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Recycled Bird Houses: Nest Eco

Miles Dalton

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What Are Recycled Bird Houses?

Recycled bird houses are eco-friendly shelters made from reused materials that provide birds with a safe place to nest. They play a vital role in bird conservation by giving our feathered friends a place to live, especially in urban areas where natural habitats have been replaced with buildings and roads. By choosing to use recycled materials, we can reduce waste and create a harmonious living environment for birds that contributes positively to our ecosystem.

Why Choose Recycled Bird Houses?

Selecting recycled bird houses can be a great option for several reasons:

  • Environmental impact: By reusing materials, less waste ends up in landfills. This helps conserve resources and reduces the carbon footprint associated with manufacturing new products.
  • Cost-effective: Since the materials are already available, building birdhouses from recycled items can be more affordable. It makes bird conservation accessible to more people.
  • Educational value: Building a recycled bird house can be a fun and educational project for families and students. It teaches the importance of recycling and wildlife conservation in a hands-on way.
  • Customization: Recycled materials often come in unique shapes and sizes, which means each bird house can be one of a kind. This allows for creativity and personalization in your backyard or garden decor.

Materials for Making Recycled Bird Houses

Almost any durable and weather-resistant material can be used to build a bird house. Some common options include:

Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles are readily available and provide a sturdy structure for a bird house. With a few modifications, they can be turned into safe and durable shelters.

Wood Scraps

If you have leftover wood from other projects or access to reclaimed wood, it’s an excellent material for constructing bird houses. It’s strong, weather-resistant, and provides good insulation for nesting birds.

Metal Cans

Old coffee cans or similar containers can be upcycled into bird houses. They offer a durable and water-resistant option that can be easily mounted on a pole or tree.

Cardboard Tubes

While less durable than other materials, cardboard tubes can be reinforced and weatherproofed to some extent. They can be a good short-term nesting solution.

Old Furniture Pieces

Old drawers, cabinets, and even shower heads can be transformed into whimsical and functional bird houses. These materials often have the added benefit of pre-existing structure, making them easier to convert.

Steps to Build a Recycled Bird House

Following these steps can help you create a bird house using recycled materials:

Gather Materials

Collect the materials you plan to use. Ensure they are clean and free of any hazardous substances that could harm the birds.

Design Your Bird House

Sketch a simple design based on the materials you have. Keep in mind the size requirements for the types of birds you aim to attract.

Prepare the Materials

Cut or shape the materials according to your design. For example, if you are using a plastic bottle, cut an entry hole and drill drainage holes at the bottom.

Assemble and Attach

Put the bird house together using screws, nails, or eco-friendly glue. Make sure everything is securely fastened but avoid using any toxic adhesives.

Finishing Touches

Add any final touches like perches or decorative elements. Make sure they are bird-friendly and won’t cause any harm.

Where To Place Your Recycled Bird House

Location plays a critical role in attracting birds to your bird house. Here’s what to consider:


Bird houses should be mounted at a height safe from ground predators. Generally, a height of 5 to 12 feet is optimal for most small to medium-sized birds.

Sun and Shade

Position the bird house in a spot that receives partial sunlight and shade throughout the day. Too much direct sunlight can make the bird house too hot.


The entrance hole should face away from prevailing winds to protect the nest from rain and cold drafts.


Ensure you can easily reach the bird house for occasional cleaning and maintenance.

Maintenance of Recycled Bird Houses

Regular upkeep is important to keep the bird house inviting and safe:


Clean the bird house at least once a year after the nesting season. Remove old nesting materials and sanitize the interior to prevent the spread of diseases.


Check for any damage or wear that could make the bird house unsafe. Repair or replace components as needed.

Pest Control

Check for pests such as mites and ants. Use non-toxic methods to manage them so as not to endanger the birds.

Benefits of Hosting Birds

Having bird houses in your garden brings several advantages:

Pest Control

Birds naturally feed on insects, helping keep your garden healthy.


Many bird species assist in pollinating garden plants, benefiting the overall ecosystem.


Bird-watching can be a delightful and relaxing activity for all ages.

Contributing to Conservation

Providing safe nesting places helps various bird species survive and thrive, especially when their natural habitats are diminishing.

Tips for Attracting Birds to Your Recycled Bird House

Want more feathered guests? Consider these tips to make your bird house more appealing:

  • Water Sources: Birds need water for drinking and bathing. A birdbath near the bird house can attract more visitors.
  • Food: Install bird feeders with a mix of seeds to attract different bird species.
  • Native Plants: Plant native shrubs and trees that produce berries and seeds to provide a natural food source.
  • Safety: Ensure the bird house is in a safe location, away from predators like domestic cats.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these pitfalls to ensure your bird house is both effective and safe:

  • Incorrect Size: Different bird species require different sizes for entrance holes and interior space. Make sure your bird house matches the needs of your target species.
  • Neglecting Cleaning: A dirty bird house can attract diseases and pests, deterring birds from nesting.
  • Lack of Ventilation: Proper ventilation keeps the bird house cool and prevents the build-up of harmful mold and bacteria.
  • Improper Placement: Placing the bird house in a noisy or heavily trafficked area can scare birds away.

Popular Types of Birds That Use Bird Houses

While many birds might appreciate your efforts, there are a few species that are particularly fond of bird houses:


These vibrant birds prefer open fields and are attracted to bird houses with a 1.5-inch entrance hole.


These small birds like wooded or suburban areas. A 1.25-inch entrance hole works best for them.


Wrens are quite adaptable and will nest in various locations. They prefer bird houses with cavity-like spaces and a 1-inch entrance hole.


Easily navigable in urban or rural settings, sparrows need bird houses with about a 1.75-inch entrance hole.

Getting Children Involved

Engaging kids in building bird houses can be a fantastic way to teach them about nature. You can:

Make It a Family Project

Involving everyone in your family can turn bird house building into a fun and educational activity that instills a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

Creative Arts

Let children decorate the bird houses. You can encourage them to use eco-friendly paints and natural materials like twigs and leaves.

Story Time

Share stories about different bird species and their habitats. Books like “The Burgess Bird Book for Children” by Thornton W. Burgess can add a fun educational touch.

Finishing Thoughts

Recycled bird houses offer a creative way to contribute positively to the environment and bird conservation. They are not just practical but also educational and enjoyable to create. As you build a sanctuary for birds, you’ll be fostering a closer connection to nature for yourself and your family. So why not get started today? Collect those unused items and turn them into a cozy home for our winged friends.

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Miles Dalton

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