If you love your garden, the chances are that you’ll love seeing the birds and other wildlife helping it to thrive. Why not help them too? In this article we’re going to show you how you to make a bird box, but first, here are some tips on how you can attract more birds into your garden, all year round.
How to attract birds into your garden
- Feed them: This is the easiest way of attracting birds. They are creatures of habit, so if they feed in your garden once, they’ll be back. If they don’t come at first, just be patient.
- Make sure bird feeders are in the right place: Keep them close to trees and bushes, but far enough away so it doesn’t make them easy prey for cats.
- Learn about what they like to eat: Choosing the right food is important. Identify the birds that are coming into your garden and this should help you select the right foods.
- Keep feeders, baths, and bird tables clean: Birds can catch diseases from other birds, so keep everything clean and clear up leftovers too as they’re prone to mould if they’re left out for too long.
- Make sure there’s a water supply: Birds drink water and they bathe in it to keep their feathers in good condition.
- Include bird-friendly plants in your garden: These are a natural food source for birds. Plants with fruits and berries attract thrushes.
- Include insect-friendly plants too: If you attract insects, you’ll attract birds because many birds feed on insects.
- Avoid pesticides: They can be harmful to wildlife.
Making a bird box
Making a bird box is one of the best ways of attracting birds into your garden. Here are some easy instructions courtesy of Gardener’s World. When it’s done, put it high up in a tree, away from predators, strong sunlight, and the wind.
What you’ll need:
- Untreated, sawn timber (1.5m x 15cm c 1.25cm)
- 2.5cm nails (20)
- 2.5cm self-tapping screws (3)
- 25mm wood drill bit
- 28mm wood drill bit
- 32mm wood drill bit
- Wood saw
- Hammer screwdriver
- Tape measure
- Roofing felt, a small patch
How to make a bird box:
Cut the timber for the bird box into six sections using the following measurements:
- back panel 45cm x 15cm
- base 11cm x 15cm (with a few drilled holes for drainage)
- front 20cm x 15cm
- roof 21cm x 15cm and two side panels cut for a sloping roof, 25cm high on the back x 20cm high at the front.
- Cut the wood along the pencil lines using a wood saw. Sand down all the rough edges so the birds won’t get injured.
- Nail one of the sides to the base of the bird box, then nail both pieces to the back section. Hammer the nails in gently so you don’t split the wood.
- Turn the nesting box on to the fixed side and nail the other side into position. Three nails for each join should be enough to secure everything.
- Before you fix the front panel to the sides, make an entrance hole for the birds using a wide drill bit. Sand the edges so they’re smooth. A 25mm hole will suit blue, coal and marsh tits and a 28mm hole will attract great tits. House sparrows will need a minimum hole diameter of 32mm.
- Place the bird box on its back and nail the front to the sides.
- Use the self-tapping screws to fix the top to the sides and the front. This will allow you to remove the top of the box so you can clean it out.
- Drill a hole in the top of the box and attach it to a tree using a screw.
- If the box doesn’t attract birds after two years, move it to another area of your garden. The ideal spot is northeast facing and 2-4 metres above the ground. Tilt the box so it deflects rain away from any young birds inside.
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