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A few years ago, we fell in love with Bluebirds. Bluebirds will happily nest in a box that any 6th grader can knock together with hammer and nails. However, I just couldn't bring myself to give someone such a rudimentary bluebird house. I decided on an octagon house with a cone-shaped octagon roof.

Many of us can put together an octagon, but a cone taxed my trigonometry skills to the max. A while back, I built a spreadsheet to calculate the compound angles involved in a tapered bucket. That same spreadsheet will calculate a cone if you set the small end diameter to zero.

My Wixey tablesaw angle gauge was just the ticket to accurately set the angle of the taper jig.

The challenges aren't over when you get the pie-shaped pieces cut. I had endless frustration the first time I tried to hold a cone together for gluing. Finally, I saw a video where someone used masking tape to hold pieces together. It worked like a charm. Even my strap clamps wouldn't hold on a cone. So I wrapped the whole thing in a spiral of electrical tape to add some pressure.
 

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That's nice. Just hope the hole is the proper size. I found out some years back that some birds are very particular about the hole size in bird houses. Somewhere there is even a list of what size holes for what birds. Who would have thought?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's nice. Just hope the hole is the proper size. I found out some years back that some birds are very particular about the hole size in bird houses. Somewhere there is even a list of what size holes for what birds. Who would have thought?
Why of course the hole size is right! It's 1 1/2 inches diameter, which is recommended for Eastern Bluebirds. Western Bluebirds are slightly larger, and prefer a 1 9/16 inch hole.
 

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Hi Andy, that is a very nice nest box you've made.Hope you don't mind me poking my nose in with a bit of advice that you already know,but if the birds don't seem to want to live in it you could paint it a more natural colour.We don't have Bluebirds where I live so I cant suggest what would be the best colour but the less conspicuous the better.
Best wishes, James.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Andy, that is a very nice nest box you've made.Hope you don't mind me poking my nose in with a bit of advice that you already know,but if the birds don't seem to want to live in it you could paint it a more natural colour.We don't have Bluebirds where I live so I cant suggest what would be the best colour but the less conspicuous the better.
Best wishes, James.
The experts say you're right. But this new birdhouse is a copy, including the color, of one I have had in my yard for 3 years. We have had 3 to 4 clutches of babies raised in the painted house each year.
 

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Why of course the hole size is right! It's 1 1/2 inches diameter, which is recommended for Eastern Bluebirds. Western Bluebirds are slightly larger, and prefer a 1 9/16 inch hole.
Well, I figured you had it right, just had to check. Really, 1/16" difference? Who checks this kind of stuff? We have southern bluebirds around here, wonder what size hole they would want?
:grin: Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to make that?

What amazes me is that people will pay good money for a birdhouse, then keep it in the house as decoration. Makes a lot more sense to me to put one outside so you can watch the birds.
 

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I'm preaching to the choir here I know, but the houses should have an easily removed bottom, and the houses should be thoroughly cleaned at the end of the nesting season...parasites winter over in the nesting material if you don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, I figured you had it right, just had to check. Really, 1/16" difference? Who checks this kind of stuff? We have southern bluebirds around here, wonder what size hole they would want?
:grin: Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to make that?

What amazes me is that people will pay good money for a birdhouse, then keep it in the house as decoration. Makes a lot more sense to me to put one outside so you can watch the birds.
I believe the Bluebirds of the Carolinas are also Eastern Bluebirds. They would also like a 1 1/2 inch entrance hole, I'm sure.

I built this house in a couple of evenings, probably 3 hours total, not counting the painting. But I had the advantage of already having built one a few years ago. The first one took many experiments and scrap wood. I'm fairly good at spatial relations, but those tapers and compound angles really vexed me at first.
 

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Andy you really could have just nailed something together and made this easy. Provided you were never going to see again of course. That was a clever use of taper jig and inclination gauge. I'm curious if you used a compound cutting angle chart to get the angles. I found one a while back and tried it but it didn't work and there no illustrations to explain the use of the values in the tables so I must have been doing something wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Andy you really could have just nailed something together and made this easy. Provided you were never going to see again of course. That was a clever use of taper jig and inclination gauge. I'm curious if you used a compound cutting angle chart to get the angles. I found one a while back and tried it but it didn't work and there no illustrations to explain the use of the values in the tables so I must have been doing something wrong.
Several years ago, I built this spreadsheet when I was designing a 12 sided bucket with tapered sides. I've used it for several other things, including both the body and roof of the bird house. To make a cone, just set the diameter of the small end to zero.
 

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Thanks for the PDF. I love the birds. I buy 50 lb bags of shelled sunflower seeds and set them out on the ground and in a couple of feeders. We often have 30-50 birds there in the morning. I haven't successfully set up a birdhouse, but I've discovered the little tweeters like to nest on a board set just under the eaves of the house, although they seem to prefer the dense foilage of a line of cedars that lines the property. Hard to imagine the little things are so fussy about the opening, but I guess they don't want some large raven or other larger bird poking their heads into the nest and murdering their brood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the PDF. I love the birds. I buy 50 lb bags of shelled sunflower seeds and set them out on the ground and in a couple of feeders. We often have 30-50 birds there in the morning. I haven't successfully set up a birdhouse, but I've discovered the little tweeters like to nest on a board set just under the eaves of the house, although they seem to prefer the dense foilage of a line of cedars that lines the property. Hard to imagine the little things are so fussy about the opening, but I guess they don't want some large raven or other larger bird poking their heads into the nest and murdering their brood.
Do you have Bluebirds? They'll eat a little peanut suet at certain times of the year, but their favorite food is mealworms. They'll eat dried mealworms,
https://www.amazon.com/F-M-Browns-F...d=1517889204&sr=8-17&keywords=dried+mealworms

but their favorite by far are the juicy live ones.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009VI0QJ...ac9e-8eca2f98c4a4&ie=UTF8&qid=1517889369&sr=1

I buy them 1,000 at a time online. I have a special feeder that only the bluebirds and birds smaller than them can enter. I whistle for them when I put out a handful of live mealworms, and they quickly learned that my whistle means good chow!

We also put out Niger Seed for the Goldfinches when they pass through in January thru March, and Sunflower seeds for everybody else. Oh, and sugar water for the hummingbirds all summer, especially in August and September when they are headed South for the winter. It's a slippery slope, feeding birds is. Who knows what I've spent on them.
 

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regular bird's paradise..
KUDOS...
but what do you do to run off the squirrels...
 

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Thanks Andy. When I tried the other one I found I was trying to make a Pagoda roof shaped top for a small box. I'll have to give this a try when I get a chance to see if it applies.

I was going to mention before that I saw an ingenious way to keep cats and squirrels away from bird feeders the other day. A facebook post showed a feeder on an arm off a steel pole and they had mounted a Slinky hanging from the top of the post. As soon as the squirrel tried to climb the Slinky it lowered the animal back down to the ground relatively gently.
 
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. As soon as the squirrel tried to climb the Slinky it lowered the animal back down to the ground relatively gently.
now if it loaded them into an air powered launcher (think potato gun) or a catapult/trebuchet we'd have something...
 

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now if it loaded them into an air powered launcher (think potato gun) or a catapult/trebuchet we'd have something...
I can fly, I can fly, I can fly.
This is one of my favorites.
 
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