One positive of our long hours sheltering at home is plenty of time to do spring cleaning! Meanwhile, as we are freshening up our homes, the birds are looking for safe places for their families. A good win-win for both projects is to turn your old scraps, junk or clutter into a beautiful birdhouse.
Get inspired by this local family who found things in their garage ready for this birdhouse challenge. Don’t worry: No one in their household claims to be a woodworking master.
One important note: This project will require cutting wood and using a drill to make a hole. Make sure you have help from a parent or trusted adult.
The first thing to do is scope out materials. Look in the garage, basement, attic or elsewhere in your house to find what you need.
Some ideas for construction materials:
Pieces of wood
Old license plates
Decorations of your liking, such as mirror pieces, shells, paint, stencils, glitter, etc.
Construction materials (see ideas above)
A drill and drill bit
1. Find a simple online template that works with your materials. There are a lot of different sizes and shapes out there. Here are some sites that can help you get your creative juices flowing:
2. Cut the pieces with the saw. Have the kids get to work measuring and marking, and then the adults can don their safety glasses and start cutting the pieces.
3. Create the front door. Find the piece that will be the front of your bird house. Using a drill, make a hole for an entrance. The hole size will help determine what kind of bird will move in. Here is a list of common backyard birds and their preferred hole size:
House wren and black-capped chickadee: 1 1/8 inch
White-breasted nuthatch and tree swallow: 1 3/8 inch
Eastern bluebird and Carolina wren: 11/2 inch
4. Below your entrance hole, add in a perch. Lots of items could be used as a perch, such as a dowel rod, a sturdy twig or even a pencil!
5. Assemble the pieces. Use wood glue and screws to secure everything together. Glue a side, then fastened it together with screws. Then glue another side and fasten the screws and so on. The screws don’t all have to be the same size, just make sure they are not too big or the wood might split.
6. Add the license plate roof. Bend the license plate in half and use the pre-existing holes on the license plate to screw in the top with some washers. If you don’t have a license plate, you can use wood pieces to make a roof.
7. Decorate! In this case, the family used an old mirror. Using gloves and glue they made the outside look like a shiny mosaic. You could also use rocks or shells or just paint the outside.
8. Find the perfect place in your yard. This birdhouse was mounted on old posts also found in the garage, but you can also hang it with what you have around the house or leave it on a perch. As long as it is outside near some shelter and away from predators, the birds will use it! It only took a week for house sparrows to find these houses. They scoped out the place and started bringing in nesting materials.
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