Monday, April 13, 2009

DIY Chickadee Nest Tube, Part 2


The above photo is of a Carolina Chickadee taken with my Wingscapes BirdCam. They're fun little birds to watch. I've had a pair in my backyard for most of the winter. According to the Cornell Lab - All About Birds website, the pair bond between a male and female Carolina Chickadee can remain intact for many years. The probability that a pair will remain together seems to vary among regional populations.

You may remember my post from a month or so ago on making your own chickadee nest tube. I'm not the construction type, but I found the instructions fairly easy to follow and in one Saturday afternoon I had it built, painted and mounted in place. I've laid out some of my steps below. Refer to the plan for the complete details. Keep in mind that there's always more than one way to do something. I did what worked best for me with the tools that I had on hand.

Here are the two main items needed - a 10' section of pvc pipe (4" diameter) and a 6' fence Post (I believe these are called T-fence post). Keep in mind that this is the thin walled pvc pipe with the flared edge on one end, as opposed to the thicker straight, slightly more expensive pvc pipe. If you can find some recycled scrap pieces then all the better.


The 10' section of pvc requires two cuts in accordance with the plans. Once my cuts were marked, I used a standard hacksaw to cut the pipe. It's easier to make a straight cut if you twist the pipe as you cut.


The entrance hole should be 1-1/8 inch in diameter. I happened to have a paddle drill bit that same exact size. These drill bits are not the best choice to use on this type of material. There made for drilling into wood; however, since this is what I had I made it work. First mark the the center of where the hole is to be drilled out and drilled a pilot hole. I then inserted the center of the paddle drill bit in the pilot hole and ran my drill back and forth until it broke through. It didn't make the prettiest circle but I'm sure the chickadees wont mind. Just be sure to use a file or sandpaper to remove any sharp loose pieces.


I had a some scrape 1/2" thick cedar wood that I used to make a round plug (using my jig saw) for the bottom floor of the house. I inserted the plug and used screws to secure it in place as shown below. If you decide to use screws as I did be sure to insert the bottom plug high enough into the tube so that when the coupling is inserted it doesn't interfere with the outside heads of the screws.


Once all cut and put together I spay painted the tube with a coat of brown paint first. Once that had dried I spray painted another coat on top of that using a dark green color. Don't spend too much time painting the tube. I did both coats fast and somewhat uneven to give it a more natural look that will blend in better with the surrounding landscape.

I then hammered the fence post into the ground keeping it as level as possible. I then attached it to the pvc using 2" exterior screws. The fence post already comes with pre-drilled holes so that's where I drilled my screws.


Below is the bottom section installed on the fence post. All that's left is to slip on the top half.


Here is the complete assembly (below). Hopefully the small shrubs planted around it will grow taller within the next couple of years and help it to blend in better.


Chickadees like to excavate their own nest so before putting the top cap on be sure to fill the cavity with wood shavings.


Like I mentioned earlier, this was a fun, easy project that I did in one afternoon. Total price of this project was about $25.00. I'll be sure to follow up when or if a chickadee pair decide to make it their home.

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Larry Jordan said...

Nice shot of the Chickadee Alan and thanks for the nest building plan too. We have Mountain Chickadees here which would use this nest tube. I will add it to my nestbox plans in case some of my readers may want to use it.

Dave said...

Great idea! We have several chickadees that would love that condo around here.

Kelly said... for posting. I'm sending it to my hubby right now so he can help us make it. I have the plans you posted earlier, but seeing the photos makes it so much more accessible. Great idea!

Dawn Fine said...

great project Alan, Hope the chickadees come soon.

Bob Kaufman said...

What a cool idea! And great shot of teh chickadee. We finally saw our first Carolina Chickadee in Florida last week.

Wisconsin Birder said...

Love the idea of nesting Chickadees - we have the black capped variety here. Great job on the nest tube - let me know when you start production and I'll buy one from you! :)