Ornithologists know something that many people don’t: Birdwatching can be a peaceful and restorative experience. Encouraging birds to visit your home or yard can be challenging, however. Especially if you don’t have any houses for those feathery friends.
A well-made bird house could be the ideal place for a coupling pair to build their nest and ensure another generation of gorgeous birds. While it is possible to purchase prebuilt bird houses, the process of building your own is often fantastically rewarding.
Once you’ve built your first bird house, you’ll likely feel confident tackling more complex designs. Before you know it, you could have a bird-friendly complex of self-made houses that both you and your feathered friends can enjoy.
Important Details to Consider When Building a Bird House
Before you begin gathering your building supplies and browsing through bird house plans, you’ll want to take a moment to consider a few crucial factors. After all, not all bird houses are made of the same materials, are the same size, or are appropriate for all weather conditions and locales.
If you’re determined to make a comfortable and welcoming bird house, you’ll need to determine the best type of building materials for your project. You’ll also need to decide how large a bird house you’d like to create. Lastly, you’ll need to choose a safe spot to hang or secure your new bird house.
Bird House Size
Bird houses vary in size depending on the species they were meant to house. Smaller houses are often tailored to meet the needs of bluebirds, chickadees, and other petite birds.
Large houses can accommodate multiple families of birds, and some are even roomy enough for adult owls and their offspring. Think about the types of birds you often see around your home when deciding on bird house size.
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Additionally, smaller birds will prefer houses with small entrance holes, while larger species will naturally require larger entrances. If you build a bird house with an entrance that is too small for native birds, your house will not find avian inhabitants.
Alternatively, large entrance holes may allow squirrels, raccoons, or other mammals to find their way inside. As such, you’ll want to ensure that your finished size and entrance threshold are ideally-sized for native birds.
Types of Material to Use
Bird houses can be made of several different types of materials. While wood is one of the most common, you can also find houses made of metal, plastic, or glass. Still, some of these options aren’t practical or particularly bird-friendly. In general, it’s best to build with solid wood.
Plywood and particle boards can warp and deteriorate, making them poor construction materials. Wood that has been pretreated with chemicals may prove toxic to birds, so you should also avoid using this type of material.
Instead, you’ll want to select a pine, cypress, or untreated cedar option. You should choose wood planks or squares that are at least 1/2-inch thick, as anything thinner may splinter during the building process. However, be sure to avoid materials that are too thick, as they may make your bird house too heavy and difficult to install.
Bird House Location and Climate
Finding the best spot to place your bird house can be tricky. Not only will you need to consider your property’s limitations and your preferred species’ nesting habits, you’ll also need to take climate into account.
If you live in an area that gets plenty of snow, ice, and cool weather throughout the year, you’ll want to outfit your bird house with plenty of insulation. But if you live in a warm or subtropical region, you could get away with a thinner, cooler bird house.
Related Post: Attracting Birds in Winter
You could choose to install your bird house nearly anywhere around your yard or home. However, the height of the finished house should correlate with the type of bird you’re hoping to attract.
Bluebirds and wrens, for example, prefer homes that are between 4 and 6 feet high. Owls, on the other hand, require homes to be placed between 10 and 15 feet in the air. Before you choose a tree or installation location, be sure to consider this height challenge.
Free Bird House Plans to Consider
Now that you’re more familiar with bird houses and the various details you’ll need to consider before building one, you can begin browsing for the perfect plans. If you’ve never built a bird house, you may want to choose a simplified plan.
But if you find something that seems too advanced for your current building level, and looks amazing, be sure to bookmark it for later. The more you build, the better you’ll get at choosing patterns, measuring cuts, slicing through wood panels, and securing the walls together.
Once you’ve mastered these basics, you can begin adding elegant flourishes and embellishments. Without further ado, let’s explore some decorative bird house plans.
Basic Beginner Bird House Plans
There’s no shame in admitting you’re a beginner. To become a master of any talent or skill, you must start from square one with little (or zero) knowledge. This bird house plan is ideal for those who have never practiced carpentry before. It’s simple enough for anyone to grasp, and you’ll only need three tools to complete this bird house.
Simple Bird House Plans
If you’re ready to prioritize simplicity and affordability, this simple bird house plan may be the right option for you. Using seven pieces of cut cedarwood, this house can be put together and placed outside within the span of a few hours. The entrance hole featured in this pattern accommodates smaller species of birds, but it could also allow bluebirds to take up residence.
One-Board Bird House Plans
This bird house can be created using a single plank of plywood which helps make it one of the most affordable and straightforward options. As with the simple house, this bird house can be put together relatively quickly.
Squat Modern Bird House Plans
You don’t have to have a ton of money on hand to tackle bird house plans, and this project proves it. Though this house may be too short and squat for larger, heftier bird species, it’s an affordable and simple option that’s great for beginners and advanced carpenters alike.
Penny Roof Bird House Plans
Do you have a jar full of pennies and nothing to spend them on? These penny roof bird house plans could be the right project for you! Pennies can gleam in the sunlight and help attract new feathery residents while also adding a little shine to your yard. Besides, every tiny penny looks like a small shingle, making this one of the most charming DIY houses.
House Sparrows Nest Box
House sparrows are a common species that tend to be rather small. This nest box might look like an awkward mailbox, but it’s a 3-compartment complex designed to help house sparrows feel at home.
Hanging Bird House Plans
You don’t have to nail your finished bird house to a tree if it’s a hanging option. While hanging bird houses are more prone to wind and rain, they also pose less damage to the environment and can be easier to maintain and clean. This hanging bird house is simple yet effective.
Barn Bird House
Regardless of whether you live on a farm or in the suburbs, this barn-style bird house is too charming to not mention. The project is a bit more involved than some of the previous options, but the work is worth it. You’ll end up with a visually interesting house that’s incredibly sturdy, too.
License Plate Bird House Plans
Upcycling an old license plate can be challenging, but this bird house plan may offer you the chance to finally do something with that old plate. By bending your old license plate (hamburger-style, not hot dog), you create a strong and sturdy roof that helps keep birdies dry and safe, even in the windiest storms.
Teapot Bird House Plans
Teapot-shaped bird houses are unique and can provide a distinct type of home for birds. Tilted to the side, these bird houses offer a greater range of motion for residents and may house multiple families over time. Besides, it’s such a cute idea!
PVC Pipe Bird House Plans
Sometimes simple is best and gets the job done just as well as a more involved DIY project. Here, a PVC pipe and cap are combined with a few simple supplies to create a small bird house perfect for feathered friends.
Feeder Bird House Plans
You could choose to combine two projects in one when you build a bird feeder house. Though it may be too open and exposed for colder environments and climates, this feeder house could be an excellent home for birds living in warmer, more humid ecosystems.
Green Roof Bird House
Did you know you could go green with your bird house? This plan includes a green roof option that allows you to use the bird house as both nesting area and planter. This bird house could be a great garden decoration.
Log Cabin Bird House
There’s nothing quite like a rustic log cabin to help you feel closer to nature. If you’d like to impart this aesthetic to your local bird population, you could choose to build a log cabin bird house. Abraham Lincoln would be proud of your final creation, and while local birds may not find much use for the chimney, they are bound to find warmth and security within this mini log cabin.
Modern Mansion Bird House
This bird house may not be a massive or sprawling, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a mansion. With a modern design and appeal, this bird house rivals the looks of opulent and beloved celebrity homes. For a compact, stylish, and simple bird house, you may want to opt for this plan.
Bluebird Bird House
Bluebirds are gorgeous and wonderful to behold. However, their bright coloration can make them easy targets for prowling neighborhood cats or predatory birds. They also prefer to nest far from other birds which can make housing them a challenge. This bird house may prove difficult for beginners, but it’s an excellent intermediate-level project.
Pallet Bird House
There are thousands of uses for old wooden pallets, but you may not be aware you could use one to build a new bird house. This plan helps you incorporate pallet wood into a new project, and if you manage to get your pallet for free, you may find that this plan is one of the most cost-effective.
Simple Wren Bird House
Keeping things simple is crucial when building your first bird house. If you’re hoping to provide housing to local wrens, this specially-designed wren house could be exactly what you’ve been searching for. It includes a pivoting door that can help you empty out old, dirtied nests and make room for fresh ones.
Bird House Planter
What’s better than providing a safe nesting place for local songbirds? Using that space to grow fresh flowers and plants, of course! This bird house planter may not be ideal for birds that live high in the trees, but it could be a great garden decoration or hanging planter.
Mini Traditional Bird House Plans
Sometimes the most beautiful things in life are also the simplest things. While this miniature traditional bird house may not be able to accommodate owls, woodpeckers, or large species of birds, it could be the optimal spot for a couple of tiny songbirds. Besides, this housing option has a sincere and rustic feel that’s difficult to recreate with other plans.
Hinge Door Bird House Plans
Bird houses can get filthy, and over time, it can deter birds from taking up residence in your handmade homes. Fortunately, many bird house patterns feature hinges or removable components, allowing you to clean out your bird house from time to time. This plan includes a nifty door that’s great for quick cleaning.
Angular Chickadee Bird House Plans
A side-mounted bird house not only makes a statement, it also provides extra horizontal room for birds to move around and nest while inside the house. This angular chickadee nest can help you enjoy their company all year round and ensure that plenty of future generations have a safe home.
Ornate Backyard Bird House
Are you looking to build something extraordinary? This ornate backyard bird house could be just the thing to challenge and excite you. Though it relies on the same simple supplies as many of the basic patterns, it incorporates quite a lot of creative charm and appeal.
Tall Bird House
Well known as the Tall Texan bird house, this plan is a fantastic option for those hoping to house a family of medium or small birds. It can be crafted from a single plank of wood fencing, and either hung from a strong branch or secured to the trunk of a tree. Wrens and chickadees seem to prefer this type of home.
Milk Carton Bird House Plans
While this bird house might not feature high-quality wood, it does make a fun project, especially for those with young children. This milk carton bird house can be created with tools and materials commonly found around your home and provide hours of creative and functional fun.
There are tons of bird house plans that you can choose to explore yourself. While it may be better to start with the simplest, you may find yourself tackling more complex bird house projects in no time.