The following information was excerpted from Bluebirds in New York by Beth G. Silverman and Marianne E. Krasny.


Materials Needed:

Rough-cut lumber, 1" thick (You can use any scrap lumber, except interior plywood.) For each box you will need three pieces measuring at least 2'x 6 1/'2", 2'x 4 3/4", and 18" x 4".

16-20 aluminum or galvanized nails (2 1/2")

2 screws (1 1/2")

1 L-shape screw or flat-head wood screw

3/8" hardware cloth (screen), 4" x 6"

Saw for cutting wood

Hole saw

Drill (with a 1/4" or 3/8" bit and a 1/8" bit)




  1. Refer to Diagram A.  Draw the outline of all pieces on the lumber with a pencil and a ruler.  Check to make certain that each piece is the correct size.

  2. Carefully cut the pieces along the pencil outline.  Cut the top corner off both side pieces to give the nest box good ventilation.  You should cut a triangle with sides measuring about 1".

  3. Drill four small (1/4" - 3/8") holes in the floor piece. These holes will let rain drain out of the box and should be located as shown in the diagram.

  4. Drill four holes (1/8" diameter) in the back piece, two at the top and two at the bottom. Each hole should be 1" in from the corners.  These holes will be used to mount the box.

  5. Use a hole saw to drill a 1 1/2" diameter hole in the center of the front board, 1 1/4" from the top (as shown in the diagram).  Drill another 1 1/2" hole in the predator guard with your hole saw, down 1/2" from the top.  Nail the predator guard to the front of the box, aligning the entrance holes.  The thick predator guard will make it difficult for raccoons and other predators to reach into the box and grab eggs or young at the bottom of the box.

  6. You are now ready to assemble your box.  Before hammering or screwing pieces together, drill small pilot holes where nails or screws will go.  The diameter of the pilot holes should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the nails or screws you use.   Pre-drilled holes help prevent the wood from splitting and make it easier to hammer pieces together.

  7. Fasten each side board to the front piece with a screw, placed 1" from the top of the front piece and 1 1/2" from the top of the side boards.  (The bottom edge of the side and front boards should be aligned.  The top of the front piece will be 1/2" lower than the top of the side pieces, allowing the front to pivot to open the box.)  The screws go through the side boards and into the front piece (see diagram for placement).    Since these two screws let the front of the box pivot open, they must be exactly the same distance from the top.

  8. Install the floor board next.  Position it so the grain of the wood runs from side to side. Nail the floor board in place.

  9. Nail the back in place.  Center the box along the back board.  This allows room at the top and bottom of the back to mount the box.

  10. Nail the roof firmly to the top of the box.  There should be a 1/2" gap between the front of the box and the roof, allowing the front to pivot open.

  11. Drill a pilot hole through the bottom center of the front board into the floor board and insert the L-shape or flat-head screw.  To open the box, remove this screw.  An L-shape screw is easiest to unscrew, but if your box will be placed in an area where a person might tamper with it, insert a flat-head screw.

  12. Before you mount your box, install a piece of 3/8" hardware cloth, 1" above the floor of the box.  You will need a piece of screen that measures 4"x6".  Fold the edge over 1" on two sides.  The screen now measures 4"x4" and fits in the bottom of the box. This screen will trap blowfly larvae below the bluebirds' nest, so the insects cannot harm the baby birds.  When blowfly larvae find bluebirds, they such the bird's blood and can kill young bluebirds.

You are now ready to mount your box.    See Mounting Instructions.