Construction manual nest box for small birds

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The house sparrow, also called sparrow, has been living in our immediate vicinity for more than 10,000 years , He is a well-known songbird that every child knows. And yet, the bird of the year 2002 is on the alert list of the Red List of breeding birds in Germany.

The image of this bird species is very diverse. For some people he is a small, cheeky thief, others consider him simply refined. He used to be a grain or storage thief. This could also explain the behavior, why the little bird pursues people at every turn. Due to the declining population of house sparrow the beautiful songbird needs help. Do-it-yourselfers can build a nesting box for the bird by resting and hibernating.


The nesting box for sparrows must be installed at a height of 2.5 meters. Suitable are house walls or on a tool shed. It is important that the nesting box is well protected. Shrubs and trees near the nesting box are ideal, so that the bird can hide there if necessary. The entry hole should point to the east or southeast, so that it is nice and warm and enough sun is shining on the entrance, without it being too hot for the sparrows.

In general, the house sparrow is not particularly picky when it comes to its nesting site. He broods himself in caves and niches. Often sparrows nest in colonies. Regardless of the location, the sparrow uses grass, straw, wool, and other things he finds around to equip the nest. From mid-March, the males begin to prepare. The nesting place should be ready by then. The breeding season begins in Germany at the end of April and lasts until August. Up to four breeds attract the birds. Then do-it-yourselfers can clean up the nesting area and prepare for the coming season.

Now to build the nesting box. You need:

  • Workbench
  • Protective equipment (gloves, goggles, ear protection)
  • 1x wooden plate 22/50 cm, with approx. 20 mm thickness
  • 1x wooden plate 19/44 cm, with approx. 20 mm Thickness
  • 1x wooden plate 14/44 cm, with approx. 20 mm thickness
  • 4x wooden plate 14/17 cm, with approx. 20 mm thickness
  • 3x wooden plate 12 / 13.5 cm, with approx. 20 mm Thickness
  • 1x wooden strip 4/44 cm, with approx. 10 mm thickness
  • 1x square timber 4.5 / 4.5 cm, with approx. 44 cm length
  • 3x wooden strip 1/1 cm, with approx. 14 cm length
  • min. 34 wood countersunk screws 3,5 / 40mm galvanized
  • min. 3 x Length
  • Emery paper 400 grit
  • Hammer
  • Cordless screwdriver
  • Wood drills with approx. 3 and 5 mm diameter
  • Band saw or coarse hand saw or jigsaw with wood saw blade
  • Rough Wood File
  • Wood Glue
  • Pencil
  • Steel Ruler

Assembly Guide Nesting Box for Small Birds

How to do it

Before starting

Prepare all the parts needed to build the Nesting Box , Measure all parts cleanly and transfer the measurements to the wooden boards and strips. Use a band saw or jigsaw to make the individual boards the right size.

Alternatively you can have the boards sawed in the cutting department of a DIY store. This saves you time and effort. Inquire in advance if the blank department is capable of sawing small pieces of wood that are less than 20 cm long - this is not always the case.

Once you have sawn out all parts, sand the edges clean with 400 grit sandpaper off.

Step 1

In the first step, attach the rear panel and bottom plate. The back wall (part 2) is placed against the bottom plate (part 3) and fixed with the help of four 3.5 / 40 mm wood countersunk screws. To make work easier, the individual parts can be pre-drilled with a 3mm wood drill.

Step 2

Now position the dividing walls of the nesting box and screw them together. The individual partitions (parts 4) are each placed on the bottom plate and screwed through from below, again with the help of 3.5 / 40 mm wood countersunk screws. Make sure that the same distance is always maintained between the individual partitions (about 12 cm), so later each nesting box has the same width and the fronts (parts 5) fit easily between them.

As soon as you place the individual partitions on the bottom plate screw them on, also screw them to the already attached rear wall. For each partition two screws from below and from behind are sufficient. Again, it is worth boring to pre-drill the components.

If you have mounted all partitions, use a 5mm wood drill and drill approximately 2-3 holes in the base plate for each nest box. These are used for later ventilation and drainage of possible rainwater.

Step 3

Nailing the cover strip (Part 6) to the front of the base plate with four 3cm nails.

Step 4

Take the 3 fronts (components 5) and file a 4 cm wide bevel with a coarse wooden file (see blueprint). This area later serves as an entry to the nesting area for the birds. Work cleanly and carefully so that no splinters are created that can injure birds later.

Step 5

Use the wood glue to glue one of the retaining strips (part 8) to each of the fronts (part 5). It is advisable to glue the retaining strips at different heights, in the middle front you can glue the strip directly below the sophisticated slope, with the two outer fronts about 2 cm below.

Lay the freshly glued parts aside and leave The glue is fully hardened (up to 12 hours, depending on the glue).

Step 6

Take the blueprint and saw out of the squared lumber (part 7) 3 equal sections of 4 cm width each. These cutouts, combined with the bevels refined in step 4, form the later entry hatches for the birds.

Make sure to work as cleanly as possible and re-trim the cutouts if necessary to avoid splintering.

Step 7

Take the roof (part 1) and lay it flat in front of you. Now position the square timber processed in step 6 on one of the longitudinal edges of the roof panel. The sawn areas must be in the air and must not be turned in the direction of the panel.

Now screw the square timber through the opposite side of the roof panel, again using the 3.5 / 40 mm wood countersunk screws. With about 6 screws, the square timber is securely fastened.

Step 8

In the meantime, the glue has hardened and the fronts (parts 5) are ready to be inserted into the nesting box. Place one of the fronts between the assembled dividers and behind the nailed-on front bar.

Now fix the roof. Lay the roof panel on the nesting box, the screwed-down squared timber points downwards. Align the roof so that the cutouts in the squared timber and the sophisticated bevels of the fronts (part 5) are superimposed. The roof will get over slightly on the sides, so that rainwater can run off. Screw the roof panel to the walls below using the wood countersunk screws.


Hints and Tips

  • You can remove the individual fronts later and clean the nest cavities. It is advisable to carry out the cleaning in winter, from spring to autumn, the nesting sites may be occupied.
  • Be sure not to use contaminated woods, but to install only natural woods. Ask at a local hardware store and get advice.
  • The nesting box can be set up freestanding or screwed to a house wall. You should make sure that the box is not too close to the ground and can not be reached by cats.