Painting A Bird Box

Most bird boxes are finished in natural wood but you may choose to paint yours to make it a feature in your garden or to help preserve it and extend its life.

Painted Bird House

Although unpainted hardwood bird houses will withstand the weather quite well, a softwood birdhouse made of pine or plywood can be made weatherproof and will last longer with a coat of paint.

Birds are quite happy to nest in painted bird boxes although be aware that a very brightly coloured bird house may attract predators and some paints can be toxic to birds. Dark coloured bird boxes will absorb more heat making them potentially dangerous so pick colours that will help camouflage your bird house and reflect sunlight. You should always position your bird house in a shady spot if possible.

Make sure you use a water-based paint and avoid lead-based paints or creosote that are toxic to birds. You can buy eco-friendly paints and stains that are kind to the environment. Choose natural colours such as brown, green and grey or if your bird house is going to be sited amongst flowers you may want to pick more colourful paints.

Don’t paint inside the box or round the entrance hole as birds may peck at it and ingest chips of paint. And clear film finishes such as shellac, varnish or lacquer shouldn’t be used as sunlight and moisture will cause it to crack, blister and peel.

Once you have painted your bird house leave it to dry thoroughly for a few days which will also give it time for any potentially toxic fumes to disperse. Ideally paint a bird box at the end of the summer which will allow the paint to fully cure before the breeding season.

When cleaning your nest box at the end of each breeding season check the paint and if it is peeling or has chipped repaint as necessary. This will help keep your bird house in good condition and lasting longer.

You can also buy kits for children to make and paint their own bird houses:

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