Posted by: highmountainmuse | April 30, 2009

House building… for the birds


One of the new homes for the bluebirds

One of the new homes for the bluebirds

Hard time of year to be indoors.  Suddenly, it is so nice out there.  And suddenly, all the projects that need to be done are no longer safely hidden beneath their blanket of white. Plenty to do.  How quickly we forget what it feels like to have time on our hands as we do in winter.


While working on the road down by the Little Cabin, I noticed a bluebird flying about the outside of the cabin.  I wonder if I am too late… I had forgotten to do what our friend Gene had done and put the bluebird boxes up before the cabin.  First things first, he had said, and he was right.  At his place, they moved right in and kept him company as he built his cabin. 


So in the afternoon while waiting for Bob to return (taking yet another animal to the vet… but that’s another story…) to work together on one of the big projects, I headed out to The Shop.  The Great Outdoors.  Our “shop” is anywhere we want., outside  Not so great when it’s raining or snowing, but otherwise, can’t beat the view, and theirs always plenty of fresh air.


A good time to build bluebird boxes!  I suppose, like planting trees, there is never really a bad time, and the sooner we just get out there and get it done, the better, right?  I took a look at the design Gene had used to build two for us.  Both are around our cabin on the coyote fence, and both have housed bluebirds.  I didn’t need more proof than that to know his design works.  Thus, I based my design off of his.  More or less.  I’m no architect, of course, so please excuse the drawing, but I think you’ll get the idea:


Blue print for a bluebird box

Blue print for a bluebird box

Got out the tools and materials, and figured if I was going to go through the process, might as well make a few.  I made four.  Really easy, only took about an hour for the whole lot.  I’ve made some really slick ones in the past, with tin roofing, sanded and painted sides, but I kept these ones simple. Those other ones were fun to look at for the human eye, but I don’t think the bluebirds much cared about the high gloss finish. Nothing fancy here, and as you all know, a house doesn’t have to be fancy to be a good home…


I used scrap one-by boards, which happened to be six inches wide.  Five inch width would have worked just as well, I think.  I cut all the pieces for all four houses out on the ground and laid them out like an assembly line.  Then got down in the dirt with my little hammer and nailed them together.  I used a 1 ½ inch auger bit for the hole, and drilled a smaller hole beneath in which I stuck a small branch for a perch.  Finally, I drilled holes top and bottom center for hanging, and with big nails and hammer in my tool belt, headed down our new road to pu up the boxes on the cedar posts of the fence line. Boxes were hung facing away from the wind.


An afternoon building project

An afternoon building project

I was just finishing up when Bob returned home with FrankenKitty…

To be continued.






  1. I think your sketch of the birdhouse is wonderful!

    Let us know when they move in.

  2. What?! You didn’t use your pink hammer?! 🙂

  3. Valerie – Ha! I was hoping no one would notice… that one used to have a purple spray painted handle. I worked on a ranch where all the ranch hands had tools of a different color. Being the only women there, I thought a lovely lavender purple would be a good choice to identify my tools. Only a bit of the old color remains…

    And Karen – you bet I will!

  4. I’ve seen more bluebirds this spring than we’ve seen around here in over 5 years. I tell myself it’s because people are building them these simple homes. Nothing like a flash of bluebird flight…

  5. Those are great! Don has built several. I need to get him to build some for our home. He apparently had success with them way north of Dallas. I wonder if we would have any luck where we are. Even though we’re close to downtown, we live in an old neighborhood with huge trees, and close to a lake – so we actually have a great bird population. I even hear an owl at night!!

  6. Hi Karin,

    Our neighborhood here in Keller has lots of Post Oaks and Blackjack Oaks and lots of birds, too. I’ve seen Titmice and Chickadees and a few nuthatches but never a bluebird…let me know if you spot any!

  7. I saw my first bluebird last weekend. It truly is the highlight of my spring! I love them. We need some more boxes. Maybe I’ll get to that too. So much to do once the cold goes away.

  8. We have the bluebirds here, as well, and there are little houses all around our place, but some of them need to be replaced. Thanks for the reminder – and the sketch is quite good. 🙂

  9. Hi Karen! I’ll see if we can’t get a bluebird house up. Have you ever seen the pelicans at White Rock Lake? I had a chickadee family at my old house in Richardson but haven’t seen any here yet. We did have some tiny mystery bird that pecked at the bark of the juniper (?) tree right outside our window. Feel free to email me directly any time. Does my email address show up? I don’t even know.

  10. Hi Karin,

    Can’t see your email address but I’ll get it from Gin. Thank you!

  11. You bet, will send it directly to your e-mail!

  12. Hope you didn’t violate Gene’s patent!

  13. Fortunately (???) I don’t think he reads this blog!

  14. […] hope this will help.  These photos are from mid week this week, and as I was out building those bluebird boxes in the middle of the final rising, the dough rose out of control, stuck to my plastic bag and looks […]

  15. […] hope this will help.  These photos are from mid week this week, and as I was out building those bluebird boxes in the middle of the final rising, the dough rose out of control, stuck to my plastic bag and looks […]

  16. […] I went on a picnic table building spree.  My theory behind it was the same as when building the blue bird boxes:  if you’re taking the time to build one, you may as well build four.  Only thing is, it was a […]

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