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DayCreek Journal
March 22, 2002

How to build a $2.50 Cedar Bluebird House in 15 minutes.

Mother Nature sure does work in mysterious ways. December, January and February were all mild and dry—then came March! I had visions of working in shirtsleeves, but instead it's 20 degrees outside and too cold to live in my 3 season cabin. I guess we'll try for April.

Because of the weather I have taken to other projects. Besides working on interior doors for the house, I could not forget my favorite friends—the bluebirds. I have watched them now for the past few years make their nests in the bluebird houses. They are easily intimidated by other birds and quite often they lose their nesting box to them—even to the puny wrens and tree swallows!

I've got 6 to 8 of these houses scattered along fence lines, but you can never have enough, so I decided to build 6 more.

Here's what you will need to build the house:

(1) 6' x 5" x 1/2" fence board or similar
(1) saw
(1) 1 1/2" hole saw
(1) Small drill bit for drilling pilot holes for screws
(1) Drill
(4) #6 x 1" brass screws
(26) 5d (5 penny) nails

Figure 1.

This year's model features a bird house built out of a single piece of cedar fence board. You could build one of these for about half the price using pine, but cedar will last longer than pine, so for $2.50 I think the bluebirds are worth it.

The goal was to see how quickly I could put together a birdhouse. If I really rushed, I could probably do it in 10 minutes, but 15 minutes seems more reasonable.

The first step is to cut all the pieces. I could have mitered the sides and roof to give the house an angled roof, but I skipped that part. I really don't think the birds care—at least they've never told me so. This makes things easier—just a few cuts and all the pieces are ready to be assembled. (See figure #1 for the dimensions.)

The sides are nailed together using 5d nails and then attached to the back panel. I just eyeball center the 3 sides of the house onto the back panel and nail into place.

Figure 2. The hole size should be 1 1/2".

Before putting the top and bottom on the house, I used a 1 1/2" hole saw to drill a hole in the front panel. From what I have learned a 1 1/2" hole is preferred by 9 out of 10 bluebirds—of course polls can be wrong! (Let's not forget the past presidential election.) (See figure 2.)

Once the hole is cut and cleaned, I then put on the top (roof) and bottom. The bottom board gets screwed in with four brass screws. Use a small drill bit to drill pilot holes first to prevent the wood from splitting. The screws allow for easy cleaning of the bird house after each nesting season. (In another poll 9 out of 10 bluebirds like a clean house.)

That's about it. It's quick and cheap, cheap, cheap...