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how to build a birdhouse


From Habitat magazine - issue 21

Adding a birdhouse to the garden is a win-win – you're supporting local bird life and gaining a slug and bug buster.

Birdhouse project

You will need:

Tools and equipment: work bench, slide compound, mitre saw, nail gun, or hammer and galvanised brad nails, belt sander or sheets of sandpaper, drill and bits, including 42mm hole saw bit, jigsaw, post-hole borer or spade, wheelbarrow, safety googles and ear-muffs, Resene paint and brushes.

Materials: 3m of 180mm x 19mm non-treated pine, cedar or macrocarpa, 75mm x 75mm 2.4m long post, 60mm piece of doweling, quick-set concrete. Use our bird outline as a stencil.

The best birdhouses:

  • Are made of untreated timber and finished in non-toxic finishes
  • Face east to avoid strong sunlight and prevailing winds
  • Are deep enough for the build up of nest material and have a couple of drainage holes in the base
  • Have a removable roof to enable an annual clean-out by humans
  • Are placed by a vege garden if you have one to keep your crops free of slugs and snails but are high enough off the ground and away from trees and fences so that predators can't reach them
Supplies you will need
Supplies
Step 1
Step 1
Step 1b
Step 1b

Step 1:  Cut out the pieces for the birdhouse, using the full plank width. The 180mm x 270mm roof pieces have a 45-degree bevel on one long edge so they fit together to form a gable. Ours is made for starlings so measures 450mm high to the top of the gable, with 360mm high sides. The base measures 180mm x 140mm. Sand any rough edges or surfaces.

Step 2
Step 2
Step 3
Step 3
Step 4
Step 4

Step 2:  Mark the hole in the centre of the front panel. Line the top up with the 45-degree gable angle. Drill a hole for the peg. Also drill a couple of drainage holes in the base piece of the birdhouse.

Step 3:  Assemble the body of the birdhouse, nailing the front and one side together. Attach the base and the 40mm wide landing ledge inside, then add the second side and the back.

Step 4:  Draw a bird shape around the hole with the foot ending on the peg and paint with Resene Black. Or you can jigsaw the shape instead. Paint the peg and insert it. Paint the roof, using a Resene testpot (which is fine for outdoor use). We used Resene Clockwork Orange. NB: You may prefer not to include a peg as many cavity nesting birds don't need them. If you live in the north, the peg may encourage predator birds like mynah.

Step 5
Step 5
Step 6
Step 6
Step 6b
Step 6b

Step 5:  Assemble the roof, spacing the struts so that they slip inside the body of the house. Fill nail holes if desired and lightly sand.

Step 6 :  Attach the platform to the top of the pole. Bore or dig a hole and set the pole with quick-set concrete. Fill half of the birdhouse with dry wood shavings, moss or pine needles to give the birds a nesting start.

All equipment and expertise from Hirepool. Visit www.hirepool.co.nz or call 0800 15 15 15.

created by: Philippe Morin
pictures: Mark Heaslip


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