Making Bird Nest Boxes from Recycled Materials.

A very easy method of recycled wire mesh makes an ideal bird nesting box for all types of garden birds, mainly the tits, wrens, flycatchers and robins, to name but a few. If you have or find a piece of old mesh large enough to go round a large coffee jar at least 3 times and about 1 foot in depth is ideal. Fold the wire in half then stuff with leaves and straw to make a sandwich, or use up last years moss from the hanging baskets, when filled with about an inch thickness of materials tie or secure the edges all round so the material does not escape. Roll into a tube shape and secure with either wire or plastic ties. Close off one end and secure with ties, you can now place this in a tree or bush, along the underside of a branch, in a hole in a wall or under the eaves of a shed or out building secured by plastic ties. With practice the open end can be twisted and shaped to suit several species, open ended for robins etc and closed to a small entrance hole for wrens and tits. As all the materials are recycled it costs nothing but your time and when in position is well camouflaged as the materials are all natural. I have had lots of success with this type of nest box, hope you do too.


  • AliPAliP Posts: 64

    This is a great idea and I will definitely be having a go.  Do you mind if I share the idea on my blog , I'll take some pics of my attempts! Thanks

  • What a great idea, Malcar. Do you have a photo you could share with us?

    Gardeners' World team

  • MalcarMalcar Posts: 9
    Hi AliP and Kate Bradbury, I'm afraid I don't have any photos to share, to be honest it has been a couple of years since I last made one of these nest sites, but I have made lots over the years and almost every one was used. Be my guest to share with anyone you think will find it useful AliP. Sorry for late reply have been away. I'll see if I can find some old netting and make one to photograph. Malcar.
  • AliPAliP Posts: 64

    Hi Malcar, I've finally got round to blogging about this.  Take a look at the pics and see what you think...... have I done it right??  Thanks for the idea and I really enjoyed making it and will definitely be making more.

  • I am interested in the mesh nestboxes; could you tell me what kinds of birds have used them?  Where did you locate them?  I have contacted the British Trust for Ornighology and they have not come across them before and weren't sure if they woudl be attractive to birds, so I would be interested to know more about how succewssful you have found them.  Thanks

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,113

    Fiona, have a look at the opening post of this thread. Mal tells all!

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hi Fiona,  Just seen your post.  When I had an allotment I used these under the eves of my garden shed as it was in a quiet corner of the garden and it attracted Robins on a regular basis.  I have also used them in woods and hedgerows along bridal pathways etc, these attracted Robins, Wrens, Blue Tits and Flycatchers in the main.  There are two types you could try; First as outlined above, in my 19/03/12 post.  Secondly; If you are more of a DIY handy person, you could take the most basic version which is two pieces of wood approx 7x5 HxW and 5x5 HxW, these will make your back and front of the nest box for an open fronted type, or you could use two 7x5 pieces of wood and drill an appropriate sized hole in one as an entrance.  This next part, for the mesh, leaves, hay, Bracken, moss etc, is made as above, but you only need a narrow piece of mesh, about 7 or 8 inches wide at the most when all made up.  Nail, screw or staple the mesh all around one of the 7x5 pieces of wood, (preferably the back) you should now have what looks like a plant trough when laid on it's back.  To fit the front, simply insert the smaller 5x5 piece of wood at one end and secure with nail, screw or staple. I prefer to set the front about one inch inside the edge of the mesh, once secured I bend in the mesh a little and provide a drip eve to the roof area, a stick can also be used across the front as a landing perch if you like but it is not necessary.  You could use a square piece of wood as a floor if you are short on wire, however, you can use two or three sections of wire if you don't have one long piece, it's all mix and match, to use up any old piece of wood, wire and recycled hanging basket lining etc to give your birds a secure camouflaged home.  Hope this has been of some help.  Malcolm.    

  • Thanks - we have made a couple so will try them out this spring!

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