How to build a robin's nest box

Updated February 21, 2017

The red-breasted robin is one of the most familiar songbirds that you'll see and hear throughout the UK. In addition to their clear, continuous song and classic appearance, robins benefit gardens by feeding on insect pests. Since robins nest in open areas such as ledges and tree branches, they aren't attracted to closed birdhouses. If your home lacks a suitable nesting spot, you can make an open nest box to attract robins.

Saw the plywood into a 15 by 35.5 cm (6 by 14) inch back panel, 15 by 15 cm (6 by 6 inch) floor panel, 15 by 15 cm (6 by 6 inch) roof panel and two side panels with a 13.4 cm (5 1/4 inch) bottom edge, 27.5 cm (11 inch) outside edge, 33.5 cm (13 1/4 inch) inside edge and a 15 cm (6 inch) top, cut to a 45-degree angle.

Drill four or more drainage holes in the bottom panel.

Place the back panel vertically with the short end up. Place the bottom panel horizontally on top of the back panel so that the two 15 cm (6 inch) sides line up. Screw the bottom panel to the back panel, using a screwdriver and one screw at each end. Use a drill to make starter holes if necessary.

Place the nest box base on a flat surface. Fit the two side panels in place so the shorter edges align with two sides of the bottom panel and the longer edges align with either side of the back panel. Screw the side panels to the back and bottom panels.

Saw the top of the back panel at a 45-degree angle so the top of the back panel is flush with the angled tops of the side panels.

Place the roof panel on top of the birdhouse and screw it to the back and side panels. The basic birdhouse shape is complete. You will notice that the nest box lacks a front panel with a hole -- this is because robins need an open nesting spot.

Paint the outside of the nest box a light colour, if the house is not already light. A light birdhouse will reflect the sun and prevent eggs and young from becoming overheated in the warmer months. Do not paint the interior of the nest box.

Install a predator baffle over your galvanised pipe to prevent predators from accessing the birdhouse. Follow the installation instructions that come with your baffle.

Drive the pipe 60 cm (2 feet) into the ground, using a fence post driver.

Drill two holes in the back of the nest box, then drill two holes through the pipe, near the top. The distance between the two holes must be equal on the nest box and the pipe.

Attach the nest box to the pipe with bolts, washers and nuts.

Place wet sand or dirt near the nest box to provide a source of mud, which robins need to build their nests.

Offer a safe, fresh water source for the robins. A standing, shallow stone bird bath is ideal if streams and ponds aren't close by. Replace the water daily to keep it fresh.

Things You'll Need

  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick plywood
  • Hand saw
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Brass screws
  • Light-coloured paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Galvanised metal pipe
  • Predator baffle
  • Fence post driver
  • 5 cm (2 inch) brass bolts
  • 2 Brass washers
  • 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) brass nuts


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About the Author

Christina Sloane has been writing since 1992. Her work has appeared in several national literary magazines.