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How to Select The Perfect Decorative Bird House Material for your Birdhouse

Feb 27, 2008
If you have gone to your local pet store, you would have discovered that there really are a lot of different decorative bird house designs made up of a similarly dizzyingly variety of materials ranging from metal to colorful plastics to wood. However, if you would like to build your own birdhouse instead of buying a ready-made one, the best material to choose to construct your birdhouse is wood because it is easy to cut, it has naturally attractive designs, it is weather-proof and most importantly it doesn't stand out like a sore thumb in the middle of your backyard.

Let's dwell a little on the properties of wood as a material for your decorative bird house construction.

First, wood has good insulating properties. Choose wood that is at least three quarter inches thick to maximize its insulation benefits so that your nesting birds will be nesting in a comfortable temperature in your birdhouse.

Second, although wood is naturally durable, some woods are better then others at resisting decay. Since your birdhouse will be going through rain and shine everyday, you should pick a wood that is more decay resistant so that it will be longer lasting. Ideal material choices for wooden bird house will be cedar, redwood or bald cypress.

If you have an existing birdhouse that is made up of pine or plywood, you can coat it with a water-based exterior latex paint. Be sure to only coat the exterior of the birdhouse and not the interior or the birdhouse entrance. Usually, coating the exterior with a dull, earth-tone color will be sufficient to keep the boards from rotting.

Why do we recommend painting the birdhouse exterior with a dull, earth-tone color ? Well, a earth-tone color will not absorb heat as much as a darker or more striking color. Different colors absorbs different amounts of heat. Darker colors tend to absorb more heat and as a result, it becomes warmer. Light, earth-tone colors reflect more light and so the surface feels cooler. Another reason why we recommend painting your birdhouse a dull, earth-tone color because it is less likely to attract predators to your birdhouse.

Regardless of the colors that you chose for your birdhouse, you should never use paints that contain lead or use any harmful chemicals like varnish on the wood surfaces of the birdhouse. Wood surfaces, due to their inherent properties, will tend to break down and chip off after being exposed to the natural weather elements. If the birds accidentally ingest one of the wood chips that is covered with toxic paints or have been treated with harmful chemicals, the bird may die of poisoning. If you do need to treat the wood, use non-petroleum based, naturally occuring oils like linseed oil. Petroleum based liquids tend to stick on the bird's feathers, causing them to be wet and sticky and as a result, it will make it very difficult for the birds to make a quick escape when a predator is near.

Next, to put everything together, you can either glue the wood pieces together or you can nail them together. If you want the birdhouse to last longer, glue the wood pieces first then nail them. However, one thing to note is that, none of your nails should not be sticking out. Nails exposed to the rain will gradually become rusty. When birds accidentally cut themselves on the exposed nail, it will be seriously injured. Moreover, when humans accidentally get cut by the nails, they may also get an infection from the rust.

For the interior of the birdhouse, you should consider placing some rough sawn wood to act as a "ladder" to make it easier for the nesting birds to get in and out of your birdhouse. Most birdhouse are quite small in size and since wood has a smooth texture, sometimes it is hard for the birds to get out of the birdhouse. You can also consider making small notches on the inside of the front face of the birdhouse which can also make the birdhouse more bird-friendly.
About the Author
Alvin is a avid bird watcher and likes to help people Build Bird houses or Buy Birdhouses . His website also include tips on maintaining decorative birdhouses .
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