How To Build A Bird Box

Birds are relying on nest boxes more and more as their natural nesting sites, such as tree cavities, are disappearing. 

A nest box in a garden can help a local species breed successfully, particularly if you put out a suitable supply of food and water nearby. 

Building a bird box is a simple DIY project that you can complete in a few hours. Get the kids involved to help  introduce them to the importance of wildlife conservation. 

Follow our step-by-step instructions and provide a safe home in which birds can bring up their chicks. 

DIY Bird Box

What you will need

Plank of timber – 15 mm thick, 150 mm wide, and at least 1500 mm long


Tape measure

Jigsaw or small saw

Sand paper

Hole saw (optional)


Nails and screws

Strip of rubber

Linseed oil or non-toxic wood preservative

Water-based, non-toxic paint (optional)

Strong cord


  1. Choose the right wood. The wood should be hardwood approved by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). Make sure the wood is not pressure-treated and that it is fairly rough so chicks can grip the sides to get out. Cedar, oak, or beech would be ideal. You could make your bird box from a softwood such as pine but it will not last as long.

  2. Measure and mark out the pieces for your bird box using the pencil and tape measure.

  3. Cut out the pieces and sand down any rough edges.

  4. To cut out the hole in the front you can either use a hole saw or flat wood drill bit. The hole should be the right size for the species you want to attract and at least 120 mm from the base so that nestlings can’t fall out. Sand the hole to make it smooth and remove any splinters that could injure the birds as they go in and out of the box.

  5. Drill some 8 mm holes in the base for drainage.

  6. Nail or screw all the pieces together except for the roof.

  7. Use the strip of rubber to make a hinge for between the roof and the back of the bird box.

  8. Drill an 8 mm hole in each of the top corners of the back board of the bird box.

  9. You can treat the bird box with linseed oil or wood preservative but be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for birds. You could also paint the bird box with non-toxic paint.

  10. Tie some strong cord through the holes in the back of the bird box and hang in a suitable location.

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