The construction of nesting boxes is easy and it is recommended especially where natural breeding caves are missing, such as hedges, knotholes, old and rotten trees or brittle masonry. Nesting boxes can save lives in winter, not just birds, even butterflies or squirrels. In the cold season, birds burn a lot of energy. So for birds, one night unprotected outdoors can mean death.

Building Bird Nesting Boxes

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How to Make Bird Nesting Boxes

It is recommended to install nesting boxes at a height of 2-3 meters. The main hole should by no means point south (heat) or west (cold). Optimal is an orientation to the east or southeast. Of course, no water should be able to penetrate.
Nesting aids for the same bird species should be placed as far as possible (from 10-15 meters; with the exception, aids for colony breeders such as sparrows or starlings, otherwise there may be a lack of food).

Which Nest box should I choose?

Get something rustic and natural. Make sure there’s some cover or some ivy and that sort of thing around. Certain types of birds can be specifically promoted based on the size of the entry holes:

Tits (2.5 to 3 cm)
Nuthatch: 3-3.5 cm
Flycatcher, sparrows: about 3,6 cm
Star: 4.5 cm
Cave breeders (eg some swifts, bank swallows, hoopoe) need a safe half-cave.

The wood used should be an untreated natural wood (e.g., spruce, fir), which may have a water-repellent glaze (eg olive oil). Inside, the wood should have “ripples” (e.g., a wire brush) to help the young birds get out easier. The interior should be at least 12 X 12 inches tall. Perches are usually not necessary, these can pose a security risk.

Key features of a nesting box

  • There should be two holes on each of the side walls for ventilation.
  • Add at least 4 drainage holes to the floor to allow water to drain away.
  • Walls of the birdhouse should be at least 3/4″ thick to insulate the nest properly.
  • A hinged side gives you access for cleaning and monitoring your nest box.
  • Use galvanized screws for the seal. Do not use nails or staples.
  • A sloped roof that overhangs the front and the sides will help keep out driving rain water.
  • A recessed floor keeps the net from getting wet. It helps the box last longer.
  • The interior wall below the entrance of the nesting box should be rough enough to help nestlings easily climb out of it.
  • A perch is unnecessary. It can help predators gain access to the box.
  • Adding a baffle/ predator guard keeps bird safe from climbing predators such as snakes, raccoons, cats, chipmunks etc. Mount your birdhouse on a metal pole equipped with a baffle. A few extra inches at the top and bottom of your box can make it easier to mount on a metal pole. Avoid mounting it on trees or fence posts.

Source: nestwatch.org

When should I put up this box?

It doesn’t really matter but I would say the optimum time would be during the winter. Don’t leave it too late because birds start prospecting and trying out nest sites quite early on. So make sure that the nest boxes are up by January. Good luck! And you will need luck because you can’t even ever guarantee that anybody is going to use your nesting box!