How to Build a Robin House

Robin image by David Walker from

The American Robin, or Turdus migratorius, is known for the bright red-orange feathers on it's belly. Building nests lined with mud and feathers, these migratory birds subsist on insects and berries. The state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin, American Robins winter south of Canada and range over most of North America during the warmer months. Robins are a delight for birdwatchers, and are easy to attract to bird houses that provide them with a nesting perch, allowing you to enjoy their perky nature and beauty in your own backyard. A robin house can be easily constructed from a single plank of lumber just four feet long.

Print out the plans for a robin house using your computer printer. Cut the piece of 2- by 10-inch lumber to a length of four feet, which is what will be required for the robin house.

Replicate the plans for the bird house on the board by tracing them onto the piece of lumber. Use a ruler to identify where the vertices and edges are on the plan, then scale them up proportionally to the outlines you are drawing onto the wood surface. Make the lines that mark the edges of the pieces bold enough to see when you are cutting them out.

Make cuts along the lines between the back, floor, and roof; as well as between the roof and section of wood containing the sides of the robin house. This should leave you with the back part (which is already complete, being the full width of the piece of wood), the floor, roof, and a piece of wood which contains the two side panels. Trim all these parts down to their specified widths by cutting along their edge lines.

Use the band- or jigsaw to cut along the straight lines that mark the edges of the side pieces, cutting them out of the larger piece of wood they are embedded in. Make sure not to cut past the ends of the lines to prevent damaging them. Cut the 18.5-degree bevel shown in the plans into the back of the roof using the table-saw.

Sand all of the pieces you cut out with several grades of sandpaper (from coarse to fine) until they are smooth.

Apply a bead of glue along the back edge of the floor of the robin house and press it to the back in the position shown on the plans. Use bar-clamps to hold it there and hammer three evenly spaced brads into the floor through the back to help hold it in place. Wipe away the excess glue with a wet sponge or paper towel. Allow the glue to dry before continuing.

Glue and nail the sides in place, putting two brads into them through both the back and the floor and allow them to dry before moving on to the next step. Glue and nail the roof to the back and sides. Allow the glue to dry completely. Stain or finish the robin house in the manner you desire to complete it.

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