|Written by Thomas Conroy|
Introduction: Winter can be a harsh time for wild birds, but a property owner can help their survival odds greatly by making a simple winter roosting box and installing it properly onto a tree. A basic winter roosting box is very similar to a regular bird house or nesting box, but with a few minor considerations that are implemented to assist in comfort. For starters, a winter roosting box always has it's entrance at the bottom of the front, so that any heat inside of the box becomes trapped and cannot escape easily.
Secondly, it is very common for a single winter roosting box to house a very large number of wild birds, and for this reason a roosting box should have a number of interior shelves or perches. Lastly, a small container of bird feed should be placed close to or even attached onto a winter roosting box. This is so birds do not have to leave the comfort of their home for extended periods in sub-zero temperatures in search of food.
Step 1: To build winter roosting box for wild birds first determine an appropriate size (18 inches long and 6 inches wide and deep is perfect). Using 1/4 inch thick soft wood, cut 4 panels 18 inches long by 6 inches wide and set them off to the side. Cut the top and bottom on the winter roosting box to a size of 6 inches by 6 inches, next cut the interior shelves of the winter roosting box to dimensions of 5 1/2 inches by 3 inches - 4 of these should be enough to accommodate a fair number of birds.
Step 2: Attach the top and bottom of the winter roosting box to three of the 18 inch long sides using wood glue and allow the glue to dry thoroughly. After this, insert the nesting shelves spaced equally apart in distance and attach them with the wood glue to the three sides. When all of the aforementioned parts are set, use either small brads or finishing nails and make the joints more secure.
On the front panel bottom, cut a small circular hole 1 1/2 inches in diameter about an inch from the bottom, and sand the edges smooth. Repeat the glue and nail procedure to attach the front and the winter roosting box is complete and ready to hang.
Step 3: The winter roosting box for wild birds can be hung from a sturdy tree using two or three small screw-in hooks and several strands on steel wire. The roosting box opening should face the opposite direction of prevailing winds to help keep the little guys warm. A final tip - never paint or stain any item that is intended for use as a home to birds - they don't like the smell and the chemicals are toxic to them.
Tips: If you want to help wild birds it is best to keep pets away from the roosting box area.