Nest boxes can be purchased at many pet stores in particular at those which specialize in birds as well as many Audubon nature stores and nature preserves but will cost $25 or more. Small and standard boxes can be constructed for $1 - $5 per box by making use of wood siding from construction projects, cedar from fences, and ply wood; large boxes such as for barn owls will cost 2-3 times as much.. This section provides references and plans for the construction of individual boxes or 10 – 15 at a time. Plans for three size boxes follow: 1) small (e.g., Chickadees) standard (Bluebirds), and 3) large (e.g., Barn Owls). Some variations in mounting are hanging, post mounted and attached; other variations are: front opening and side opening (preferred).
Multiple Box Construction/Group Projects
The following article is oriented toward group construction but also provides information for construction of individual boxes as well as a discussion of aids to construction: Article on Multiple Box Construction. Cutout plans: 11 Bluebird Boxes and 15 Chickadee Boxes. Plans for Burring Owl boxes are available here.
Plans for individual box construction:
*Cornell Nestwatch Program
Features of a Good Nest Box: Features
Birdhouse Placement: Placement
Plans for many species (box sizes) including Chickadee, Tree Swallow, Bluebirds, Kestrel, Barn Owl, Wood Ducks and others; also Predator Guard Plans Construction Plans
*Construction plans with many photographs for side opening, hanging, standard (Bluebird) box and retriever: Bluebird box and Retriever:
*Children’s Activity Book: Children's Activity Book. Pages 30-37 contain information and photographs for construction of front and side opening standard (Bluebird) boxes with photographs of pole mounted, hanging and attached boxes. There is a review of other cavity nesters which use the small (Chickadee) sized boxes but no construction plans – see references in article.
Extensive information on monitoring bluebird boxes: NABS Fact Sheets
Specifications for Standard (Bluebird) boxes : Specifications
Nestbox Plans for various types of Standard boxes: Nestbox Plans
*National Audubon Society:
References: Bird Boxes (References)
Hints For Attracting Birds: Hints
* Bluebirds of San Diego: Bluebirds of San Diego: Bluebird Box Plans