Bird Box from recycled palette wood

When breaking up wooden palettes you will always get a few short boards and a few split boards. But even these seemingly useless pieces can be turned into wonderful things.

Making a bird box from old scraps of palettes is easy, but the reward of seeing a pair of finches nesting in the box you made for them and later seeing a family of young birds emerge is almost indescribable.

And the best bit; bird boxes are really easy to build using only the most basic tools.

Alongside about a metre of palette wood you will need:

  • some pins and glue or about 10 screws.
  • A saw to cut the wood
  • hacksaw or jigsaw to cut the entrance hole.
  • Sandpaper, or an electric sander to make it all smooth.
  • a pencil and ruler.
  • A drill to make the hole to hang the box


However there are extras to consider and one of the key ones is a plate made of metal around the entrance hole. This is very good for keeping predatory birds and squirrels away from the baby birds. Crows will comeback day after day, scratching at the woodwork the enlarge the entrance hole so they can get their heads inside and pick up a tasty lunch. A metal plate will stop them in their tracks and keep the growing chicks safe. The plate should have a hole in it exactly the same diameter as the entrance hole. For blue tits, the hole should be 28mm across (smae as a ten pence piece) and up to 4mm bigger than that for larger box nesting birds. The base of an aluminium can is thick enough to make a great hole plate. Make sure to smooth off rough edges on the plate to avoid hurting the bird boxes inhabitants.

bird box with plate

Another extra consideration is the addition of ventilation holes. Four or fiveholes in the base and at least one on each side, drilled with a size 6 drillbit will help keep a good airflow around the birdhouse. That is particularly important after rain to dry out the wood quickly.

There again, I would say with regards to all the little extras don’t sweat it. After all birds are not fussy or at least they’re not following the same rules of what is good accommodation that we are. The cigarette disposal ashtray outside my office door is currently home to a nest of blue tits. We have had to put up a sign to make sure nobody stuffs out their cigarettes on the babies heads.

Rather than have the bottom of the birdhouse flush with the base of the walls, you could also consider recessing the base to guarantee that no water seeps into it.

I did this by cutting in a box section on each sides and then simply sliding in the base during construction. The added benefit of doing this is that next year I can change the base with ease to facilitate easy cleaning. Here is an illustration of the sides to give you a clear idea of what I did.

sides with slots for base

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