How to Build Bluebird Houses

MOTHER's children article showcases a young scout who built 100 cardboard homes for bluebirds to help the species survive for his Eagle Scout project.

| March/April 1987

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    Using a table saw, we scouts cut each tube into two-foot lengths. We cut each of these sections in half at a 20 degree slant to make two tubular nest boxes with straight bottoms and slanting tops.
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    Diagram of the bluebird bungalow birdhouse.
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    Now that the houses were made, how could we get bluebirds to nest in them? I talked to a wildlife extension agent who told me the best time to put up bluebird houses is in late winter or early spring.

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MOTHER knows that many youths undertake interesting, original projects and start their own small businesses. To support these endeavors, we buy and publish well-written articles from children and teenagers concerning their efforts. However, we recommend that all young authors query (that is, send us a letter telling about the story they'd like to do) before writing a full article. Send your queries to MOTHER's Children, MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Hendersonville, NC. 

MOTHER'S CHILDREN: An Eagle Scout project to create 100 bluebird houses to help the species survive.

How to Build Bluebird Houses

"You're going to make and put up 100 bluebird houses?" my dad asked. "Sure you aren't biting off more than you can chew?" I'd been reading about how the number of eastern bluebirds had dropped over the last 25 years—mostly because they didn't have enough good places to nest. So, as part of my community service requirement for the Eagle Scout award, I wanted to help these beautiful songbirds survive. And I figured I could get help from the other scouts in my troop. But Dad had a point. It had taken me a couple of hours (and cost me a couple of dollars for materials) to make just one regular wooden birdhouse. Multiply that by 100, and I was facing an overwhelming job. There was only one thing for me to do-invent a better bluebird house! (See the image gallery for photos and birdhouse diagram.)

Home, Sweet Tube

To get some ideas, I called on Dr. Bill Fletcher, a retired local veterinarian who has been making birdhouses for over 50 years. One interesting house he had was made out of the thick cardboard that carpeting is rolled around. I liked that idea, and got several rolls from carpet stores (for free, when the owners learned about my project).

Using a table saw, we scouts cut each tube into two-foot lengths. We cut each of these sections in half at a 20 degree slant to make two tubular nest boxes with straight bottoms and slanting tops.

Then, using an electric drill with a doorknob corer, we bored entry holes. To discourage other bird species from using the houses, we made the holes between 1-1/4 inches and 1-3/8 inches diameter and located them 1-1/8 inches from the top edge of each tube at the front.



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