The Eastern Phoebe is a migratory bird which migrates in March and October, giving it enough time to nest twice during each migratory season. It arrives earlier and leaves later than most migratory songbirds. Eastern Phoebes are flycatchers, approximately the size of a sparrow, with an adult size of about 6-7 inches. They are great birds to attract to help control bugs in your yard and garden. Providing an adequate bird house for nesting is important for conservation purposes. Here are instructions for how to build an appropriate bird house for an Eastern Phoebe as a great DIY project.
Bird House or Nesting Ledge? Know the Nest Preferences
Easter Phoebes are ledge nesters, meaning they prefer shelves formed by overhangs. They are attracted to bridges and buildings with overhangs and ledges that will provide shelter. An Eastern Phoebe generally doesn’t like a man-made bird house or nest box that is enclosed. The Easter Phoebe prefers a ledge or shelf nest that is composed of a roof, a back, bottom, and side walls that are narrow. The front should be completely open.
Eastern Phoebe Nesting Ledge: Find Plans
Check with your local wildlife refuge office, state Department of Natural Resources or your local library for books containing plans for a nesting ledge suitable for an Eastern Phoebe. You can also find plans online for an easy-to-build Eastern Phoebe nesting ledge at 50birds.com.
Eastern Phoebe Nesting Ledge: What You’ll Need
Most materials you will need to build your nesting ledge can be found easily. You may already have everything on hand. What you’ll need: 1×6 cedar or pine lumber – 6-8 feet length, circular saw, carpenter’s pencil, measuring tape or ruler, screw gun/drill, screw bit, 1/16″ and 1/8″ or 1/4″ drill bit, 1 1/2″ wood screws, eye protection, sandpaper (optional).
Eastern Phoebe Nesting Ledge: Measure, Mark and Cut the Wood
Measure the wood to the specifications of the plan you have chosen. Be sure to mark where cuts will need to be made. Cut the wood at the marks you have made. Be sure to allow for the width of the blade when making measurements and cutting in order for pieces to be symmetrical and sized according correctly.
Eastern Phoebe Nesting Ledge: Lay Out the Pieces
Lay out each piece for the nesting shelf. Make sure each piece fits according to the plans. Check to see if there are edges that need to be sanded or trimmed before the pieces are screwed together.
Eastern Phoebe Nesting Ledge: Pre-Drill the Holes
Use the carpenter’s pencil to mark where the holes should be pre-drilled for the screws to fasten the pieces together. Use the 1/16″ drill bit and screw gun to pre-drill all necessary holes, drilling them deep enough to allow the screws to be countersunk.
Eastern Phoebe Nesting Ledge: Put the pieces together
Screw each piece together according to the nest shelf or birdhouse plans. Countersink each screw. Sandy any rough edges or splinters around the screws.
Eastern Phoebe Nesting Ledge: Tips
Use a larger diameter drill bit to drill holes in the bottom of the nest shelf for drainage. Mount the nest shelf or bird house under an overhang or eave on a garage or porch. Mount the shelf or house approximately seven to 12 feet above the ground. Do not mount the nest shelf or bird house in a tree where predators could easily reach it.