Kids’ Garden Activity: Build a Window Bird House

Winter is a great time of year to work on non-planting projects, especially this winter in Virginia where the snow just keeps on comin’.  And birdhouses are a simple and fun thing to do with kids right now, as birds are starting to prepare nests in anticipation of spring babies.


birdhouse model (1)

My son loves to build things, so we often find ourselves in the “free lumber” aisle at Home Depot.  (I’m not sure how “free lumber” fits into their business model, but hey, whatever works.)  So anyway, my son has a bunch of odds and ends of lumber, and one day last winter we decided to use it to build a birdhouse.


I had heard about window birdhouses, which – much like window birdfeeders – have no backs, so you can see into them and watch the bird activity.   This seemed like a brilliant concept to me, and I thought it would be a great project for my son and I to build together.  So we scavenged through his wood collection, and found some suitable pieces.


Here’s what we did:


  • First we sawed. We used this as a model for the house, which is really basic. There are five pieces – bottom, top, two sides, and front — which we cut with a simple hand saw. Each is about 6×8″, give or take (this was a very casual project for us, so we just worked with the sizes & shapes we had on hand).


  • Then we drilled. We went to Home Depot to do our drilling (they offer in-store usage of their tools at no charge – another reason I’m a big fan of theirs). We drilled an entrance hole (about 2″ in diameter), some drainage holes in the bottom (about 1/4″ each), and a tiny perch hole.


  • Then we glued and nailed. We assembled the pieces and used wood glue to hold them in place. We glued a small dowel into the perch hole for the birds to land on. Then we nailed the pieces together for good measure. Finally, we screwed five suction cups to the back of the house.


It took about an hour of hands-on work, plus the back-and-forth time to The Depot.  Total cost was about $1.50 (for the suction cups), compared to $27 on Amazon.  The end result was this, which looked pretty darn close to the “official” Amazon birdhouse (minus the dirty window):


birdhouse cropped


Happy building!



MARCH UPDATE:  Read here for developments with the birdhouse.

APRIL UPDATE:  Read here for the latest happenings with the birdhouse.

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