Lycée St Joseph - Daniel Brottier, Normandie

Let's build a birdhouse


This article has been written in the framework of the Ecojobs project from the Leonardo programme that our college has partcipated in In the framwork of agricultural production (market gardens, vegetable patches, fruit production) it's imperative to encourage auxiliaries, which help to maintain a healthy balance between plants and predators and, especially, birds Many species can be found living in different cavities that are of a great help to the average gardener. As hollow trees are becoming rarer and rarer, it's important to create spaces for birds to nest in, hence the need to build birdhouses. Do you know that an average couple of blue tits need at least 10 000 insects in order to produce off-spring over a period of only 3-4 weeks ?

The rules to follow in order to carry out the project

- One needs a good birdhouse model: the size of the front opening needs to suit the bird one wants to attract Let's be very precise; it's better to use un-treated thick, raw wood (22-27mm). Avoid plywood because it would deteriorate in wet conditions.
- Don't paint the birdhouse, especially in bright colours.
- Fix the birdhouse to a tree and try not to damage the tree. Birdhouses can also be placed on a wall, as long as there are trees in the viscinity.
- Find a suitable setting, ideally the front of the birdhouse should be sun-facing and out sheltered from the rain.
- Watch out for predators such as cats. The birdhouse needs to be atleast 2 metres above ground and suspunded ( not just hanging from a branch).
- Birds rarely come in directly, and they don't need bars at the entrance.
- Place your birdhouse outside early in the year, at the end of winter and that will improve your success rate
- Don't disturb your birdhouse, otherwise the parents might abandon their off-spring
- Clean your birdhouse every year by removing waste at the end of the season and checking its general state of repair


Diamètre du trou d’envol

En nichoir, il (elle) est :

Où poser le nichoir ?

Mésange bleue

Parus caeruleus

27 – 28 mm


Vergers, bois, jardin : partout

Mésange noire

Parus ater


Dans les bois résineux (épicéas, pins, sapins) ou à proximité

Mésange huppée

Parus cristatus


Mésange nonnette

Parus palustris

Assez rare

Vergers, bois. Pas trop près des maisons

Mésange charbonnière

Parus major

32 – 34 mm

Très commune

Partout, y compris près des maisons

Rouge-queue à front-blanc

Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Trou ovale 34 sur 32 mm

Assez rare

Vergers, parcs boisés, jardins (près des maisons)


Sitta europaea

34 mm

Assez rare

Bois, vergers

What type of bird and for which birdhouse ?

Tastes and needs vary from one species to another, hence the large number of models
Our particular interest is with tits as they adapt well to both letter box-style and log-style birdhouses

Letter box-style birdhouses



The reason they have this name is because they look like a box. Sometimes tits even nest in real letter boxes ! This birdhouse is easy to make using planks (fir, Picea sitchensis ) that are ebout 22-27 mm thick

Here is what you need :
1. pen
2. ruler
3. saw
4. Hammer
5. Piece of leather
6. Copper wire

VIDEO here

Log-style birdhouse

This style of house is more attractive although to make it one needs to use a chain-saw. If you don't have a chain-saw the you might be able to find a hollow tree trunk after a tree has just been cut down. Use a small piece of wood for the base and another for the roof. Ths size of hole one chooses will of course depend on the species of bird one wants to attract Feel free to watch this slide-show to learn more about making a birdhouse

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Pour aller plus loin

Voici une liste d’ouvrages ou de sites qui vous permettra de confectionner de nombreux autres types de nichoirs :

En français :


  • - LA GAZETTE DES TERRIERS, Cahier technique n°106, Club CPN,  Tel :

  • - Journal LA HULOTTE n°10, , Tel

  • - NICHOIRS et CIE, Bernard BERTRAND, Edition de TERRAN

  • -

  • - NICHOIRS, 99 modèles à construire soi-même, Claude LARGIN, Edition ARTEMIS

  • - Pour planter des arbres ou acheter un nichoir :


Pour nos amis anglophones :

L'institut St Joseph, c'est aussi :
  • Collège St Joseph

    Une pédagogie différenciée en fonction du niveau et du rythme de chaque élève

  • château de mesnières

    Le Château de Mesnières

    Un cadre exceptionnel pour les études mais aussi pour vos réceptions, mariage, etc

  • restaurant d'applivation

    Restaurant pédagogique

    L'école d'hôtellerie-restauration vous ouvre son restaurant. Réservez votre table !

  • serres

    Les Serres

    Du 1er mai au 30 juin, nos élèves de la section horticole vous accueillent pour nos ventes de fleurs et fournir votre potager

  • Ecole Saint Jacques

    Située au coeur de la Ville de Neufchâtel-en-Bray, l'Ecole maternelle et primaire St Jacques accueille près de 100 élèves. La structure est composée d'une section maternelle et de trois classes primaires.