DIY Nesting Box Plans {+Book Giveway}

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Update: Book Giveaway Closed. Congratulations to Debbie and SueSchneid22!

It is really cool when birds settle into backyard birdhouse nesting boxes, but did you know many are not safe? Just as each species of bird makes different choices based on their needs when nesting in the wild, they will also have different needs when selecting a human-made nesting box.

Design, location, and materials matter. For example, a mama bird may start nesting in a generic birdhouses but, due to wrong dimensions or slippery surfaces, the babies find themselves trapped at fledging time, unable to climb out. Perches can enable predators to attack the nest. It’s worthwhile to learn about the right choices so your birds can enjoy greater safety. It’s not an easy out there in the food chain!

If you would rather just make a decorative birdhouse to use as garden art, there’s free instructions here.

DIY Birdhouses - make a chickadee nesting box

Easy Birdhouses & Feeders, Simple Projects to Attract & Retain the Birds You Want by Michael Berger has plans for building 16 different nesting boxes, 10 bird feeders, and some birdbaths as well. Included is information on the needs of various bird species, which materials to use, where to locate the birdhouse, and what to expect when your birds are expecting. See the bottom of this post to enter to win a copy of this book.

The book includes birdhouse plans for the following birds:  America Robin, Mourning Dove, House Wren, Black-Capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Easter Bluebird, Flycatcher, Norther Flicker, Woodpecker, Wood Duck, American Kestrel, Barred Owl, Screech Owl, and Barn Owl.

Want certain birds to call your garden home? Make them a custom nesting box.

DIY BIRDHOUSE

Today I’m featuring the plans for a Black-Capped Chickadee Nesting Box
All text and images are courtesy of Cool Springs Press / Quayside Publishing Group.

A common visitor to bird feeding stations in the northern United States and most of Canada, for me, the chickadee signals winter and snow. Even though the bird is extremely prevalent in summer (and in fact doesn’t generally migrate), it’s in the winter around my bird feeders where I hear them singing their long drawn-out chick-a-dee-dee-dee call.

While this house (which the Carolina Chickadee in the South will also use) may look a bit more complicated than a basic box-style house, it’s actually fairly basic to build provided you have a jigsaw. Because you can change the angle of the jigsaw’s blade, the tool makes it easy to make the 45° cuts that this house requires.

Make a Chickadee nesting box - free instructions

Chickadees are quite tame, and it’s not uncommon for them to eat sunflower seed out of your hand, provided you are patient and remain still.

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Vital Statistics: Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapilla)

  • size: 5.5″
  • number of eggs: 5–10
  • length of incubation: 11–13
  • broods per season: 1
  • Food: insects, berries, and seeds
  • range: year-round in the northern half of the United states and most of Canada

About the bird
Chickadees, both the Blackcapped and the Carolina, are vocal, energetic birds, and we’ve all probably heard their familiar chick-a-dee call. But their loud voices do not match their size; the average chickadee weighs a mere .4 ounces, equivalent to the combined weight of a quarter, nickel, and dime.

They are readily seen around bird feeders and have specialized leg muscles that enable them to hang upside down. The Black-capped Chickadee prefers deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous woodlands, but it is also found in suburban areas as long as there is suitable nesting sites and adequate food.

They gather in flocks and have a pecking order in that a main pair will dominate over all other individuals. During winter, chickadees have an amazing ability to enter a state of “controlled hypothermia” on cold nights, and they can drop their body temperature by 18–22° Fahrenheit to conserve energy during the night.

Some product links go to my affiliate account at Amazon.com. I always recommend you look for used supplies at thrift shops and yard sales first.

 

Make a chickadee nesting box

House Placement

Chickadees prefer to nest along forest edges and are especially prevalent along the edges of farm fields where forested areas have been disturbed. With that in mind,
follow these guidelines for best house placement:

  • Mount the house 4–15 feet above the ground.
  • Choose a location that receives sunlight 40–60 percent of the day.
  • Locate the house along edges of forests or other heavily treed areas.
  • Place about 1 inch of wood chips or shavings in the bottom of the box.

DIY Birdhouses - make a chickadee nesting box - diagram

Wood cutting list for making a chickadee nesting box

Cutting wood for a DIY chickadee nesting box

Hold a combination square tightly to the workpiece to serve as a straight edge as you make the 45° beveled cuts needed for the roof and floor.

Building the Box
1. Cut the parts to the dimensions listed in the cutting list. An easy way to cut the 45°bevels along the top edge of the roof and along the bottom edge of the floor is to first set the blade angle of your jigsaw to 45°. Use a combination square as a guide to help you steady the jigsaw as you cut, and work slowly across the board, letting the saw do the work.

2. Use a hole saw or a Forstner bit to bore a 1½” diameter entrance hole in one of the sides.

3. Use glue and 1 5/8″ exterior-rated screws to attach the sides flush to the edges of the back; then fasten the roof and floor to the sides and back in the same fashion.

How to make a chickadee nesting box

After attaching the sides to the back, glue and screw the roof to the sides and back, followed by the floor.

Hang your chickadee nesting box in an appropriate location and see who comes to nest.

Easy Birdhouses and Feeders - Simple projects to attract and retain the birds you want

BOOK GIVEAWAY

To win a copy of Easy Birdhouses & Feeders, Simple Projects to Attract & Retain the Birds You Want by Michael Berger, leave a comment.

Two winners will be randomly selected on or before May 28, 2014.

U.S. and Canadian residents only. One entry per person. Good luck!

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Comments

  1. Eugene McQuillan says

    Great detailed directions! Thanks so much for sharing this great info for us bird lovers!

  2. Becky says

    I love this birdhouse! I am building it for sure by the end of next week…thanks!

  3. says

    love this site… I can always find unique things to create. my husband is a builder and has already printed off the cutting list to build this bird house for me. we live in the middle of 400 acres and have lovely birds visit us. I have several birdhouses but never thought of them being dangerous for my birds.. thanks for the insight. would love to have this book so I could have all of the birdhouses listed in it!

  4. says

    I would love to have more birds around my house. I love watching teh cardinals and the occasional bluejay but I would love to have more varieties. I don’t have a single birdhouse right now.

  5. Carla S. says

    Great giveaway. I’d love a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance to have one.

  6. Barb Bischof says

    What a wonderful resource. I’m planning on making pre cut sets of the chickadee house for the big family reunion this summer…each ‘family’ will get at least one set.

  7. Trish says

    I have looked for great birdhouses this year, and I especially would love to win this one . The book sounds like it contains great ideas.

  8. Becky Hendricks says

    My husband does a lot of woodworking, and I am going to give him these plans to build some chick-a-dee houses. We have a martin house in the backyard, and he is looking to add more birdhouses. Thanks for this!

  9. Colleen says

    I would love a copy of this book! I just recently became interested in bird feeding/watching. Love taking pictures of all the birds at the feeders and bathing in the bird baths.

  10. Audrey Diaz says

    I stumbled across your site a few weeks ago and absolutely love the content. My husband is into making birdhouses and the Chickadee Nesting Box is going to be his next project.

  11. Sharon Blindert says

    Hi Melissa, Of course I’d love to win the book but more importantly, I just wanted to just say thank you for another wonderful newsletter. It just makes my day when I see “Empress of Dirt” in my inbox!!

  12. Teresa Lewis says

    I would love a copy of this book. We recently purchased a house on an acre and I am slowly transforming my husband into a country boy. We made a bird bath by hand from recycled materials and have been looking for other ways to help the birds and to keep them out of the garden.

  13. debbie tettaton says

    Would love to win your book. Looks like simple complete directions! We love to birdwatch here in Ohio