Birdhouse kits: Build your own DIY birdhouses

Birdhouses are designed to suit different varieties of bird. Purple Martins won’t nest in a house made for Wrens and vice versa. So what happens when you can’t find the house you’re looking for?

Build your own!

Don’t worry. As long as you can use a hammer, you can build a birdhouse with a birdhouse kit. It’s an easy and fun adventure that will satisfy family members of all ages. Many different kits are available, for amateur builders of all ages and skill levels. In fact, many of you probably remember constructing a basic birdhouse at summer camp or in a scouts program.

What will be in a birdhouse kit

Your birdhouse kit will include pre-cut boards that have been designed to the specifications of one type of birdhouse. Usually, this wood will come unfinished. The kit will also contain everything you need to assemble the kit. More advanced kits will usually have screws or nails, but beginner sets—for children or those that are carpentry challenged—will often simply have grooves in the wood for fitting the house together.

What won’t be in a birdhouse kit

The assembly tools and adhesives will not come with most kits. In addition to the kit itself, you’ll typically want a hammer and wood adhesive on hand for the project. Sandpaper is helpful as well; to smooth any rough edges.

Unless the kit is designed for children or unusually elaborate, it will not contain paint or stain for decorating the birdhouse. These extras can be purchased at most big box stores and will help you make your new birdhouse more pleasant to look at.

Keep in mind, that the inside of the nesting box—where the birds will actually build their nest—should never be painted. Paint can contain harmful chemicals that will hurt bird’s lungs or clog the eggs, causing them not receive enough oxygen to develop properly.

Choosing the best kit

Kits with poor instructions or ones designed for a skill level higher than your own can create a frustrating experience out of something meant to be fun. Follow these tips when choosing your kit:

  • Look for a kit with the proper entrance hole size and placement for the bird you want to attract.
  • Make sure the wood pieces are durable and made of weather-resistant varieties, like cedar or pine.
  • Higher quality kits generally cost twenty-five to forty dollars. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for! A ten dollar kit isn’t likely to last long.

Improving your kit

If you are feeling a little adventurous, there are a few small things you can do to improve on your birdhouse kit. You can add drainage and ventilation holes to the sides and top. You might even consider adding a hinge to one side to allow for easy cleaning.

Bird house kits are simple projects the whole family can enjoy. If you like a little bit of light woodworking and have a DIY attitude, the right birdhouse kit can add beautiful nesting birds to your backyard landscape for years to come.

Happy building!

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