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How to build a dove birdhouse

Updated April 17, 2017

Doves are known as the Mourning Dove because of their mournful cries and habit of mating for life. These soft grey birds can grow to be about a 30 cm (1 foot) long and have adapted to live almost anywhere in the north Western hemisphere. Doves build nests from flimsy materials that often fall apart while nesting. Doves can be scared away from their eggs by the threat of predators. Building a dove platform birdhouse or nesting cone will attract doves to your garden and protect their eggs while they nest.

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Dove nesting platform

  1. Measure three 20 cm (8 inch) squares on the pine wood and mark dimensions with a pencil. Measure two strips of wood 20 cm (8 inch) long by 10 cm (4 inch) wide. Saw the pieces from the wood. Use sandpaper to smooth the cut edges and avoid splinters.

  2. Place one 20 cm (8 inch) square flat on the work surface. Stand another 20 cm (8 inch) square up at a 90 degree angle. Hammer a row of finishing nails through the edge to secure the two squares together. Place the third square on the opposite edge of the first square at a 90 degree angle. Secure it with finishing nails.

  3. Stand the dove platform so one square is flat on the surface, one stands up in the back, and the third square forms a ceiling. Place a 10 cm (4 inch) strip so the edges meet with the three edges at the back. It should form a half-wall for the left side of the dove nesting platform. Place finishing nails in the top, side and bottom edges to secure. Repeat on the right side with the other 10 cm (4 inch) strip.

  4. Lay the dove bird house on its back. Mark with a pencil four places for hanging holes in the back piece. Be sure you can easily fit the drill into the places you mark. Place them as close to the corners as possible. Drill each of the four holes you have marked.

  5. Paint the entire dove birdhouse with weatherproof paint or wood stain. Allow it to dry. Apply a second coat if necessary for the desired look.

  6. Choose the best place in your garden to install the dove birdhouse platform. Look for a location away from dogs and other predators. Be sure the dove birdhouse can receive sunlight exposure and shade throughout the day.

  7. Place the dove birdhouse platform against a garage wall or shed at the desired location. Push a nail through a predrilled hole. Hammer the nail into the side of the wall. Repeat until all the predrilled holes have been nailed and the platform is stable. Provide a birdbath near the dove house. Place a tray feeder on the ground with cracked corn or dove feed.

Dove nesting cone

  1. Use the wire cutters to trim the corners of the wire square into a circle about 30 cm (12 inches) across. Cut a 15 cm (6 inch) diameter line into the circle. Cut another diameter line about 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart at the edge and meeting in the centre. Remove the small wire triangle.

  2. Fold and twist the wire circle, overlapping the edges at the wedge you just removed, to make a cone. Keep twisting until you have overlapped at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) of the edges on the inside.

  3. Cut a piece of florists wire 12.5 cm (5 inches) long. Wrap it around the overlapped edges to hold the dove cone together. Continue with more florists wire wherever the cone pulls apart.

  4. Place a layer of peat gardening material inside the cone. Add a small handful of dried grass. Fill the bottom of the cone about one-third up. Leave room for the doves to add their own nesting materials.

  5. Thread a piece of wire through the top side of the cone and wrap it at least 3 m (10 feet) high on a tree or post in the yard. Use a staple gun to staple the dove cone to the tree for more stability.

  6. Tip

    Keep nests high enough to stay safe from predators.


    Never touch the nest after doves begin nesting. Doves will abandon eggs and young if threatened. Do not use treated wood for houses. It is hazardous to birds. Avoid placing dove bird houses closer than one every 0.1 Hectares (1/4 acre).

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Things You'll Need

  • 60 cm x 60 cm (2 foot square) pine wood, 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) thick
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails
  • 7.5 cm (3 inch) wood nails
  • Drill with 3mm (1/8 inch) bit
  • Paint or wood stain
  • 30 cm (12 inch) square of chicken wire with small holes
  • Wire cutters
  • Thin florists wire
  • Leather garden gloves
  • Peat gardening material
  • Utility staple gun
  • Metal staples

About the Author

Amanda Herron

Amanda Herron is a photojournalist and writer whose credits include: "Georgia Realtor Magazine," "Jackson Parent Magazine," "Christian Guitarist and Bassist" and the Associated Press. Herron has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in Education from Union University. She is a member of the NPPA and has awards from the Tennessee Press Association and Baptist Press.

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