9 Best Wood for a Birdhouse — Build Birdhouses With Wood!

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Making birdhouses is a great way to attract birds to your yard or garden and provide them with a safe and secure place to nest. However, not all woods are created equal when building bird houses. 

In this article, we’ll explore the best wood for birdhouses and discuss the properties that make them ideal, guided by our wood experts. 

Which Wood Makes the Best Birdhouses?

#1: Cedar

Red Cedar lumber

Cedar is excellent for making bird houses. It is durable, weather-resistant, and naturally resistant to decay and insects, making it an ideal choice for outdoor birdhouses. Cedar wood also has a pleasant scent, which can help to repel insects and attract birds.

Additionally, Cedar is easy to work with and can be sanded, painted, or left natural. It also will not expand or shrink when exposed to extreme weather conditions.

However, it’s important to note that Cedar can be expensive compared to other types of wood, so there may be better choices for someone on a tight budget, but it is one of the best wood to use.

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#2: Redwood


Redwood is also one of the best woods for birdhouses. Redwood is naturally durable and rot-resistant like Cedar, making it a perfect choice for outdoor birdhouses. Redwood is also lightweight, easy to work with, and has an attractive color and texture.

One advantage of Redwood trees over Cedar is that it is more affordable while offering many of the same benefits. However, Redwood is not quite as insect-resistant as Cedar, so it may be necessary to treat the lumber with an insect repellent to protect the bird house from pests.

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#3: Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir wood

Among the most widely used species of wood for outdoor structures is Douglas fir. Reasons for this include its durability and resistance to the elements.

An added advantage is that this lumber is resistant to decay-causing fungi and other microorganisms. Additionally, Fir exhibits a distinct contraction pattern compared to Beechwood.

If you will utilize Douglas fir for your birdhouse, get the untreated variety. Birds might not be able to tolerate chemically treated Fir.

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#4: Pine

tung oil on pine wood finishes

Pine is a great low-cost option for any woodworking project. It’s cheap and convenient to obtain. But that doesn’t mean that its quality could be better.

If this is your first time dealing with wood, you’ll like the softwood’s manageability. Most pine tree grains are also beautiful and easy to deal with.

Pine wood is highly resistant to dampness, making it suitable for use outdoors. It retains its shape and size well, regardless of humidity or temperature.

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#5: Cypress


Cypress wood is known for its durability, resistance to decay, and ability to withstand moisture, making it an excellent choice for outdoor applications such as birdhouses.

Additionally, cypress wood is naturally insect-resistant, which is a desirable quality for birdhouses, as insects can harm both the birds and the structure of the bird house itself.

One potential drawback of using cypress wood for birdhouses is that it can be more expensive than other types of wood. Still, many people feel that the added durability and resistance to decay make it worth the extra cost. 

If you choose to use cypress for building birdhouses, it’s essential to ensure it is sustainably sourced, as cypress forests are vulnerable to over-harvesting.

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#6: Teak

Teak slabs

Teak is a great choice for building birdhouses. Teak is a durable, long-lasting hardwood resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. It is also weather-resistant and can withstand exposure to the elements, making it ideal for a nest box or outdoor use.

Additionally, teak wood has a beautiful, natural color and grain pattern that can add to the aesthetic appeal of a birdhouse.

Teak wood is an excellent choice for a birdhouse project that will last years and provide your feathered friends with a safe and comfortable home.

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#7: Plywood

stacking plywood

Plywood comes in several different varieties, each with its strengths and weaknesses. But, the ideal plywood for building bird houses is exterior plywood or phenolic resin glue plywood.

This variety’s resin coating accounts for many of its advantageous features. Among these characteristics are robustness and resilience to the elements.

It also has a reputation for having a silky finish, which enhances the aesthetic value of the final product. However, exterior-grade plywood can be challenging to carve; it is only suitable for many Do-It-Yourself tasks.

Plywood is non-toxic and can be used in areas with children and pets. It is available in a wide variety of colors, allowing you to choose one that complements the scheme of your garden.

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#8: Oak

Oak grain pattern

Oak is a hardwood known for its strength and durability and is also resistant to rot and insect damage. It is also a dense wood, which can provide insulation and protection for birds in cold or wet weather. 

Oak is also a beautiful choice with a distinctive grain pattern that can add aesthetic appeal to a bird house. However, it is essential to note that some oak species, such as red oak, can contain high tannins, which may be toxic to birds.

Therefore, if you choose to use oak for a birdhouse, it is essential to make sure it is from a species that is safe for birds and that it is properly treated and sealed to prevent any potential harm.

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#9: Beech

American Beech Wood

Beech ranges in color from pink to reddish brown. The texture is rather rough, with pronounced rays and minute pores. The clean lines of the grain make it feel modern, perfect for making birdhouses. 

It has a high-crush strength and is a complex, moderately hefty hardwood. Yet it’s only somewhat stiff, so it’s not difficult to carve. It can be worked with power tools, hand tools, nails, and glues. You may also stain and polish it with excellent results.

Beechwood’s non-toxicity and low cost are also notable features. Since it does not change the flavor or color of food, it is widely used in food storage containers and has a “food safe” rating. It’s much less expensive than hardwoods like oak, walnut, and cherry.

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Can You Use Pressure-Treated Wood for a Birdhouse?

Using pressure-treated wood for your birdhouse project or other types of woodworking projects where it will come into contact with animals is not recommended. CCA-treated wood is another name for pressure-treated lumber, a type of wood has improved decay resistance.

bird feeder made from Cedar wood

Pressure-treated wood’s side effects are rashes, itching, and neurological issues, so humans and other creatures like birds are at risk. 

The same logic holds for various types of chemically treated wood. For example, creosote-treated timber and lumber that have been painted with lead-based paints, for instance, pose health risks to birds.

Good Birdhouse Qualities: Tips to Consider

Opt for a Specific Bird

Aside from opting for the best wood for a birdhouse, choosing a specific bird is essential because bird species have different requirements for their nesting sites’ size, shape, and placement.

Utilize the Right Materials (Wood is Best)

Wood is the most excellent material for birdhouses because it provides an environment similar to what the birds would find in the wild. Nevertheless, you should avoid untreated wood and plywood.

Proper Ventilation, Roof Overhang, and Floor

Drill at least two 5/8″ diameter ventilation holes into the upper part of every side to prevent the birdhouse from overheating. Keeping the rain out of the birdhouse is as simple as making an overhang for the entrance and making sure the walls reach down to surround the floor to keep birds warm inside.


Spacing Birdhouses

To avoid territorial disputes, put up your birdhouses at a minimum of 20 feet away from one another. Wildfowl and purple martins are the only birds that don’t have territorial difficulties.

Warm and Dry Birdhouses

The bird house must have a ventilation track for air circulation. Ensure the bottom has some holes to drain any excess water during the rainy season so the bird can stay warm and dry.

Ease of Cleaning/Maintenance

To prevent the transmission of ovarian diseases, proper maintenance is required. You should clean and disinfect the birdhouses once per nesting season.

Build the Right Birdhouse Size and Hole Entrance

Get specific measurements for the bird house and the entrance hole based on the species of bird you’re trying to attract. For instance, sparrows require a birdhouse hole between 1 and 1 1/4 inches in diameter.

Build a Strong Foundation

Your own birdhouse should be fastened to a stationary object or fixed point like a post or tree. To prevent insect attacks, you can suspend nest boxes in midair or apply grease on the post.

building a birdhouse

Avoid Perches and Consider the Finish

You shouldn’t put perches on birdhouses because they attract predators like ravens, jays, and crows. You can decorate the exteriors of the birdhouse however you choose; though birds prefer natural nests, you shouldn’t paint the interiors even if it’s a thin coat.

What’s the Ideal Wood For Making Bird Nesting Boxes?

Cedar is the preferred material for birdhouses. It’s a good wood with the ability to insulate heat means nests can be cozy even in winter. Also, cedar is long-lasting and inexpensive.

How Can You Make Birdhouses Waterproof?

After a birdhouse’s paint has cured, sealing it against the elements is as simple as giving it another coat. A light coating of raw, legally obtained oil is ideal for sealing. Remember that it may take a few weeks to dry.

What Birdhouse Color Attracts Birds The Most?

Most birds will flock to a blue, silver, or green birdhouse. Use blue or green stains to attract birds while finishing your birdhouses.

What’s the Ideal Thickness of Your Birdhouse Wood?

The ideal thickness for a birdhouse is 3/4 inches. Avoid choosing a birdhouse that is too flimsy, as the buildup of heat inside can be dangerous for young birds.

various shapes of birdhouses

Should You Use Screws Or Nails For Birdhouse?

Like many woodworking projects, nails, galvanized screws, acres, and power tools can be used to construct a birdhouse. Ensure all your screws, nails, and hammer are in good condition and freshly sharpened.

Top 3 Reasons to Build Birdhouses

Wildlife Conservation

Significantly birds, screech owls, tree swallows, eastern bluebirds, and other animals will always value tree cavities. Many birds, for instance, have nowhere to nest because their natural habitat has been destroyed by human activity like logging or regular wildfires. 

In these cases, a homeless bird can find safety in a bird box.

Weed and Pest Control

Birds provide natural pest control by eating insects that could damage your garden [1] or outdoor space.

Good for Mental Well-being

There aren’t many better natural treatments than spending time with birds, whether just watching them flit about your yard or going out of your way to interact with them.

White birdhouse

Where to Source Your Wood?

Locating a nearby lumber yard is your best bet for acquiring wood. They usually have a decent selection of recently cut timber available.

Taking the time to explore your alternatives can also help you find the ideal lumber for your needs.

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After researching and testing various types of wood and their properties, we hail cedar as the best wood for a birdhouse. Cedar is durable, resistant to rotting, and naturally resistant to insects and decay. 

Avoid reclaimed or salvaged wood, which may contain harmful chemicals or toxins. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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