain by the overhang) to provide ventilation in locations where it can get hot. It is also important to remember that the house should be put together using screws (not nails or glue) to allow for easy access for cleaning.
Your entrance hole should be nearer the top of the box than the bottom and be large enough for the size of the bird you want to use your house. Make sure it’s not too large so as to make the birds vulnerable to predators. For the same reason, many bird protection agencies caution against having a shelf or perching post near your entrance, whether your bird house plans include one or not.
To help the young hatchlings to climb to the opening of the bird house, it’s a good idea to roughen the inside walls (especially the one housing the opening) or add horizontal grooves. This can be achieved with either a jigsaw or a chisel. Just make sure to smooth away any splinters that might harm the young birds.
Houses should be located somewhere hard for natural predators to reach. The opening should ideally face away from any prevailing wind and – if possible – should not be completely shaded. Despite what your bird house plans may say, avoid bright colours and gloss paints completely. The inside is best unpainted and, although the wood you use should be treated for outside use, avoid smelly creosote and varnishes. Birds don’t like the smell!
It’s important that bird houses shouldn’t be placed too close together. Some birds are programmed to protect territorial rights and conflicts could result in fights and in your hard work being ignored and unused.
There: I hope that gives you some idea how to adapt bird house plans to make the most out of your woodworking project. Provided you use common sense and good plans, you really can’t go wrong.