House sparrows are friendly birds who like to nest in colonies. Because modern roofs are not sparrow friendly, we need to provide them with groups of nest boxes so that they will nest. You can make your own sparrow terrace by following this guide, or you can buy them. Remember that if there are not house sparrows within about 2km of you, the nest box is unlikely to be occupied by sparrows, although other birds might use it.
House sparrows start looking for nests in the winter, so put up your nest box by October if you can.
You will need:
Plank of wood - 150mm (6") x 19mm(1") x 2.7 metres untreated soft timber
Fretsaw or 32mm large drill bit (for the hole)
Galvanised nails or outdoor screws
Small brass hinge
Solid work surface or bench
1) Using the diagram (above/below) mark and cut out.
2) Take the front piece (A) and measuring from the bottom cut holes at 115, 255mm and 400mm.
3) Nail or screw the back and sides together and then starting at the base fix inserts(C) with a 120mm gap between each level.
4) Fit the roof so that it is flush at the back with an overhang at the front.
5) Secure the front with a hinge at the bottom and 2 nails and wire at the top
6) Fix the 'off cut' to the back of the box and drill four holes through it to help you secure the box to your house.
Ideally fasten the box close to the eaves of the house or at least 3 metres above ground level. This would be the birds' natural choice of location. Try and use a direction between north and east to avoid strong sunlight.
Locating the box
- To keep your sparrows warm in the morning and cool during the day find a place that faces east to site your box
- Sparrow boxes must be at least 3m above ground, under the eaves of roofs is best
- Make sure it is away from branches or overhangs that cats and other predators could use
- Make sure sparrows have a clear flight path in and out of the box
- Locate the box where you want it and mark on the wall where the fixings need to go to support the hanging supports
- Drill a hole and fit wall plugs in to the wall
- Screw the box to the wall using the hanging supports
You can paint or decorate you next box - send us pictures of your efforts. And be patient - the birds make take some time to arrive!