How to Build a Bluebird House

By Contributor
Small details will make your birdhouse extra special.

With their brilliant blue feathers, the bluebird is a fascinating species to watch. Their courting and nesting behaviors make the state bird of Missouri one of the more unique birds native to the United States. Building a house for them to use to in your yard will provide you with hours of enjoyment.

Mark off two 8-inch pieces from your 1-by-6 board. These pieces will be used to make one of the side pieces and the front.

Measure off and mark a second piece for the side to a length of 7 7/8 inches. Because of the shorter length of this board, there will be room for the side to pivot.

Mark an 8 1/4 inch piece from the board to make the roof.

Mark off a 4-inch piece that will become the floor.

Mark off the remaining piece to 11 inches. This piece will make the back of the bluebird house.

Cut the pieces out carefully using a compound miter saw, jigsaw or hand saw.

Drill 3/8-inch holes into the floor piece of your birdhouse for drainage. Also, drill two holes using the 3/8-inch drill bit at the top of two of your side pieces in order to provide a place for ventilation.

Cut a 1 1/2-inch hole in the front piece for the entryway. The hole should be centered and 2 inches down from the top.

Nail the floor piece to the back piece. Nail the longer side piece on. Align pieces and nail on the front piece. Attach your last piece, which will be the shorter side, using only one nail on either side at an equal height. You should leave 1/8 inch clearance from the top. This will allow the bottom of this side to give you access to clean the house.

Nail the roof on the stationary side, back and front, leaving the roof unattached at the pivoting side.

Drill a hole using a 1/8-inch bit from the front into the pivoting side, close to the bottom of the piece of wood. This will be used to slide a nail into it and out of it to lock the side closed.

Paint your house any color you like. Add creative details like shutters, roof tiles or a brick wall. Or try gluing cotton sprinkled with glitter to the roof to make it look like snow. Perhaps make a sign saying "Bluebird Hotel" out of leftover wood pieces and attach it just over the entry hole.

Mount the birdhouse 4 to 6 feet high with a nail or other fastener, pointing the entrance towards the closest large tree or shrub.

Tip

If you install more than one birdhouse, be sure to mount them at least 100 yards apart. Bluebirds are quite territorial and won't use the houses if they are too close together.

As soon as you know the young have left the nest, clean out the house and make any necessary repairs. Repairs should be made every February.

Keep other species out of the boxes. Tear out the nests and plug the hole temporarily until they move on to another location.

Use an inverted metal cone or metal sleeve to help deter predators from the bluebird house.

If the entrance hole is too rough, sand it using a medium grade sandpaper.

Before nailing on the roof, test your pivot piece to ensure there is enough room for it to work properly.

Wear gloves and eye protection when using power tools to make this bluebird house.

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