Depending on your style, Calgary’s backyards can vary from a simplistic square of lawn to a green thumb’s paradise of terraces, stones, ponds and lush beds of flowers and shrubs. Further adding character to your yard — as well as attracting the singsong crowd of Calgary’s many feathered friends including House Sparrows, Black-Capped Chickadees, Red- Breasted Nuthatch and Robins — a birdhouse is a fairly quick and inexpensive do-it-yourself project.
• Hand saw • Hinges
• Safety G lasses • Wood (plywood, barnboard ect.)
• Wooden Dowling for perch • Waterproof glue
• Sandpaper • Zero VOC house paint
• Hammer • Nails
• Ruler • Carpenter’s Square
• Power drill with 1.5 inch bit • Pencil
1. Firstly, think about what kind of materials you’d like to use to construct your birdhouse. Wood is your best bet as metal becomes too overheated when exposed to the hot summer sun. Either draw out a design of your own, or consult garden magazines or the Internet for ideas on the style of birdhouse you’d like to create. Also, take note that certain birds prefer certain amenities when it comes to choosing a home to build their nest. Canadian Living says, depending on the size of bird you want to attract, your entrance hole can be between three and seven centimetres in diameter.
2. Use a carpenter’s square to measure out the dimensions for the four sides, roof pieces and floor of your birdhouse. Ensure your roof pieces allow for enough of an overhang that driving rain won’t fall into the birdhouse. A drainage hole in the floor of the house can be helpful for any water that may get into the house to escape.
3. Drill a 1.5 inch hole in the piece of wood designated for the front of your birdhouse, drilling a smaller ¼ inch hole just below for your perch. Using the waterproof glue, glue and insert the dowling into the designated hole. There’s also the option of drilling a second entrance at the back of the house to give birds access from both sides as well as providing ventilation. Some people prefer not to add a perch to the birdhouse as it provides easy access for predators.
4. Attach entrance piece to floor sides and roof using the glue and nails. On the inside of the entrance pieces, create grooves in the wood to help young birds exit the nest. When attaching the roof pieces you’ll also want to hinge your two roof pieces together for easy access into the house; once the birds have flown the coop you’ll want to remove the old nest before the house becomes home to some new feathered friends.
5. When painting your birdhouse use a water-based exterior paint such as Benjamin Moore’s low VOC Ben or General Paint’s Breeze. A lot of today’s exterior products are a paint and primer in one application but double check the can for directions on applying your paint to your birdhouse. The Scoop On Wild Birds and Feeders recommends painting the house in shades of tan, brown or gray as studies show that’s what birds prefer. Never paint the interior of your birdhouse.
6. If you’re mounting your birdhouse on a pole, metal or iron is best to prevent cats and squirrels from climbing up into the birdhouse. If you plan on hanging the house from or securing it to a tree, a sheet metal guard can help deter predators.