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Download the complete Adobe Acrobat icon Nestbox Plans (208 Kb) - This is a two-page PDF document with plans to design your nestbox. The 2nd page is how to optimally cut 3-ft 1x12 TBS-Friendly lumber.

NOTE: TBS-Friendly is simply a TBS designation for preferred woods that meet the requirements described in the link above.

Our nestboxes are designed to meet the demands of the Texas environment. The design plans are sized for Eastern Bluebirds and will accommodate other small cavity nesters.

White pine, cedar and cypress have proven to be TBS-Friendly lumber that is durable in the hostile Texas environment and easy to work with. But other material can be used as long as it is NOT resinous and NOT chemically treated to repel insects or resist decay. (Wolmanized is the most common of these chemical treatments that should NOT be used.) All of the nestboxes can include the insulating 2nd roof, which is shown on the Heatshields tab above. This additional roof provides insulation from the severe Texas summer heat and provides additional protection from rain as well.

See the Nestbox Features tab for a description of a nestbox, built from standard 1x12 TBS-Friendly Lumber. The builder must have access to a table saw because the 1x12 lumber must be ripped lengthwise.


Feature Why
Built of 3/4" or thicker material Greater insulation from summer heat and greater durability
Ventilation slots (or holes Air movement / cooling for summer heat (On a typical nestbox a 1-1/2" slot at the top of each side provides 4-1/2 square inches, as much area for air movement as ten 3/4" holes.)
Entrance hole 1-1/2" diameter Hole size excludes large winged competitors / predators
Entrance hole smooth Rough, jagged hole damages feathers
Exterior - if painted, light color Light color better for heat. Painting really unnecessary and may attract vandals
Interior - no paint or stain Some paints or stains can give off toxic fumes
No "perch" below entrance hole Bluebirds don't need perch - perch improves predator access
Floor has drainage holes/cut out corners Must be well-drained to keep nest from staying wet
Mounted on smooth pipe/conduit Slick metal post makes it more difficult for predators to climb
Roof overhangs on all sides Overhang creates shade and protects from rain
Shaded from intense summer sun A source of shade, natural or artificial, can reduce nestbox temperature
Depth of nestbox 5-1/2 to 8 inches Shallow nestboxes are more accessible to predators. (Depth is measured bottom of entrance hole to top of floor.)
Mounting hardware for House Sparrow trap Allows for quick installation of trap
Predator baffle Where climbing predators are a concern, a baffle keeps most predators from being able to reach nestbox

HeatShield Plans. - This is a one-page document with plans for adding a HeatShield to a nestbox.

An easy way to protect you nestbox is to use the Kingston Stovepipe Predator Baffle. It makes difficult for predators (including snakes) to reach the nestbox. Adobe Acrobat iconDownload a plan and build it yourself.