Woodpecker cave building: free building instructions for a woodpecker nesting box

Poplar boards are easily available in hardware stores or wood shops. They also cost relatively little.

Hint: The boards should not be planed smoothly. On an unplaned, rough surface the birds find a better hold namely.

  • two metal hinges to be able to open the lid later on
  • Material to seal the roof such as sheet zinc or tar paper
  • a hook and an eye, in order to be able to close the nesting box later surely
  • non-rusting, galvanized nails or brass screws to join the individual parts together


  • Tape measure, pencil and angle to mark the correct cuts on the components
  • a jigsaw or a foxtail for the blanks
  • Hammer, screwdriver and pincers
  • Drill with hole saw attachment to be able to saw out the entrance hole


  • inner width: 150 millimeters
  • inner height: 280 millimeters
  • inner depth: 150 millimeters
  • Diameter of entrance hole: 45 to 50 millimeters

Building instructions


Woodpecker cave building instructions

The first step is to cut the purchased boards to the right size. For this to succeed, the dimensions should be marked beforehand. It should be noted that the back should be slightly higher than the front to ensure a roof slope later on. This also means that the two side parts at the top need an appropriate slope from back to front. How much the slope is relatively unimportant and is up to each individual. Just make sure that water can drain away. The slopes themselves are best marked with an angle measure. When marking and also when cutting, one should proceed as carefully as possible, in order to get accurately fitting individual parts. Accuracy of fit guarantees that the finished nesting box is really tight.

Cut entrance hole


The two side parts and the front part are first nailed or alternatively screwed to the base plate. Then the three parts must be completely nailed together.

The next step is to attach the tar paper or zinc sheet to the roof with nails or screws.

Variant A

Screw the back to fit into the woodpecker cavity.

The hinges are either attached to the back or to the side parts directly next to the back panel. Now put the hinges in place to screw the roof in place.

Variant B

Before inserting the back side into the construction, screw the two hinges on the front side respectively. the side parts next to the front wall.

Then the back is inserted exactly into the opening and fixed at the top with two nails left and right. The nails serve as a kind of axis, with the help of which the side can be unfolded. In the lower area you also attach an eyelet. The back can then be secured with a hook on the base plate.

Finally, only the roof must then be screwed with the two hinges.

Under normal circumstances, the assembly of such a nesting box does not take long. A construction time of about one hour should be quite sufficient. However, if in doubt, it would be a good idea to take a little more time. Care clearly takes precedence over speed, even when building nest boxes. The birds will thank you later.


Building a woodpecker cave - free tutorial

A nesting box for woodpeckers will usually be attached to a tree. The easiest way to do this is to nail a strip to the back of the roof, protruding to the left and right. A fastening wire is attached to both sides of the strip, which must of course be routed around the building trunk beforehand. It is best to clamp an old, sturdy plastic tube between the wire and the bark to prevent injury to the tree. Then the wire is tightened until the nest box is stable. Under no circumstances should the box be nailed directly to the tree. It is important that the entrance hole is located on the side away from the wind. The box should also be placed so that it cannot be reached by nest predators and especially cats. The best time to hang the box is in the fall, so that the birds can find shelter in it during the winter.

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