Introduction: Hummingbird House

Picture of Hummingbird House

After seeing some craft show houses, I decided to try my hand at some hummingbird houses. Mine reuse some cedar poles, from a clearing job.
Material list is short:
Cedar post or log
wood glue
small dowel or stick
Tool list:
chop saw
3/4" forstner bit
1 1/2" forstner bit
drill press or drill
clamp

Step 1: Cut Blocks

Picture of Cut Blocks

Using your saw, cut a piece about 1/2". Next, cut a piece about 4" to 5". The first piece should sit on the end that it was cut from. Note, always you eye protection when using tools.

Step 2: Drill the Inside Hole, the "living Room".

Picture of Drill the Inside Hole, the "living Room".

It will be much easier to use a drill press, for this. Set your drill depth to stop at least 1/2" from the bottom. This can be a slow process. Take your time and don't rush. Once the center hole is drilled, change to the smaller 3/4" bit. Drill the door hole a little higher than halfway to the top. Depending on the dowel or stick you use, you will need to drill a hole under the door. Don't drill all the way through, if you can avoid it.

Step 3: Glue Pieces

Picture of Glue Pieces

Using your wood glue, place a bead around the top of the house. Place the thin piece on top. Adjust the placement so that the house looks like one piece.
Put a little glue on the dowel, or stick, and place it into the small hole, for a perch.

Step 4: Hang It Up!

Picture of Hang It Up!

After the glue dries, decide how you want to hang it. You can use a small eye screw and a length of small chain.
Find a good spot to hang it. Possibly near a feeder. That's not all. Hummingbirds use small strings, feathers, dryer lint, and hair to build their nests. You can brush a pet, clean the lint trap, or clean a hair brush to get these items. When you fo, place them on branches near the house. The birds will find them and place them on the house. Good luck!

Comments

John T MacF Mood (author)2017-09-08

A glue may be marked non-VOC and NON-TOXIC to humans, but humming bird pysiology is radically dfifferetn from humans, of course.

John T MacF Mood (author)2017-09-08

I'd suggest using a stainless (with stainless screws) hinge on the back of the top (glues can be toxic and emit VOC's for some time after gluing and drying). Even dry, there is a very tiny amount emitted) A small stainless strip with two holes, unscrew fasteners to clean in the migration season. And the perch is not needed, keep the door hole as small as possible.to keep predatory critters from killing the birds, both adults and babies. Those Forstner bits are fantastic tools, but they will chew through wood so quickly, a drill press with a stop before boring through and through is nearly a requirement. A careful craftsman could make the holes with a chisel, but that would be extremely tedious, and over-widening the hole(s) is a problem..

Does anyone know if cedar is required, or would almost any wood do? I know cedar has long lasting properties, but poplar or pine with a natural finish would work, but may require finish (to last) that could harm the birds.... I'd gladly build new ones every year or two.

I have a crop of birds that come back every year. One I named "Squeak" got his beak caught on the feeder, he was a juvenile, and was cleaning his beak on the perch support member. I thought he had died overnight from the chill. I managed to find him alive, and gently freed his beak, and gently held him, watched him breathing, felt his extremely high heart rate, and he "SQUEAKED" at me. So, I slowly opened my hands, and he flew off like a SCUD missile. For four years he would come back, hover, look at me, and squeak, and then go feed. He was not afraid of me or my wife at all. I think he out lived most wild hummingbirds, but he has not returned this year. No other birds before or since hovered and squeaked at us.I felt privileged to have made a tiny friend.

michaelb2 (author)2016-02-01

Please contact your local college ornathology department if you can get a Hummingbird to use this. You will make their day and you might 15 mins of fame yourself.

loony1 (author)2015-10-11

I've built a couple hummingbird houses in the past out of wood scraps, I really like your design. When we moved, I didn't take the houses with me so I don't know if they were nested in after, but we didn't have any nesting luck in the three years they were in place. Any ideas? Great project in repurposing the wood!

radar518 (author)loony12015-10-11

I put in some nesting tips I found. strings, lint, and hair in branches are supposed to work. I've never had houses before, so I'm not sure if they will build. Hummingbirds are typically migrating. I hope they work

slkoontz (author)radar5182015-10-15

The hummingbirds that nest in my yard really like using spiderwebs, you can see them in the photo I posted. I love it when they nest because they clean up all the spiderwebs in my yard.

brian32768 (author)2015-10-12

Nice design but I've never seen a hummingbird nest in a cavity. Have you? All the ones I have seen are in the crooks of trees and shrubs. This box might attract other small cavity-nesting birds though so try it!

Make it simpler too by leaving off the perch. The bird people say perches only attract predators, who perch outside and pluck out the youngsters. The birds nesting in the cavity don't normally use the perch. I have watched this. They cling to the outside of the box or they fly straight in. See for example

http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2011/03/should-my-b...

Some craftspeople seem to insist on perches, maybe they think they are cute but they are for the humans not the birds. Go with the birders not the wood workers when designing nest boxes. If you are making decorations for your house, fine, do anything.

If your box is for one season only gluing it is fine, but if you want to reuse it you will need to open it at the end of the season and clean it out. The old nest can be pretty nasty, full of bugs and .... it's healthier if they can start with an empty box.

Since your nest box is all wood you could just compost the whole thing and start over each spring (assuming it was used of course).

Whatever --- hope this helps and ENJOY YOUR BIRDS!!!

slkoontz (author)brian327682015-10-15

I have a hummingbird that nests in my backyard. She's never used a cavity... but there are many different types of hummingbirds so maybe some do.

radar518 (author)brian327682015-10-12

I've never seen any hummingbirds nest. I wanted to give it a shot. I've already thought about the cleaning issue. but, I hadn't thought about the perch. thanks for the tips

ClenseYourPallet (author)2015-10-11

That is a beautiful and simplistic house you have there! It looks a lot like a ring box I made... Same concept. Thanks for sharing

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