Build Your Own Birdhouse With a Kit

A Great Option for Beginning Woodworkers

birdhouse
slimsb / Pixabay

Birdhouse kits are a great option for building a birdhouse if you don't have much woodworking skill or basic construction experience. They're also ideal for a fun building project with kids. There are many great kits available that can be built by birders of any age or skill level. Kits can also make fantastic gifts or great projects for school groups, youth groups, birding clubs, summer camps, and other group craft projects.

Birdhouse kits can be a fun and easy project for birders and bird-lovers and can help teach woodworking skills, bird conservation, and a sense of accomplishment to anyone who builds them. By knowing where to find kits, how to choose the best one, and how to make it even better, anyone can build a birdhouse for backyard birds, no matter what construction experience they have.

What Kits Include (and Do Not Include)

A typical birdhouse kit comes with pre-cut wood pieces to construct one particular birdhouse design. The necessary hardware to build the house and hang it is also usually included, though many kits do not require nails or screws to build. Instead, the house pieces may be grooved to fit together snuggly, or they may be designed to be glued. Detailed instructions are also often included, either with written steps, labeled diagrams, or both.

What you won't find in a typical birdhouse kit are the tools and supplies required to complete the construction, such as a hammer, screwdriver, wood glue, or sandpaper, which is useful for smoothing out rough edges. Also, paint or stain for decorating the house and providing a weather-resistant coating is usually not included.

Some elaborate kits may include extra supplemental materials, such as instructions for decoration themes, a basic backyard birds book, a small amount of nesting material, or even a plush toy or another novelty item. These add-ons make the kit a great gift for birders.

Finding Birdhouse Kits

Birdhouse kits are readily available at a variety of local stores, including:

  • Craft and hobby stores
  • Home improvement and hardware stores
  • Garden centers
  • Toy stores
  • Gift shops at bird preserves, nature centers, zoos, and aviaries

In addition, online retailers usually have a wide selection of kits to choose from in different sizes and styles, from basic nesting boxes to themed designs, such as log cabin, church, and gazebo styles. Kits may also be designed specifically for certain types of birds, such as bluebirds, wrens, woodpeckers, or chickadees.

Online retailers offering a wide selection of birdhouse kits include:

Kit prices range from less than $10 to more than $40 per house. The total cost will depend on the style and size of the finished house, the quality of the materials, the complexity of the design, and any additional materials included in the kit. Bulk discounts on multiple kits of the same design may be available for group purchases.

Choosing the Best Birdhouse Kit

Not all birdhouse kits are created equal. When choosing a kit, consider the skill level required to complete the birdhouse to ensure it will be a practical and enjoyable project. Look for kits with thicker pieces of wood, preferably cedar or pine for durability.

Entrance hole size is also critical, as a large hole will make the kit suitable for larger, more aggressive birds rather than smaller nesting birds. Kits that have larger entrance holes may also be more susceptible to predators.

In general, better-quality kits do cost a few dollars more, but they are a better investment for backyard birds and years of nesting enjoyment. When choosing a kit and considering cost, also note any potential shipping and handling charges, as well as a return or exchange option if materials are missing or damaged.

Making a Kit Birdhouse Better

Birdhouse kits are generally designed to be easy, fun projects for the builders, but that doesn't always make them safe for the birds. However, a savvy birder can take easy steps to make any kit safer and more attractive to nesting backyard birds. Consider some modifications, as appropriate, while you are building your kit or after it is completed:

  • Add drainage holes to the floor of the house, usually near the corners.
  • Add ventilation near the roof by shortening side walls slightly or drilling air holes under the eaves.
  • Remove any perch peg or perching ledge from the front of the house.
  • Leave the house as plain wood, or paint or stain it in natural tones to provide camouflage.
  • Alter the design if necessary to make the roof removable, or hinge one side of the roof, for easy cleaning.
  • Adjust the entrance hole size to be suitable for a specific bird by adding an extra metal or thin wooden plate with the appropriate hole over the kit's pre-drilled entrance hole.