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How to make bird boxes

Bird boxContinuing the romantic theme of this month, little birdies are pairing up in our gardens and hedgerows, getting ready to build nests and lay eggs. Let’s give them a helping hand!

Bird boxes are pretty easy to make, even if your DIY skills are a disaster. If you can hammer a nail in, you can build a bird box. (And the birds aren’t going to inspect your work for neatness, let’s face it.)

Any untreated wood about 1.5cm deep can be used, so ferret in the shed for leftover offcuts from old projects. Every shed has some… They should be about 15-18cm wide.

Cut one bit 30-35cm long (for the back), one 12cm (base), 21cm (roof), 20cm (front), and two bits for the sides - 25cm long down one edge, and 20cm the opposite side, so the box has a sloping roof. If the planks aren’t quite these lengths, don’t worry, as long as the pieces fit together to make a box.

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The only measurement that needs to be super-exact is the entrance hole, if you want to attract a specific bird: 25mm for blue tits, 28mm great tits, 32mm sparrows.

Nail one side to the base, then nail them both to the back. The excess wood on the back should stick out of the top of the box, at the sloping end. Nail on the other side (making sure the slopes face the same way…). Drill a hole in the front panel; however big you choose to make it, it should be at least 13cm up from the base, to stop cats getting their paws in. Sand the edges. Put the part-built box on its back and nail the front on.

Using screws – so you can open the box for cleaning – attach the roof to the sides and front. Drill a small hole in the spare wood at the back, to screw the box into a tree or hang from a hook.

If you want to paint your birdbox, leave a gap around the hole – or leave the front unpainted. Birds like to peck at the hole to make sure their new home is safe; and we don’t want to poison them!

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