How to Make a Recycled Bird House

Recycled Bird House Materials

What you use to make your recycled bird house is limited only by your imagination, but here are some things to consider when you're casting about for materials:

  • Will there be fumes? Pressure treated woods contain toxic chemicals like arsenic [source: Kress].
  • Will the material rust or deteriorate?
  • Does it have sharp edges?
  • How well does the material insulate? Will it get too hot inside?
  • Will I be able to clean it out?

Scrap lumber, plastic drain pipe, PVC pipe and ceiling fan blades make suitable structural materials for recycled bird houses. With very little alteration, you can repurpose well-cleaned 1-gallon (3.8-liter) paint cans, milk jugs, coffee cans or the newer plastic containers, old boots, stiff hats, faded wreaths, and fallen branches into bird houses. Even materials that will only last for one season, like cardboard milk cartons, make good shelters for some birds, such as prothonotary warblers [source: Kress]. Since these can be created with little more than glue and scissors, they're ideal recycling crafts for kids.

Look around your garage, shed, pantry and refrigerator, and you're sure to find more stuff that you can recycle into avian abodes. Your materials don't have to be uniform, and your finished product doesn't have to look like a house. As long as your recycled bird house has the depth and height required to accommodate the nest and growing-family activities of the birds, cavity nesters will appreciate a house that looks like a sunbonnet as much as they will one that looks like a little stone cottage.

See how to transform your recycled materials into a fabulous bird house on the next page.