Build a haven for birds in your back yard to enjoy nature’s flying visitors.
Australia has amazing flora and fauna. Native plants go some of the way to attracting beautiful birds – but if you want your garden to be a magnet for these species, create a feeder inspired by your own home. This stunner resembles a classic Aussie house, complete with metal roof and a verandah. And if it’s the larger rosellas and cockatoos you like, make sure the feeding pad is large enough. If it’s too small, kookaburras will just laugh at it!
Bird feeder diagram
Gather your supplies
A Gable ends (2) 450 x 450 x 18mm marine plywood
B Side walls (2) 750 x 360 x 18mm marine plywood
C Roof panels (2) 750 x 230 x 18mm marine plywood
D Barges (4) 65 x 18 x 440mm LOSP pine
E Verandah beams (2) 30 x 18 x 786mm LOSP pine
F Verandah posts (6) 18 x 18 x 305mm LOSP pine
G1 Roofing (2) 634 x 400mm ripple iron
G2 Roofing (2) 195 x 400mm ripple iron
H Ridge cap (2) 30 x 18 x 750mm LOSP pine
I Base frame sides (2) 70 x 35 x 1020mm treated pine
J Cross joists (3) 70 x 35 x 665mm treated pine
K Decking (10) 70 x 19 x 1020mm treated pine
L Long edging (2) 90 x 19 x 1058mm treated pine
M Short edging (2) 90 x 19 x 773mm treated pine
N Post 100 x 100 x 2100mm treated pine
O Long braces (2) 70 x 35 x 650mm treated pine
P Short braces (2) 70 x 35 x 440mm treated pine
Plywood components are cut from two 1200 x 600 x 18mm sheets. Roofing is cut from a 1500 x 634mm sheet.
- Step 1: To make gable end (A), mark centre along top edge. Measure 90mm down each side, then join to centre mark to create roof pitch. Measure out a 310mm-wide by 260mm-high opening in bottom of gable end, leaving a 70mm-wide column on each side. Cut side and verticals of opening, then make a plunge cut across top of opening. Pivot front of saw plate on plywood, so blade is a little forward of corner behind it. Align blade with inside of cut, then start saw and feed it gently into plywood. When base is fully in contact with plywood surface, move saw forward. Never cut backwards, as blade may grab and kick back. Then cut sloping roof outline. Repeat to make second gable end.
- Step 2: Finish off corners with a jigsaw to remove opening. Repeat for other gable end. Cut side walls (B) in a similar way, but this time make 2 openings, each 250mm wide x 260mm high, with a 130mm-wide centre column. Cut to size, using plunge cuts at top of openings, as you can’t make a continuous cut from ends.
- Step 3: Sand panels smooth, then predrill and countersink screw holes, 9mm in from edge and roof line. Glue and screw gables and side walls together.
- Step 4: Cut roof panels (C) out of offcuts from other pieces. Unplug saw and set it to cut at 22.5° – a fraction more than roof pitch. Cut roof panels along 2 long sides with angle running in same direction at top and bottom edges, with the 2 cuts 223mm apart.
- Step 5: Glue and screw roof panels in place, meeting at ridge, and flush with top edge of gables. This also braces structure. Fill all screw holes with wood filler and, when dry, sand smooth.
- Step 6: Cut barges (D) to a length of 405mm from short to long point, with a 22.5° angle at each end. On 1 end, measure 40mm down angled cut from obtuse angle and square off cut line. Cut off triangle.
- Step 7: Cut a 12 x 12mm triangle off bottom ends of verandah beams (E), then screw verandah posts (F) to beams, 1 in centre and others 20mm from each end.
- Step 8: From top edge of gable end, measure down 35mm and draw a line parallel to roof slope. Align bottom edge of 1 barge to line so it overhangs at top and screw to secure, then screw on other barge, ensuring joint at top is tight. Repeat for other gable end.
- Step 9: Screw verandah beam and post assembly between barges, with top of decorative triangles flush with underside of barges.
- Step 10: Fill all remaining screw holes and let dry, then sand and apply primer, sealer, undercoat. Allow to dry. For topcoat, try matching it to your home. If you don’t have any of the paint left over, take a small sample from a hidden corner of your home and have it colour matched. Once topcoat is applied, set aside to dry.
- Step 11: To make base, screw base frame sides (I) to cross joists (J). Centre joist is laid on flat and spaced 410mm from 1 end internally, offsetting it slightly, so post that will hold bird feeder up can be notched on 1 side to fit against centre joist. Check frame is square by measuring diagonals.
- Step 12: Screw on decking (K) at each side, then space other decking boards in between so gaps are even. Finish off deck with edging (L,M) around outside to hide end grain. Each of these will need a 45° mitre at each corner. Screw to joists and sides, sand and paint deck to match bird house. Leave to dry.
- Step 13: With bird house paint dry, cut ripple iron roofing to suit (G1,G2), then predrill and screw to roof panels with 25mm roofing screws. Finish off roof with ridge cap (H), which is 2 pieces of timber, with a 22.5° angle cut along top edge to form mitre at top. Glue together and screw down through roof into plywood roof panels.
- Step 14: Notch top of post (N) to form a 70 x 35mm housing. Screw this to underside of deck, with horn of notch on wider side of offset joist and centred between sides, screwing from post to joist. Check that angle between deck and post is 90°. Cut and screw long braces (O) to hold deck square – the cutting angle should be 45°. Repeat for short braces (P) that join long braces of deck to post.
- Step 15: Dig a hole to a depth of 750mm using a post hole shovel, then put post in hole. Replace dirt around post in 200mm stages, ramming each layer with blunt end of a crowbar until it’s solid. Check post for plumb in both directions as you go. If you live in a windy or sandy area, you could also pour concrete around base.
- Step 16: Place bird house on top and find position. We offset it to 1 end so there’s a wider area at front to allow plenty of room for birds to land and move around. Screw in place from underside. Place birdseed inside and water in bowls, then wait for your new mates to arrive for a flying visit.
You’ll also need
Exterior PVA; exterior primer, sealer and undercoat; assorted screws; low-sheen acrylic paint (we used
colour-matched Dulux Pure Blue Quarter and Colorbond Windspray); 25mm hexagonal washer-head roofing screws; post hole shovel; crowbar; paintbrush