Birdhouse Plans

Submitted by Ana White on Sat, 05/29/2010 - 20:55
Starter Projects
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Build a simple birdhouse.

In the middle of building Grace's playhouse (putting up shingles, actually)

My husband came running over and said, "Honey, I need you to build a house right now."   And then he was gone.  So I climbed down and went over to investigate.  Another house, right now?  Who could be getting evicted?

My husband is finishing up a shed on the side of our garage, and a robin had nested in the rafters.  Can you see the little beaks?  They are loud and hungry.

The three tiny robins were getting very hungry waiting for their shy momma to come feed them.  We had to move the nest.  The robins needed a new house.  And they needed one fast. Before the mother abandoned her nest.

I rounded up some scrap boards, what you see here is a 1x12 @ 16" for the bottom, a 1x12 @ 12" for the back, and the leftover scrap 1x12 is the roof( (about 12" long), and 2 - 1x6s @ 12, cut down at a 30 degree angle off square. Three minutes and counting.  It's a good thing my miter saw has a permanent home and is plugged in.

I screwed the back to the sides, as you see above.  I didn't even take the time to make sure it was square or level, but I did use a countersink bit to keep the wood from splitting.

And that's especially apparent in this photo.  But our goal was to get the robins a new home, not build a beautiful birdhouse.  We are at five minutes and counting in this photo.

I don't do ladders and drills and birdhouses at the same time.  So up the RAM goes (Grace may or may not be holding the ladder while I snap a quick photo) and we've got a nice shaded birdhouse.

Despite making quick work of it, I think the birdhouse turned out beautiful!  Wish I could have painted it, but we did not have that kind of time.

And with a little pride, I can look out my kitchen sink window and see the two houses I've built.  And yes, the robins are doing fine.

Back to the playhouse, the RAM gave me a hand on the higher rows of shingles.  As some of you may notice, there is an error in how the roof is shingled.  You can see lines in the shingles where the shingles were lapped.  This is because I used 3/8" scrap plywood of the roof and could only nail into the rafters.  On the plans I will be blogging (very very shortly) we'll use 3/4" plywood and you won't have this issue.  You can nail the shingles anywhere, and the shingle joints can be staggered.  Still gotta get a railing up and hack a slide.  And also a swing attachment.  Can't wait to finish blogging the plans.  Hope you are having a super holiday weekend!


bell family (not verified)

Sun, 05/30/2010 - 10:48

hey don't want to sound like a booger because I love your site nad love taht you wanted to save the birds but it is against the law to touch or move a robins nest. They are protected. Found this out first hand because we had a momma bird build a nest in the rafters of our patio and it was a mess so I called to see what we could do and they told me it was against the law to touch the nest. Love your web site but I just thought I would share this with you.

Laura (not verified)

Sun, 05/30/2010 - 14:03

Hey I've done wild life rescue and my daughter is avian specialist. We just finished feeding and getting a baby Grackle with heat stroke up and well again. A little water, a little feeding with baby bird formula a few hours of AC and the parents we VERY happy to have their baby returned. It is a misnomer or old wives tell about scent. Birds actually don't have a very good sense of smell. Most birds will try and find lost babies and try to keep an eye on them. The best thing you can do is put a lost baby back in the nest even if you have touched it. If the parents reject it there is usually a genetic problem and has NOTHING to do with your scent on the bird; Hence my Grackle friends family opening welcoming back their young fledgling after about 8 hours of R&R. If you can't find the nest but you know were the parents are you can fashion one by a plastic butter tub. Just punch a few holes in the bottom. As for moving a nest, I think that might be a state by state thing. Here in Michigan your not suppose to mess with a nest.
Oh and if you find a baby bird don't mess with it, unless it is in immediate danger ie.. cat or car,but keep an eye on it. Chances are the parents are someplace nearby. Also don't try feeding babies call a wildlife rescue. Feeding young baby birds can be tricky. Great job Ana I showed my daughter your nest box and she thought it to be excellent and probably even better than there original.

Ana White (not verified)

Sun, 05/30/2010 - 14:34

Thanks all, and to the Bell Family, you are very right. We had been watching the robins for a couple of weeks (it's their third year in the rafter) and trying to work around them. Just on that particular day, the mother wouldn't have anything to do with the babies, for an entire day. The babies were quite hungry and loud. We even quit working in the area. So we tried to move the nest, and it worked, all is fine, and we see the momma going in and out with bugs in her mouth all day. Wow, those mother birds work hard! And hopefully with the rafters boxed in (and it's getting spray painted and sealed, ick) the robins will nest in the box next year.

Firefly Haven (not verified)

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 04:42

You may want to edit your quick bird house plans to include some kind of low "fence" around the platform. Blue Jays, Stellar Jays and Crows commonly come and roll eggs or babies out of the nest. I'm not sure why, but our robin's nest had it happen four years in a row. I started piling grass clippings below the nest and saved a few dropped eggs.

Nancy (not verified)

Wed, 06/23/2010 - 06:25

I am a bird biologist and can testify to the fact that it is very difficult to get a mother bird to abandon her nest once the chicks have hatched (nests with only eggs in them are another story). I have handled many chicks of a variety of species from bushtits to scarlet macaws and none have ever abandoned their babies. So Ana did exactly the right thing--move the nest to a nearby location where the parents can easily find it and predators cannot get to it. Same goes if you find a nest on the ground--just put it up in a safe location nearby and the parents will continue to care for the chicks.

HannahW (not verified)

Sat, 10/23/2010 - 15:29

The mama bird would not come near enough to feed her babies when people were around. She might have abandoned them and the babies would starve if seperated for too long. Or she might have dive-bombed people in an attempt to save her babies.

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