Small Woodland Owners' Group

Making bird boxes

Camp fires, shelters, wild food, making things, children and more....

Postby Dennis » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:39 pm

If you like the idea of bird boxes but not the prices at your local outlet this RSPB webpage has a DIY design (from one of their leaflets):

Apart from the "where-to-cut-the-plank" details the other instructions are worth knowing. The bird box in our garden has no drainage holes and cannot be opened for an annual clean. No wonder the birds ignored it this year and let the wild bees move in.

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Postby davetb » Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:22 pm


I followed the stihl link

- more or less - 2 boxes from green beech in Feb. and both had broods this year.

I put a 'half' log for a roof as I thought it looked better than the 'plank' the site suggests.

I also screwed the roof so I can clean it out fairly easily.


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Location: Cardiff ( woodland is near Monmouth )

Postby RichardKing » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:17 am

I devised a way of making birdboxes from logs that avoids the plunge cut with the chainsaw.

Split a slice from the log using a froe (or axe).

Make two parallel cuts along the cut surface of the log using a chainsaw (or tablesaw).

Stand the log on end and split out the central square "core" using a wide bolster chizel.

Nail back the original slice that you split off (or even fit hinges !)

Roof, base & hole as per previous post.

NOTE. This needs to be done with straight grained wood, no big knots. I have used Sweet Chestnut & Scots Pine.

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Postby tracy » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:31 am

Would you creative fellows like to send me some pictures of these bird houses?

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Postby davetb » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:48 pm

Hi Tracy,

I've emailed you a photo of the two bird boxes I made from green beech to your blog email as I don't know how to upload photos to the swog site.

They both had 32mm holes - The large box had bluetits and the smaller box had something - but we never got close enough to identify the birds.

It was a bit of a joke as they were my first attempts and one of the boxes was too heavy to lift, so we attached to an adjacent tree - and were immediately occupied.

What do we know ?


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Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:12 pm
Location: Cardiff ( woodland is near Monmouth )

Postby Darren » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:36 pm

Here is a bird box I made out of a spruce log and Birch bark roof. I split the back off and hollowed out the middle.

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Postby old oak » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:10 am

How do others fix their bird boxes to their trees? What about copper nails? Is the odd one OK or do they kill trees?

old oak
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Postby Stephen1 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:29 am

A few copper nails will present no problems to the health of the tree at all - if I have to nail though I use aluminum ones, as they're a bit safer for any future chainsaw users - although obviously copper is better than steel!

If the branching pattern of the tree allows though I use strips of heavy duty butyl pond linner. These are attached to the box and knotted around the trunk and over one branch of the tree. I then tickle over the knot with a blow torch to stop it loosening over time. I've never had any problems with animals chewing these. They also are very uv stable - they are designed to be, plus during the summer they're in the shade of the woodland canopy. I have some of these butyl fixings still going strong at ten years old.

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