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How to Build a Birdhouse

Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2010


"The carol of a bird," the poet Lord Byron wrote, is "the sweetest song ear ever heard." This is particularly true throughout March, when singing birds -- along with greening leaves and blooming bulbs -- herald the arrival of spring. Gratifying equally to gardeners and anyone pent up all winter, their songs invite us outside, to sit awhile and pay attention, to resharpen our senses.

Make an Audubon-approved box from one piece of wood. To figure out the hole size, visit; search "habitat requirements."


  • Saw

  • One 6-foot-long 1-by-6-inch board (actual width, 5 1/2 inches)

  • Drill

  • 1 1/2-inch wood screws (galvanized, #6)

  • Screwdriver

  • Finishing nails

  • Hammer

  • 1 eye-screw


  1. Saw the wood into pieces, using measurements at left as a guide.

  2. Drill a hole into the front piece to serve as the entrance. Then drill 2 small holes near the top of each side piece for ventilation, and 4 small holes on the bottom piece to provide drainage.

  3. Connect 1 of the side pieces to bottom with wood screws. Join front and back pieces to that side. Slip the second side piece into place. Secure with 2 nails that will let the side pivot, 1 near each top corner. Place your hand inside the box and push out the bottom of the pivot side, making sure it opens and closes smoothly.

  4. Screw in the eye-screw near the bottom of the pivot side so you can open the box to clean it or occasionally check on the birds.

  5. Drill a small hole in the bottom-right corner of the front panel. Insert a bent nail into the hole so pivot side stays shut.

  6. Attach roof with nails or screws.

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