How to Build a Birdhouse

Birdhouse made by a 4-H member for Achievement Day.

Having birds in your garden brings beauty, not to mention the sounds of birds. If you want to keep the birds coming back, one good way is to provide them with a birdhouse. It's even more fulfilling when you make the birdhouse yourself.

A few tips to remember before you start planning your birdhouse:

  • Consider what kinds of birds you want to attract to your yard and then do some research on their nesting and feeding habits and what kinds of predators they have.
  • Think about placement of the birdhouse. You don't want to place it in the path of predators or too high or too low on a tree.
  • Consider what size of birdhouse you will need. This will depend on the type of bird you want to attract to your yard. Make your measurements carefully.
  • Choose the type of wood that you will use to build your birdhouse. Don't use pressure-treated or creosote-coated wood as this is toxic to birds. Any exterior wood, like pine, cedar, redwood or spruce will do fine and hold up to the elements.
  • Select a color. If a rustic finish is not desired you can paint your birdhouse to protect it from the weather. Darker colors such as brown, gray or dull green are usually preferred. Houses placed in the open such as ones for martins or blue birds can be painted white to reflect the heat.

Rules for building a birdhouse for 4-H Achievement Day:

a. Any 4-H member may participate.

b. Must build and exhibit a nesting box or birdhouse and submit in March or April (prior to Achievement Day)

c. Birdhouse cannot exceed the size of 12” by 12” (this is due to space limitations when transporting them.)

d. No craft kit birdhouses are allowed

e. Cannot submit a birdhouse that was previously entered the year before

f. Scoring: exhibit - 100 pts

Please see the attached "Birdhouse description" file in the "Full+page+fax+print.pdf "for a pattern you can use for your birdhouse. The pattern was taken out of the 4-H project book Forestry and Woodworking. Please remember that you will need to adjust this pattern so your birdhouse will not exceed 12” X 12”. You can also choose to find your own pattern for your bird house.

You can paint/decorate your bird house any way you choose.

Below are the recommended specifications of birdhouses for certain easily-attracted species:

                            Floor         Depth         Entrance         Diameter         Height
of                of                above                   of                above
Cavity       Cavity            Floor             Entrance         Ground
Species              (Inches)*   (Inches)       (Inches)             (Inches)            (Feet)

Wood Duck      10 x 18        10 – 24         12 – 16                  3½                10 – 20

Purple Martin     6 x 6                 6                    1                      2½                 15 – 20

House Wren       4 x 4             6 – 8              1 – 6                 7/8 – 1¼          6 – 10

Bluebird             5 x 5                 8                    6                       1½                 5 – 10

*Add twice the thickness of the material to be used to the measurement given in this column for two opposite sides.

9/20/2016 8:40:33 PM
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