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Bird nest box, bat box, etc

Does anyone know of a good site that provides plans for bird nest boxes, bat boxes etc?

I can find plenty that give cutting instructions but they then fail to tell you exactly how each piece goes together, or worse shows you a picture that can't work as the pieces don't fit!

I can work out my own details but I'd like something to compare them to.

RSPB? Bat conservancy? I have not checked but it seems like a good place to start.

I've checked the obvious places for bird boxes and can't find anything with clear construction instructions.

E.g. this from the RSPB doesn't make it clear if the sides sit ontop or alongside the bottom.


This looks pretty clear as a bat box design. Of course Devon bats might reject it as being from foreign parts. Wink

Click to download file

rspb they have a lot of useful details such as box designs,pop hole sizes for particular species ,placement, spacings etc etc .

not sure about bats except if you do get them to move in it does restrict all manner of activities near to them.

E.g. this from the RSPB doesn't make it clear if the sides sit ontop or alongside the bottom.

Looking at the picture it would appear that the box can be made from one plank of wood just cut into lengths. This will work easier if the base is square (sides sitting on base. Front sitting infront of base and sides)

However RSPB plan dimensions show a rectangular base (sides sitting alongside base). They have knocked off 15mm each side for thickness of wood. Fine if your wood is 15mm thick. If it isn't 15mm, then your box will be squiffy.

Yes i t can be made from a plank, Yes the dimensions are for 15 mm wood, if your wood is not 15mm you can alter the plans in your head to use 10mm or 20mm...
It's not thst complicated really

the pic shows the sides sitting on the base, front and back are alongside of the base

I didn't say it was complicated but the diagram is misleading - the base goes inside the sides, front and back.

It is a bit daft though as I don't recall any common timber that is 15 mm thick, most wood is planed down to 18 mm and ply is either 18 mm or 12 mm.

What I asked was any plans that show clear instructions. I know plenty of people who couldn't make a bird box from those details.

Thanks for the bat instructions Sean, they look usable.
Jam Lady

Here's a text heavy article with some images that may be helpful.

It helps to know which bird you want to build a house for as the size of entry hole attracts different birds

Thank you Jam Lady, that's better, something with UK measurements would be ideal.

I can find plenty of details on hole sizes, less common are correct details of how high up the hole goes as if it's too low chicks can fall out and predators get in easier. On that note in the UK perches on boxes shouldn't be used as the nesting birds don't need them but predators find them useful.

What would be ideal is to find out minimum volumes for the interior space, then you can be sure any changes still provide the correct space.

If you use the rubber strip for the hinge as shown, try to put the rubber on top of the back board and down the front to meet the top as this will prevent water running down the back, also hitting the end grain of the top and potentially inside the box. I would make the top to stick over the sides and the sides and front to stick over the base; this will allow water, rain, to fall straight to the ground as it hits the sides, front and top, and so not seeping into the inside of the box. I would also make the back longer at the top and bottom so that you can strap the box to a tree rather than screw or nail into the tree. Jam Lady's link shows the construction very well.
As said before pop hole sizes are critical if you are aiming for particular birds.
stumbling goat

To prevent predation of chicks it is advisable to protect the entrance hole with a metal washer or metal disc. The hole in the washer or disc should be large enough for the bird you want to use it to be able to get in and out.

If you just leave an unprotected wooden hole predators can peck at it and gain entry.

Mistress Rose

We used the basic measurements on the RSPB site and the Bat Conservancy sites and adapted them. Husband makes the back longer so it can be screwed, nailed or strapped to whatever it is attached to; some people attach it to their house. Ours also don't have a lifting lid but a divided front held in by the roof and an angled cut in the bottom half. They slide out and are secured with one screw. This is to stop squirrels sliding them out, because as I tell customers 'Squirrels don't yet carry screwdrivers under their tails'.

If the hole is too big for a birds taste they sometimes make it smaller with mud. We tend to make ours great tit size, because we make a reasonable number, but they still look a bit small. A blue tit would either not build in them or close the hole up a bit.

Well now, here I learn that birds fill in holes to suit their size. I had never heard that before! Squirrels may not have screwdrivers, but they have very sharp teeth, one got into a house I lived in and wrecked the 'fridge seals in the door.
Jam Lady

I asked a friend who does bat rescue here in the United States.

Beautiful Bats

Here's what she had to say:

Re: bat houses: Most people who put up bat houses are lucky to get one to three males in residence, and even that may take a few years. There are so many factors to be considered and they change frequently. In years past, it was critical to mount the house on a pole rather than a building (wrong!), to smear bat guano on the landing pad to attract bats (wrong, again) and other such nonsense. There are valid considerations as to placement, sun exposure, ventilation and size, though. If you have someone in particular who's planning to put up a bat house, I'd be glad to talk to the prospective bat landlord.

I'm told that one cannot attract a maternity colony unless an existing colony has been evicted in the immediate neighborhood. I've had a minimum of five different houses (various styles and locations) on the property for the nineteen years I've lived here. Had a few males in a few of the houses all along, but two years ago a maternity colony of 46 big browns moved in. I am over the moon with that. Last year they discovered two loose shingles on my roof and abandoned my houses for that preferred site. The lesson I learned is that bat houses are far from ideal lodging, but I would never discourage anyone from putting up a house. Bats need all the help they can get.

We're hoping to replace our roof this year. The project will be timed to avoid any conflict with the bats and I've hired a roofer who is exceptionally bat-friendly.

British trust for ornithology nest box site.
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