Making your own nest box is simple and rewarding. Firstly, select the type of box you want to make and then use our illustrations and and instructions to build your box.
Select your box
For gardens we would recommend either:
- Small-hole nest box which is occupied by tit species
- Small open fronted box which is used by robins
Other nest box options
Small boxes with holes
Large boxes with holes
Open fronted boxes
Very big boxes
|Great Tit||Starling||Pied Wagtail||Tawny Owl|
|Coal Tit||Great Spotted Woodpecker||Spotted Flycatcher||Barn Owl|
|Marsh Tit||Little Owl||Stock Dove|
Building a nest box
Before you start building your nest box study the below nest box illustrations, dimensions and advice on the materials to use and the hole sizes. Make sure that you put your box up as soon as it has been built – the longer it’s up, the more chance it has of attracting visitors
For more information on the designs or other types of boxes purchase the BTO nest box guide book.
It is important that the inside of the box doesn’t get too cold or warm and that the box is durable.
- Nest boxes should be made from wood (Woodcrete - a unique combination of sawdust and concrete is often used for commercial boxes). Metal and plastic are unsuitable materials as they may cause the contents of the nest to overheat or allow condensation to build up inside the box, wetting eggs and chicks.
- The type of wood used is not critical but hardwoods, such as oak and beech, will outlive soft wood, such as pine.
- Rather more critical is the thickness of the wood, which should be at least 15mm to provide sufficient insulation and to prevent warping.
- It is better to nail your box together rather than gluing it (remember to use galvanized/stainless steel nails to stop rust) as this allows water to drain.
- Make sure you drill a couple of holes in the base of your box to ensure that any rain that does get in can drain out quickly.
- Top tip - Do not put a perch on the front of the nest box as this is not necessary and may aid access to a predator!
Different size holes are suitable for different species:
- 25mm or larger for Blue, Coal and Marsh Tit;
- 28mm or larger for Great Tit and Tree Sparrow;
- 32mm for House Sparrow.
Access for inspection and cleaning
Nest boxes should have a means of easy access for both inspection and cleaning.
Attach a waterproof hinge to the roof of the box, so that it can be lifted easily but won’t fall off. Car inner tubes or Butyl rubber are ideal waterproof materials to use. Cut the rubber to the width of the box, and then nail the rubber along the back of the box and to the roof.