Build a bird box

Give birds a cosy place to rest and breed by building them a cosy nest box. Having plenty of safe places to nest will encourage birds to return to your garden year after year.

A wooden birdbox, painted the same dark green as the fence panel it's mounted to and surrounded by leafy foliage.

This Helping Nature activity can be completed as part of Schools or Families Wild Challenge. (It counts as Homes for birds for Schools.)

Estimated time: 3-4 hours Season: Autumn, Winter, Spring Skill level: Advanced


Are you a teacher?

This activity is about building a home for birds and giving them a place to stay in your school grounds.

Get them thinking

Here are some prompts to help with learning:

  • What do you need to consider about the materials you use?
  • How can you try to ensure the birds will thrive in their new home?

What do I do?

You could make a nestbox, using our how-to guide in the What You'll Need tab.

You could even buy a nestbox and simply put it up.

Put your nestbox in a suitable site. Work with the children to decide on the best location. The nestbox should be about 2.5-5m off the ground. It’s best to angle it forward slightly so that rain can’t fall into it. Once the box is up don't disturb it, watch from a distance and see if you get any visitors.

Did you know: that the record number of birds found in one box is 63 Wrens. They are very small, but that's still a lot of Wrens.

A Wren perched on the very end of a twig, looking to fly off.

Find the right location

Find the right bird-friendly spot for your box. Ideally, it will be under the eaves of your house (where the walls meet the roof) or high on a wall, well away from curious cats or foxes. Make sure you get permission if you need it.

The box will need to be at least 3 metres (10 feet) from the ground, facing somewhere between north and east to avoid it getting too hot or wet. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight and don't put it over a doorway or well-used path.

Make sure that the birds have a clear flight path to the nest without any clutter directly in front of the entrance. Tilt the box forward slightly so that any driving rain will hit the roof and bounce clear.

Please note that if the box is going to be placed in a location where it will be exposed to heavy rain, it would be useful to cover the top of the lid with recycled leather or rubber. This will provide further waterproofing and extend the service life of the box.

A tall tree trunk, with an unpainted wooden birdbox mounded high up the tree, using brown cord.
Partnering with

The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International.More