Building a Bird House is Fun and Easy

When building a bird house you will need to consider the types of wild birds that you are trying to attract. Birds that nest in bird houses are called cavity-nesters. Some cavity-nesters, like woodpeckers, will excavate their own hole for nesting.

Other species of cavity-nesters will use abandoned woodpecker holes or naturally created cavities for nesting. Some examples of these species are chickadees, nuthatches and flycatchers.

Click here for suggested bird house dimensions.

bird at nest box

Building a bird house for the wild birds in your area helps replace some of the natural habitat lost to development.

Bird houses come in many shapes and sizes. Some are made to be decorative and some are made to be functional.

The information provided here will focus on building a bird house that is more functional than decorative. However, a bird house that is functional can be wonderful to look at. I can think of few things as beautiful as watching parenting birds feeding and rearing their young fledglings. 

Have you ever considered building a bird house, but thought it was too hard? Following these step by step instructions will make building a bird house fun and easy.

Features of a good bird house:

  • The size of the bird house, the entrance hole and the design of the bird house should be consistent with the type of birds you are trying to attract.
  • Use at least 3/4-inch thick untreated wood. Pine, cedar and fir are good choices.
  • The roof should be slanted with an overhang of 5" to 6". This will keep predators from reaching inside and destroying the nest.
  • Ventilation near the roof will allow airflow through the bird house in order to reduce heat.
  • Drainage holes in the bottom and a raised floor will help to keep the nest and inhabitants dry.
  • One side should open to make it easy for cleaning after the nesting season is over.
  • The inside should be rough or have ladders installed to allow the baby birds to crawl up to the hole.
  • The bird house should be made from sturdy materials using exterior nails or screws.
  • After building a bird house consider how you will be mounting it. Extending the back above the roof and below the bottom will make it easier to attach it to a tree or pole. If you are going to use straps wrapped around a tree, you will need a few extra holes.
  • Attaching a block of wood, 3/4" to 1" thick, around the entrance hole will make it more difficult for cats and raccoons to reach inside.

When building a bird house do not:

  • Use a perch. It will only make it easier for predators to get to the nest and the birds don't need it.
  • Paint the inside of the bird house. If you want to paint the outside, use a water-based, neutral color that blends with the surroundings.
  • Use glue or any adhesives. They can be harmful to birds.

Step By Step Directions For Building A Birdhouse For A Nuthatch

By adjusting the dimensions, you can use this same style of nest-box to attract many species including: flycatchers, titmice, chickadees, wrens and blue birds.


(Make sure you read and understand the directions and safety instructions for your tools before using them :)

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Saw (hand or electric)
  • Screw driver (hand or electric)
  • Drill
  • 1/8""drill bit
  • 5/32" drill bit
  • 5/16" drill bit
  • 3/8" drill bit
  • 1 1/8" drill bit
  • Framing square
  • 3/4" chisel (optional)


  • 1 - 1" x 6" x 8' piece of pine, cedar or fir (the actual size will be3/4" x 5 3/4" x 8')
  • 1 - 1" x 10" x 10 1/2" long (roof)
  • 20 - 1 1/4" all weather screws or #6 galvanize nails
  • 2 - 1 1/2" galvanized roofing nails (for pivoting door)

Cut List:

  1. Floor 4" x 4". Cut off each corner for drainage.

Cut off each corner

  1. Side pieces, back 10 1/4", front 9 1/4" width 43/4".

cut two side pieces

  1. Cut front 4" x 9 5/16" and score the inside.

front piece of birdhouse

  1. Drill the entrance hole in front piece, 6" to 8"from the bottom. (Optional) Attach a square piece of wood, 2 1/2" x 2 1/2", over the position of the entrance hole before drilling. Then drill through both.

Drill the entrance hole in front piece

  1. Cut the roof 9 1/2" x 10 1/2". (Optional: miter the edge of the roof that fits to the back for a more watertight fit)

Cut the roof of birdhouse
  1. Cut back 5 1/2" x 20". (Optional) On the back, measure 4" down from the top and draw a line. Measure down 3/4" and draw a second line. Saw inside of each line and several times in between about 1/8" deep. Use a chisel to clean out the slot so that the roof will fit inside. This will keep moisture from running down the back into the nest box.

  1. For ventilation, drill three 3/8" holes on each side near the top.


assembling a birdhouse
  1. Align the sides on the back 4 3/4" down from the top (or aligned with optional slot). Drill pilot holes through the back into the sidepieces.

    Two on each side should be enough. Attach the sides to the back with screws or nails.

measuring the birdhouse
  1. Align the floor 3/8" from the bottom of the sides. Drill pilot holes through the sides into the floor.

    Two on each side will be enough. Attach the floor to the sides with screws or nails.

aligning the birdhouse
  1. Align the front to the top of the sides. Measure 3"down from the top on each side. Drill a 1/8" pilot hole through the sides into the front piece. Remove the front and enlarge the hole in the sides with the 5/32" drill bit. Place front piece on the bird house and attach with roofing nails. The front should pivot open, to clean out the bird house when needed. Drill pilot hole through front into floor. Attach the front to the floor

aligning roof on the top
  1. Align roof on top with equal overhang on each side. Drill pilot holes through roof into sides.

    Two on each side should be enough. Attach roof to sides with screws or nails.


After building a bird house you will need to hang it.

Here are two options:

Wooden birdhouse mounted on a tree
  • You can screw your bird house directly to a tree or pole. Use two screws through the top and bottom of the back for a secure mount.
  • To have less impact on the tree you have chosen consider using bungee cords. Drill two 3/8" holes on the top and bottom. Use a bungee cord that will wrap tightly around the trunk. Wrap the top bungee cord over a branch and around the trunk. Put the hooks through the drilled holes. Repeat for the bottom bungee cord; sing a branch for the bottom is unnecessary.

Building a bird house is a perfect weekend project for you and your kids.

Observing the nesting behavior of wild birds will be fascinating to you and your children. Knowing that they were involved in the construction process of building a bird house, will give them an even bigger sense of accomplishment. Combining a birdhouse with a few bird feeders will create a natural bird habitat in your own back yard.

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