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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in Animal Care.

In this Badge Bit you will make a bird house for a specific species of bird.  


Here's a nice youtube video of making an Eastern Bluebird house:


To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
 - it must be designed for a specific species of bird
 - natural wood and steel/wood fasteners (no glue, plywood, stain, paint)
 - must be able to open for cleaning

To show you've completed this Badge Bit, you must:
 - post a pic of the bird house under construction
 - post a pic of your finished bird house in its final mounted location
 - say what bird species it is designed for, how this design is a good match for that bird, and why you would like more of that bird in this area, and some dimensional specifics

COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
Posts: 331
Location: Zone 8b Portland
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Here’s my in progress bird house. It’s made from a cedar log. I cut the sides off and then screwed them back together. I still need to get the proper hole saw.
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master steward
Posts: 9383
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Approved BB submission
I wanted to put in a wood duck nest box over our small pond in the back yard.  Wood ducks are gorgeous and I haven't seen one in a decade or two so I figured this might help the situation.  I used entrance hole and nest box sizing recommendations from the USDA and some websites.  The chunk of trunk is 24" tall (2" of that is the bottom) and it's 12" in diameter with about 1/2-1" walls.  The hole is an oval that's 4" wide and 3" tall.  If you're building your own, check out all the duck house info online to get some plans (unless you're using a log like I did)...

I cut down some tamarack trees to make fence posts and saved a chunk from the butt of the biggest one to make a natural birdhouse from.  I carved a slab off for the removable back of the house.  I noodled the inside out with the chainsaw (pain in the butt) and put a slot in the bottom for drainage and shrinkage of the log.  The top is a piece of cedar.  The back pivots on a screw and is held shut with a piece of wire wrapping around another screw.  It's mounted to another piece of tamarack that's pounded down into the bottom of the pond.
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Staff note (Mike Barkley) :

I certify this BB is complete.

 
pioneer
Posts: 87
Location: Louisville, KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
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My submission for the PEP BB animal.sand.birdhouse - Build a nice birdhouse for a specific species. I've added the link below to the story and pics. I can repeat that herein if necessary. I created boxes specifically for:

American robin / mourning dove
Carolina chickadees
Carolina wren
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl

https://permies.com/wiki/10/99528/pep-dimensional-woodworking/Simple-beginner-bird-house-PEP#1184593


Thanks for your time.
Staff note (gir bot) :

Someone flagged this submission as an edge case BB.
BBV price: 0
Note: Please copy over the Under construction and Mounted in final location photos to get approved

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echo minarosa
pioneer
Posts: 87
Location: Louisville, KY - Zone 6b (near border of 6a), Heat Zone 7, Urban habitat
43
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Approved BB submission
I had a short list of birds I wanted to provide for. I wanted to provide boxes or nest platforms for:

American robin / mourning dove
Carolina chickadees / tufted titmouse
Carolina wren
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl

Specifically, American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl are all in decline. I used to see all but the owls regularly in the area. Additionally, screech owls do occupy habitat about a mile away so I assumed the Field of Dreams Model (If You Build It, They will Come). The box geometry and hole size is very similar between the three.

I didn't want design to get in the way of occupancy. There are a lot of commercial birdhouses that are ill-suited for occupancy even by the least choosy species. I also wanted to know about placement for occupancy success, etc. So I went to Cornell's NestWatch in order to look at specific designs and discussion. You can find them here:

https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/right-bird-right-house/

I supplemented the American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl research by looking at the boxes used by going to the Northeast Connecticut Kestrel Project and looking at the plans by Art Gingert. Find them here:

http://nectkestrels.com/websites.htm

Additionally, I looked at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary page for info (NOTE: the box plans are at the bottom of the page):

https://www.hawkmountain.org/conservation-science/active-research/raptor-conservation-studies/american-kestrels

I had a number of questions and started by talking to Art a few times via phone. He also led me to Bob DeCandido of the American Kestrel Nest Survey NYC project. That info can be found here:

http://www.battaly.com/nehw/AmericanKestrel/news/

To look at appropriateness I also looked at flicker and screech owl boxes:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-11/flicker_nestbox.pdf

http://www.americanartifacts.com/smma/per/nestcam/10flicker.htm

https://www.audubon.org/news/how-build-screech-owl-nest-box

http://www.lakesidenaturecenter.org/MDC%20Plan%20-%20Sparrow%20Hawk%20or%20Screech%20Owl.pdf

https://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2020/01/01/habitat-project-eastern-screech-owl-boxes/

https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/woodworking-for-wildlife/eastern-screech-owl-nest-box.html

Then I saw a YouTube video of a near instant predation event by a redtailed hawk on a screech owl sitting inside a nest box with camera. That caused me to reach out to several DNR folks and box makers. To a person they said the box on the video and several sites are too shallow once you look at hole size, placement of hole and the boxes being shallow in general. That led me to make deeper boxes and have a longer overhang on the front. I also had to modify designs to have the front open for cleaning rather than a side. This was due to the fact that I'd be standing on the 2nd floor roof to service and given how they would be mounted, side-opening would be less desirable. I still wanted to have structural rigidity supplied by the front so I went with a split panel.

I waiting for a long time for the right wood as the larger boxes needed larger pieces of wood. So I saved a piece here and there. Then a friend asked me if I wanted shelves he ripped out of a house. There was enough poplar, maple, and fir that I now had enough to proceed.

I looked at platform-type next boxes for mourning doves and robins. I looked at Cornell again and sites like:

https://journeynorth.org/tm/robin/NestBox.html

https://70birds.com/bird-species/mourning-dove/

I modified to fit the constraints of the wood I had and the sites they would be located.

Finally, I'd already made some wren boxes and used sites like:

https://70birds.com/bird-species/wrens/

http://www.nestboxbuilder.com/nestbox-plans.html

I was able to use the scrap from the large boxes to cobble most of the wren and robin box parts.

I was lucky enough to use the shop of a friend and got to use a number of tools I don't have and procedures for angling cuts and whatnot. This was being planned for years but only recently was it a possibility as I wanted to scrounge the wood that might otherwise be wasted. One of the shelves had a dark stain covering. The shelves were 30-35 years old. I took the stain off of what would become the insides of the boxes. I was able to make two boxes with the stained pieces.

The large boxes had grooves cut into the front and two sides for chick ladders and chick perches below the holes in order to make exiting or hanging out near the hole easier. I sanded the sides, tops, backs, and bottoms glass-smooth so as to shed water more quickly. I added drainage to the bottoms of each box.

I did not want to use cedar as there are now warnings about compounds in the wood creating respiratory issues for nestlings and adults when using cedar for birdhouses.

All boxes were put together with screws so that I could easily replace damaged or rotted panels when necessary. I hate doing stuff over when a little planning on the front end can save materials or make them last longer. Especially since scrounged lumber comes rarely in my area. Additionally, to make the wood last longer I used beeswax on all seams, knotholes, dents, and anywhere that might create water issues. I used a mix of a few drops of orange oil and beeswax to treat any end grain. The oil was to help soak into endgrain tissue. This should keep the boxes functional far longer and hopefully will cut back on future maintenance. It also allowed me to leave the interior free of anything except for unfinished surface.

All boxes have been weathered for a year and have been installed. While I cut grooves on the inside of the front panels for chick ladders, and installed a ledge, the weathering also helps with roughening the inside but not with the same potential for splinters entering tender chick skin that physical  roughening or rough wood might take.

Photos below of all boxes but specific mention of the American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes is detailed.
BB-birdhouses1.jpeg
Getting ready to make bird houses for six species of birds.
Getting ready to make bird houses for six species of birds.
BB-birdhouses2.jpeg
Rough fittings of bird house panels prior to making mods.
Rough fittings of bird house panels prior to making mods.
BB-birdhouses3.jpeg
The early American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes were as deep as plans specified.
The early American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes were as deep as plans specified.
BB-birdhouses4.jpg
More bird house pre-assembly.
More bird house pre-assembly.
BB-birdhouses5.jpg
Later American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes were made a few inches deeper.
Later American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes were made a few inches deeper.
BB-birdhouses6.jpeg
Early American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes showing general mods.
Early American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes showing general mods.
BB-birdhouses7.jpeg
Later American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes w/mods prior to front-opening design mods.
Later American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl boxes w/mods prior to front-opening design mods.
BB-birdhouses8.jpg
The collection of boxes made. Note the larger boxes have had the front modified to open for cleaning while still providing structure.
The collection of boxes made. Note the larger boxes have had the front modified to open for cleaning while still providing structure.
American-kestrel-yellow-shafted-flicker-Eastern-screech-owlBox.jpg
Early-style American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box.
Early-style American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box.
KestrelFlickerScreechBoxInstall.jpg
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box installed under 3rd floor eave.
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box installed under 3rd floor eave.
KestrelFlickerScreechBoxInstall2.jpg
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box showing poplar shavings on floor & open maintenance door.
American kestrel/yellow-shafted flicker/Eastern screech owl box showing poplar shavings on floor & open maintenance door.
KestrelFlickerScreechBoxInstall3.jpg
One of each style Kestrel-Flicker-Screech Box installed under eave. Both face East.
One of each style Kestrel-Flicker-Screech Box installed under eave. Both face East.
Staff note (gir bot) :

Mike Haasl approved this submission.

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