The Content Of The Article:
- Build a nesting box for your own tits - step by step
- Hang a nest box properly
- Further building instructions for nesting boxes
Many domestic birds rely on nesting boxes and other artificial nesting aids, because the hatchery offer is becoming scarcer from year to year. The reasons are obvious: In order to reduce heat losses, more and more old buildings are being retrofitted. It closes gaps and holes in roofs and walls, which were previously used by red-tails, swifts or swallows as nesting sites or entry holes. Even today's no-frills concrete architecture hardly provides the former rock breeders with suitable places for nest building.
Somewhat better is the situation of the cave breeders such as sparrow and titmice, because in many gardens are already suitable nesting boxes. But they are also urgently needed because there are hardly any trees in the gardens with natural caves. If you want to do something good for your garden birds, you should buy new nesting boxes in autumn and early winter or build your own.
Build a nesting box for your own tits - step by step
We've modified the Nike bucket nest box by using loops, wire and a piece of garden hose as a hanger instead of the suspension bar. The reason for this is that the box can be attached much better to naturally grown trees and the tree is not damaged by this type of attachment.
The material and tools at a glance
Material for the nesting box:
- 2 boards (15 x 28 cm) for the side walls
- 1 board (17 x 28.5 cm) for the back wall
- 1 board (13 x 25 cm) for the front
- 1 board (20 x 23 cm) as a roof
- 1 board (13 x 13 cm) as a floor
- 18 countersunk screws (3.5 x 40 mm, with partial thread)
- 2-4 short countersunk screws for attaching the bark
- 2 screw hooks (3.0 x 40 mm)
- 2 eyelets (2.3 x 12 x 5mm)
- old bark piece for the roof
- 1 piece old garden hose
- 1 piece of plastic coated wire (length according to stock thickness)
The blueprint for the nesting box
- drilling machine
- Wood and Forstner drill
- Cordless screwdriver and bits
- Wood rasp and sandpaper
- tape measure
Mark all saw cuts (left) and cut the components with the jigsaw (right)
First, record the dimensions of the various components on the complete board length. With a stop angle, the markings for the saw cuts become exactly right-angled. Then start cutting. It is best to use a jigsaw (photo) or a small circular saw. If you previously clamp the board in a workbench, it will not slip when sawing.
Cut the side walls diagonally at the top (left) and bevel the rear wall (right)
Due to the roof pitch, cut the two side panels at the upper end so that they are four centimeters shorter at the front than at the rear. The back wall of the nesting box is also bevelled at the upper end to the inside, by five millimeters. To do this, set the base plate of the jigsaw as for a miter cut to an angle of 22.5 degrees and saws exactly along the top edge.
Smooth all edges (left) and mark the entry hole (right)
After sawing, all edges are smoothed with coarse sandpaper to keep the hands free of splinters during the next steps. In order to protect the young bird from predators, the lower edge of the Einfluglochs should be at least 17 inches above the box floor. Because the thickness of the bottom plate must be considered, you should set the mark at 20 centimeters, measured from the lower edge of the board.
Pre-drill entry hole (left) and extend with rasp (right)
A so-called Forstner drill with a diameter of 25 millimeters ensures a circular entry hole. Using a wood rasp, the opening is extended to 26 to 28 millimeters - the preferred hole size of blue tits and fir, hood and swamp tits. For great tits, the nesting hole of the nesting box must be at least 32 millimeters, for other cave breeders, such as sparrows and pied flycatchers, even 35 millimeters in size.
Saw drain holes in the bottom plate (left) and work the wood with the rasp (right)
So that no moisture can collect at the bottom of the nesting box, the bottom plate is provided with two staggered, six-millimeter large drainage holes. Because we use planed wood in our example, the rasp is used again: Rough up all the inner surfaces of the side walls to make them more grip for the birds.
The finished components (left) are now screwed together (right)
Now all components are completed and assembled with a cordless screwdriver.Use two countersunk screws per edge. Only in the front board gets only one screw on each side, approximately at the level of Einfluglochs. Otherwise the front can not be opened later. These screws should have a so-called partial thread, so be smooth in the upper area. If the thread is through, they could otherwise unscrew when opening and closing the flap. Alternatively, nails can be used for this purpose. Finally, fasten the roof of the nesting box on the rear wall and on the side walls.
Screw in screw hooks on each side (left) so that the front board can be opened (right)
To prevent the front door from accidentally opening, measure two inches at the bottom of the side panels, drill holes through with a small drill, and insert a right-angled screw hook each. The front board is secured and the nesting box can be opened for cleaning after twisting the hooks by 90 degrees. Because the front is one centimeter longer than the side panels, it is slightly down below. This makes it easier to open the flap and the rainwater can drain well.
Screw eyelets into the back (left) and fasten the roof trim (right)
On the back of the nesting box, two eyelets are screwed into the top of the sidewalls to later attach the suspension to it. For reasons of appearance, we cover the roof with a piece of oak bark. However, the decorative element also has a practical use: it has a water-repellent effect and prevents rain from being able to penetrate later through drying cracks in the wood. The bark is fixed in the edge area with short screws on the roof of the nesting box.
Finally, the holder is attached
To hang the nesting box, we use plastic coated wire, which we first attach to only one side and provide with a piece of garden hose as a trunk protection. Only in the tree is the other wire end threaded through the second eyelet and twisted. Then you pinch off the protruding end. In two to three meters height, the nest box hangs optimally and is ready for the feathered visitors.
Here you can have a look again at the construction of the nesting box in the video:
Hang a nest box properly
So that the garden birds can get used to their new home, you should hang your nest box as early as possible, but at the latest in early February. Depending on the box, take into account the natural preferences of the birds. Half-caves and swallows nests are best screwed directly to the wall of the house, as the potential inhabitants feel most comfortable there as rock breeders. Exception: If, for example, a wren is to nest in the half-cave, you must hang it in a dense shrub or in the dense branches of a climbing plant on the wall of the house. Nesting boxes for titmice and other cavern breeders, on the other hand, are best hung on a tree trunk about two to three meters high.
The entry hole should be in each nest box opposite to the main wind direction, so be aligned in our latitudes to the east. This has the advantage that it can not rain into the nesting box. To fix in trees, do not use nails or screws to prevent unnecessary damage to the trunk. Instead, attach the box with a wire loop as in the example above, sheathing it with a piece of garden hose to prevent the wire from cutting into the bark.
Further building instructions for nesting boxes
Do not just build the classic nesting boxes for titmice with round entry hole, but also think of, for example, half-cave breeders such as red-tails or gray-tailed eagles. For the following bird species, the German Nature Conservation Association e.V. (NABU) provides you with instructions for the construction of nesting boxes. By clicking on the respective link, you can download the construction manual as a PDF document for free.
- Half cavity nesters nest box
- Cavity nesters nest box
- Barn owl nest box
- Star and wryneck nesting box
- Kestrels nest box