In this video, you will learn how to build a letterbox birdhouse, perfectly suited to small birds such as tits.
For more birdhouse projects, take a look at the other videos in the series- there are several to choose from!
This is the most sophisticated in our series of birdhouse videos, but is still perfectly approachable thanks to the simple step-by-step instructions. Why not give it a go for yourself?
Voice-over by volunteer Mollie Keane
Welcoming Biodiversity into your home
How to build a "letterbox" birdhouse
In this video, we will learn how to build a "letterbox" birdhouse. This type of birdhouse is easy to make and is particularly suited to Tits, a common garden species. They will be only too happy to make it their home!
To build a letterbox birdhouse, we will need:
a 2-metre plank of untreated wood, a 3cm x 3cm bracket, some screws or nails, a metal hinge and some copper wire.
We will also need:
a clamp, a tape measure, a pencil, a try square, a saw, a hammer (if you are using nails), a drill with a holesaw attachment, a paintbrush, a ladder and wire cutters.
Measure, cut and assemble the plank so that you have 6 pieces matching your chosen dimensions.
In this example, we will need:
two planks measuring 25cm x 13cm which will make up the sides of the birdhouse,
a plank measuring 13cm x 13cm for the base,
two more planks measuring 17cm x 25cm for the front and back,
a final 25cm x 23cm plank for the roof,
and a bracket with a cross-section measuring 3 cm by 23 centimetres .
Using the drill with the hole-saw bit attached, bore the access hole in the front section of the birdhouse. Be very precise with the dimensions of the hole.
Blue Tits and other small varieties of Tits will fit through a hole with a diameter of 28mm, whereas Great Tits and Nuthatches will need a hole 32mm in diameter.
Now make 4 x 5mm holes in the base of the birdhouse. These will allow water to escape and protect any chicks from drowning in heavy rain!
Fix the sides and then the back and front panels of the birdhouse to the base.
If your wood is particularly thick, pre-drill holes for the screws, as this will stop the wood from splitting.
Next, attach the roof using a metal hinge. This will make it easier to clean out the birdhouse when autumn comes.
Attach the bracket to the middle of the back panel. This will help you to set up the birdhouse more easily.
And that's it, your letterbox birdhouse is ready!
If you want to protect the wood, use ecologically-friendly and natural products such as linseed oil or warm beeswax which should be applied with a paintbrush and only to the exterior of the birdhouse. Paint in the direction of the wood grain for better absorption, Do not paint around the access hole
All that remains is to mount the birdhouse on a tree or on a wall, approximately 2metres and 20cm off the ground.
Use a ladder to fix the birdhouse in place by wrapping the copper wire around the tree trunk and the birdhouse instead of using nails; This way, you can mount it without damaging the tree! Make sure the hole is facing south or southeast, NEVER north or west, because of prevailing winds, rain and cold weather.