Do It Yourself: Bird nestbox
Before you start working on the nestbox, choose the right design depending on the species which the nestbox is intended for. A nestbox of the design proposed here could be inhabited by different tits, Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Wrens, some species of flycatchers, Redstarts, Wrynecks, Starlings and Tree Sparrows – depending on the diameter of its entrance. Use the design to plan your construction.
Use wood. To make things easier you can directly choose a board of the width needed according to the design. The board should be about 2 cm (4/5 in.) thick. It is recommended to leave the wood unvarnished.
Cut out the different shapes needed for the box with a saw and then sand them. Before fixing them together make sure they fit tightly and there are no gaps between the elements. Fix them with screws or nails (appr. 4 cm/2 in. long).
Drill the entrance on the front wall with a drill machine and a holesaw bit. If you don’t have a holesaw you can drill a series of holes along a previously drawn circle of the needed diameter. The entrance needs to be close to the roof of the nestbox; thus the ‘hole’ will be deep and better protected. Do not put a perch under the entrance as it can invite predators.
Diameter according to target species:
Tits, Nuthatches, Tree and House Sparrows – 2.8 – 3.2 cm (1 – 1.2 in.)
Treecreeper – 3.2 cm (1.25 in)
Flycatchers (Collared and Semicollared) – 3 – 3.2 см. (1.1 – 1.2 in)
Wryneck – 3.5 – 5 cm (1.4 – 2 in)
Redstart – 4 – 5 cm (1.6 – 2 in)
Starling – > 4.5 cm (1.7 in)
Wren – 5 cm (2 in)
Put the nestbox up on a tree or a wall at between 2 and 5 m (6 – 16 ft.) from the ground. There are two ways to attach it to the tree trunk. The first is less damaging for the tree. Use pliers and metal wire. Put the nestbox against the tree trunk and fix it with the wire around the trunk. Before tightening put cloth, rubber of wood padding between the wire and the tree so that it doesn’t bite into its bark with time. The second way is to attach the nestbox using nails or screws.
Select the place for your nestbox carefully. It needs to be protected from predators and humans and to offer easy access for the birds. Make sure that no obstacles in front of the box impede the easy access of the pair. It is recommended that the entrance faces north or northeast as birds do not like direct sunshine into their ‘hole’. The final position of the box can be slightly tilted forwards to stop rain and wind from coming in. You can also achieve that naturally by choosing a tree trunk that rises at a slight angle.