Birdhouse Building Hobby: What Is, How to Start, Tips

Birdhouse building hobby guide

Building a birdhouse as a side project can be a rewarding and creative retreat from the daily routine. It can be a delightful hobby that brings joy and benefits to you and our feathered friends. Let’s explore the basics of constructing birdhouses, the satisfaction it can bring, and how you can create a welcoming space for birds in your backyard.

What is a birdhouse building?

Birdhouse building is a craft activity where you create small houses or shelters for birds to nest in. It is a hands-on and creative hobby that allows you to contribute to the well-being of local bird populations while also enjoying the process of constructing something with your own hands. It can be an engaging hobby or a single side project for everyone.

  • Historical Background: Birdhouse building has been a popular pastime for many years, with origins dating back to at least hundred of years ago. Birds often build nests in nooks and under the roofs of houses. Birdhouses were created to attract birds for food (eggs), pest control, home ornaments or possibly good omens. Over time, they’ve become more about conservation and providing safe nesting areas.
  • Popularity: Birdhouse building is popular as people become more interested in wildlife conservation and creating habitats for birds in urban and suburban areas. It is a beloved activity among nature enthusiasts, DIY lovers, and families looking for a fun and educational project.
  • Who is it for?: This hobby is ideal for nature enthusiasts, crafters, and anyone looking for a relaxing, rewarding hobby that benefits the environment. It’s great for individuals of all ages, offering educational opportunities for younger hobbyists and a peaceful pastime for adults.

If you’re keen on discovering more about this hobby and exploring other nature-related activities, visit the guide to nature and wildlife hobbies. This article is designed to provide a thorough and helpful overview of how you can interact with or help wildlife through different hobbies, such as building birdhouses.

What are the different types of birdhouses

Birdhouses come in various designs to cater to different bird species. Consider the following factors when choosing a birdhouse: the bird type you want to attract, the material of the birdhouse, and the mount type.

Bird TypeDifferent bird species such as bluebirds, robins, sparrows, woodpeckers, and more have specific preferences when it comes to nesting.
MaterialBirdhouses can be made from various materials like wood, metal, plastic, or resin, each offering different advantages in terms of durability and insulation.
Mount TypeBirdhouses can be mounted on posts, hung from trees or structures, attached to walls, or designed as freestanding structures.
PurposeWe can recognize nesting boxes, bird feeders, birdhouses, roost boxes, each serving different functions.

When considering your next birdhouse project, it is crucial to choose the right type based on the needs and preferences of the bird species you want to attract. Nurturing the right environment can help create a safe and comfortable space for our feathered friends.

For instance, nesting boxes offer a secure nesting spot for birds, while regular birdhouses may not be suitable for larger nests or hatchlings. Birds tend to stay in nesting boxes for longer periods compared to birdhouses. Birdhouses are often more decorative than functional, and birds usually do not return after the season.

Also, roosting boxes have distinct features from nest boxes. A well-designed roost box aims to retain the birds’ body heat by having fewer ventilation holes than a nest box. Additionally, the entrance hole of a roosting box is positioned near the bottom to prevent the warmth from escaping upward.

Benefits of building birdhouses as a side project

Building birdhouses as a side project can be incredibly beneficial for you. It not only allows you to unleash your creativity and improve your woodworking skills but also provides a sense of accomplishment as you see your project come to life.

  1. Creativity: Building birdhouses gives you the opportunity to express your creativity through design and decoration.
  2. DIY Skills: Crafting custom habitats allows you to gain more manual and technical skills.
  3. Sense of accomplishment: Completing a birdhouse offers a tangible sense of accomplishment, adding functional beauty to your surroundings.
  4. Conservation efforts: Your birdhouses provide safe nesting spaces, directly contributing to the conservation of local bird species.
  5. Connection with nature: By attracting birds to your garden, you can enjoy the beauty of nature up close.
  6. Stress Relief: Like many manual hobbies, it can serve as a relaxing and meditative activity, helping you unwind and reduce stress.

How to get started with building bird shelters step by step

To start building bird shelters as a hobby, begin by researching basic information about the types of bird shelters, the best materials, and suitable locations in your area. You can find valuable resources online, such as articles, videos, and forums dedicated to bird shelter construction. Consider joining local birdwatching groups or hobbyist communities to seek advice and support from experienced builders. Start by creating a simple bird feeder to get familiar with the process before moving on to more complex structures.

  • Research different types of bird shelters and materials required.
  • Begin with a simple project like a bird feeder.
  • Decide what birds you want and can attract in your area.
  • Choose or draw a sketch, plan and buy required materials.
  • Organize the place where you will build your first project (like a garage, basement, shed, or any working bench).
  • Follow the sketch of your project.
  • Join local DIY and birdwatching groups or online communities for support.
  • Pick the right spot to place your first project.

New to building bird shelters? Let our hobby and passion coach provide you with tailored beginner’s tips!

What do you need to buy to build a birdhouse

A photo showing the assembly of a birdhouse with wooden pieces laid out on a workbench.

Let’s focus on what materials and tools you’ll need to purchase. To begin building a birdhouse as a beginner or hobbyist, you might need a few essential supplies and tools. Here are some things that can help you get started. Wood is probably the best choice of the material, especially if you are a beginner:


  • Plywood or pine boards: 1×6 or 1×8 inches in dimension for the main structure.
  • Cedar boards: Ideal for the roof due to its weather-resistant properties.


  • Saw: A handsaw or a power saw to cut the wood to the required sizes.
  • Hammer: To nail the pieces together.
  • Measuring tape: For accurate measurements.
  • Sandpaper: To smooth out rough edges.
  • Drill: For making holes and attaching components securely.


  • Nails and Screws: Different sizes to join pieces together.
  • Wood glue: For extra reinforcement.
  • Paint or wood stain: To add a personal touch and protect the birdhouse.

Optional Enhancements:

  • Predator guard: Metal plates around the entrance to deter predators.

Protective Gear:

  • Safety goggles: To protect your eyes while cutting and drilling.
  • Work gloves: For handling wood and tools safely.

By having these supplies at hand, you should be able to start your birdhouse project with confidence. Remember, safety should always come first when working with tools and materials. Happy building!

The basics of building birdhouses

It’s crucial to grasp the fundamentals of crafting cozy shelters for our avian friends.

  1. Design: Ensure the dimensions of the birdhouse are appropriate for the bird species you want to attract. Learn about bird behavior and habitat preferences of different species.
  2. Location: Choose a quiet and safe location for the bird shelter, away from predators and human activity.
  3. Seasons: Think about seasonal changes, and make the shelter adaptable for different weather conditions. Consider the behaviors of birds you want to attract.

Tips and tricks when building a shelter for birds

If you are considering building a shelter for birds, you are already on the right track to help our feathered friends thrive in your area. Here are some beginner’s tips to get you started on this rewarding project:

  • Build a birdhouse suitable for a specific cavity-nesting bird in your region.
  • Use wood as the primary material for insulation and avoid creosote-treated wood.
  • Opt for galvanized nails to prevent rusting.
  • Consider painting the outside of the birdhouse with dull colors that blend with the surroundings.
  • Provide proper drainage by drilling holes in the floor and ensure ventilation with small holes near the roof.
  • Avoid adding perches to prevent predatory birds from accessing the nest.
  • Facilitate young birds leaving the nest by roughening the inside or attaching wire mesh below the entrance hole.
  • Add sawdust or woodchips for woodpeckers, waterfowl, and owls.
  • Place the birdhouse securely at an appropriate height and in a suitable habitat, away from prevailing winds.
  • Avoid overcrowding with nest boxes, keeping them at least 50 feet apart.
  • Construct the birdhouse for easy maintenance, with removable parts for cleaning.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect the nest box each spring to prevent avian diseases.

Common challenges and solutions

Now that you’re equipped with tips for building your first birdhouse, let’s tackle the common challenges you might face and explore effective solutions.

Lack of experience in woodworkingWatch videos, ask seasoned friends, or join workshops to learn basic woodworking skills. Practice with scrap wood. Be careful and follow safety advice for each tool. Always keep a first-aid kit nearby.
Choosing the right materials for birdhousesResearch different types of wood and their suitability for birdhouses. Start with easy-to-use materials like pine.
Difficulty in following complex birdhouse plansBegin with simple ready birdhouse designs and gradually progress to more intricate plans and own designs. Break down complex plans into smaller steps. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
Attracting birds to the new housePlace birdhouses in suitable locations with access to food, water, and away from predators. Consider adding bird feeders nearby.
Weather-proofing the birdhousesUse weather-resistant materials or sealant to protect birdhouses from the precipitations and harsh weather. Regularly inspect and maintain birdhouses each new season.

Did you know that?

Bird enjoying a meal at the birdfeeder

Here are a few fascinating facts about building shelters for birds:

  • Birds that inhabit shelters can help control insect populations in your area. Many bird species feed on insects, making them valuable allies in keeping pest populations in check without the need for harmful chemicals.
  • The town of Griggsville, Illinois calls itself the “Purple Martin Capital of the Nation” due to its annual festival celebrating the bird and proliferation of purple martin houses.
  • Besides birds, special “bat houses” can be constructed to provide roosting places for insect-eating bats, that are also an important part of the ecosystem.

Experience it locally: Courses, events to learn, gift vouchers

Search for local opportunities that might offer a hands-on way to deepen your understanding of bird conservation and nurture your crafting skills. Consider these options to get started:

  1. Sign up for local nature preserving courses: Get detailed instructions and hands-on experience with expert.
  2. Attend Community Events: Join workshops and events dedicated to DIY, ornithology, birdhouse building and conservation.
  3. Gift Vouchers: Search for vouchers and gifts for nature enthusiasts, tools, bird guides etc..

Be smart: Take birdhouses to the next level

To maximize the benefits of your birdhouse building hobby, consider leveraging additional resources to enhance your skills and knowledge while engaging in this rewarding activity.

  1. Listen to Audiobooks: As you work on your birdhouses, make the most of your time by listening to audiobooks. Platforms like or offer a wide range of titles that can inspire you and provide valuable insights, turning your crafting time into an educational experience as well.
  2. Enroll in Online Courses: Consider affordable online courses. Many websites may offer specialized courses in design and ornithology.

Reinvent birdhouse building: unconventional, innovative and creative ways of building shelters for birds

Let’s explore the exciting world of unconventional, innovative, and creative birdhouse construction. Here are some unconventional and innovative ideas to inspire you:

  1. Upcycled materials: Explore using unused materials and reclaimed wood to create unique and environmentally friendly birdhouses.
  2. Plants: Design birdhouses incorporating pockets for plants to grow on the exterior walls, helping with hiding the habitat, serving as an insulation and making it a great-looking ornament in your garden.
  3. Themes: Get inspired by different themes such as fairy tale cottages, retro diners, or futuristic skyscrapers to design whimsical birdhouses.
  4. Nature-inspired architecture: Draw inspiration from natural bird nests and other elements like honeycombs, beehives, or coral reefs to create intricate and visually stunning birdhouse designs.
  5. Birdhouse trail: Establish a birdhouse trail in your community, guiding residents and bird lovers to discover various birdhouses for different species placed strategically in different locations, encouraging birdwatching and appreciation of local wildlife.
  6. Birdhouse design contest: Host a birdhouse design competition where participants can showcase their creativity and craftsmanship, with prizes awarded for the most innovative designs.
  7. Community art project: Collaborate with local artists and community members to create a public art installation featuring a collection of uniquely designed birdhouses displayed in a park or along a nature trail.

Online communities, social media groups and top niche sites

There are many vibrant online communities ready to share tips, inspiration, and innovative designs across various platforms. Here’s how you can join the conversation:

  1. Facebook Groups: Start with ‘Backyard Birding’ for a welcoming community eager to offer birdhouse building tips and inspiration.
  2. Niche Websites: Visit ‘Birdwatching Bliss’ for comprehensive guides on constructing your next birdhouse project.
  3. Instagram & X: Follow accounts like ‘Birdhouse Builders’ and use hashtags such as #BirdhouseBuilding for creative ideas, designs, and real-time discussions.

Hobbies you may also like

If you’re passionate about activities that attract birds and enhance your connection with nature, consider other hobbies as well:

  1. Gardening: Cultivating a garden with native plants beautifies your space and provides essential habitats and food sources for birds. It’s a hands-on way to contribute to the ecosystem while enjoying the outdoors.
  2. Butterfly Gardening: Similar to birdhouse building, this hobby focuses on creating environments that attract and support butterflies, enriching your garden with color and movement.
  3. Birdwatching: Complement your birdhouse building by setting up bird feeders and dedicating time observing the birds. It offers a serene way to connect with wildlife and learn about the various species that visit your garden.
  4. Beekeeping: While this might be a step up in terms of commitment, beekeeping is another fascinating way to support wildlife. It helps in pollination and provides you with the reward of natural honey.
  5. Nature and wildlife photography: Capture the beauty of the birds and wildlife that visit your birdhouses and garden. This hobby allows you to preserve fleeting moments and share the wonder of nature with others.

For more ideas on outdoor and nature-related hobbies that might pique your interest and complement your passion for birdhouse building, consider exploring this list of hobbies for nature lovers. Whether you’re looking to enhance your outdoor space or contribute to wildlife conservation, there’s a hobby out there that’s perfect for you.

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How to monetize birdhouse building hobby?

After discovering your passion for birdhouse building, you might be wondering how to turn this hobby into a profitable venture. Here are three practical ways to monetize your birdhouse crafting skills:

  1. Sell Online: Utilize online marketplaces like Etsy or eBay to reach a wider audience. Your unique, handcrafted birdhouses can attract buyers looking for special designs or garden decorations.
  2. Custom Orders: Offer personalized or custom birdhouses for bird lovers. This can add a personal touch that many customers are willing to pay extra for.
  3. Teaching: Host workshops or classes teaching others how to build their own birdhouses and other DIY projects. Charging a fee for these sessions can be a fun way to share your knowledge while earning some income.

Final thoughts

Birdhouse building can turn a simple hobby into a rewarding venture that connects you with nature. By inviting various bird species to your backyard, you can enjoy their presence, help them survive harsh winters, and mitigate insects overpopulation in your area.

Building birdhouses can be a fulfilling, educational pastime that helps in creating sustainable ecosystems right in your backyard. Embrace this opportunity to connect with nature on a profound level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best place to hang a birdhouse?

The best place to hang a birdhouse is in a quiet and sheltered spot, around 5-15 feet above the ground, facing away from prevailing winds.

Do birds use birdhouses in the winter?

Birds do use birdhouses in the winter for roosting and shelter from harsh weather conditions.

How do I attract birds to my new birdhouse?

To attract birds to your new birdhouse, consider providing food, water, and natural habitat elements like trees and shrubs. Many birds seem to be attracted by colors like green, blue, and purple, however it may depend on a bird’s species.

Are birdhouses good for the environment?

Birdhouses can be beneficial for the environment by providing nesting sites for birds, which can help control insect populations and contribute to biodiversity.

What color birdhouse attracts birds the most?

The color of a birdhouse that attracts birds the most is typically natural tones like brown, gray, or green, as they blend well with the surroundings and provide a sense of safety for the birds.

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