How to Make a Recycled Bird House

Constructing a Recycled Bird House

You can use practically anything to build a recycled bird house.
You can use practically anything to build a recycled bird house.
Heather N. Kolich

Recycled bird house architecture varies wildly, but some aspects of construction are mandatory, while others are optional. Some bird house requirements include:

  • Floor
  • Ventilation
  • Drainage
  • Light
  • Clean-out access
  • Mounting mechanism
  • Entry/exit opening

Optional items include:

  • Roof
  • Sides
  • Perch

The tools you use to craft a recycled bird house depend on your materials and the age of the bird house builder. In general, you'll need cutting, drilling and anchoring tools, which may include a drill, spade bit, screwdriver, Dremel cutters, scissors, saw, pliers, hot glue gun or staple gun, and rust-resistant hardware.

In bird house construction, cutting corners is good. Cutting the corners from the bird house floor helps rainwater drain out. Cutting corners at the top of walls allows air and light to filter in. Ventilation is critical for bird health, happiness and temperature control. Alternatively, you can drill or punch 3/8-inch (9.5-millimeter) holes around the top of the bird house and the perimeter of the floor. If you plan to mount your recycled bird house on a pole, leave the center of the floor solid. You'll attach a pipe flange, or an external rim used for strength, to the bottom of the bird house, and you don't want water draining into your mounting pole since it would fill the house up from the ground and flood the bird family out.

Fledglings climb up to the entry hole to exit the bird house, so attach something they can grip, like hardware cloth, on the interior wall below the hole. You can also make a platform from hardware cloth by bending down two opposite sides to make "feet." The platform lifts the nest off the floor for better drainage and helps protect fledglings from parasites like blowflies.

If you plan to use your recycled bird house for more than one season, build in a side or roof that you can open to clean out old nesting material and debris. Fortify the entry hole with copper pipe or a metal curtain ring to keep squirrels from chewing the hole bigger. Making the entry hole slightly tunnel-like will aid in keeping egg-stealing raccoons and nest-stealing starlings and house sparrows from reaching the nest. You can do this by attaching a 1.5-inch (3.8-centimeter) thick block of wood around the hole, or by extending the entry outward with pipe or PVC.

Construction inevitably leads to decoration. Keep reading to see how recycled materials become designer essentials.