Operation Condor – Build a Bird house

build a birdhouse cedar simple

Photo Courtesy the1pony

This is a great project, and I’ve tried to give enough information to get them going on building a bird house but not be so prescriptive as to tell them every step along the way. Again a large part of the goals here at Journey to Men is to get the boys thinking and problem solving. There’s no negative to just trying something out here. So what if your bird house is ugly the birds don’t care. I made just about the ugliest bird house you’ve ever seen when I was a young boy, and my Grandma and Grandpa proudly place that bird house for all to see. I couldn’t have been happier about it.

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Operation Condor – Build a Bird House

build_a_birdhouse_5Your mission is to build a bird house. This bird house should not be for a condor as a condor is actually the largest flying bird in North America also known as a vulture. Operation Condor just sounds cooler than Operation Tufted Titmouse. A bird house is a classic woodworking project and a great place to start. Not to mention you can provide a great place for your winged friends to live and also makes a great item to sell for Operation Kickstart.

EQUIPMENT: Mission notebook, cedar fence boards 1x4x6 and 1x6x6 or similar, miter box, saw, drill, 1 1/2” drill bit, hammer, 6D Galvanized nails, tape measure, pencil and square. Perch material like branch, golf tee or dowel, safety glasses. You can find a complete list and the items we recommend over at our Resources Page.

buid a birdhouse rustic

Photo Courtesy Bruce Berrien


    1. Through out this mission document are example birdhouses that you could model for making your own design. Using your mission notebook draw out your design complete with measurements. If you have a graph paper notebook one square is 1/4” but to make it so that you can draw a scaled down version you can say that each square in real life is 1/2” so if you were to draw a 6”x8” birdhouse it would measure only 3”x4” or 12 squares x 16 squares.Think about the roof design. We have a neat birdhouse made with a car license plate as a roof (maybe ask where you can scrounge one?) it’s picture on the next page. Or you could of course just use the cedar fence boards for the top.You might want to make several drawings showing the sides and then the front to give you different views. Also figure out where the hole for the bird will go and a spot for the perch outside the house.Different size birds need different size holes in their house, a good size for a variety of birds is 1 1/2” in diameter.
    2. Layout and Cut
      Gather your materials and tools. Before you start cutting up your lumber think about laying out your cuts so that you can make the best use of your wood. Now using your tape measure, pencil and a square or ruler mark your first cut and saw the board. If you have access to a miter box that is a very useful tool for cutting nice straight lines. Otherwise take your time, sawing by hand is great exercise. You’ll need to cut your 2 sides, the front, back, bottom and the roof. Do a test fit of all your pieces and saw some more as necessary.
build a bird house

Photo Courtesy Pete Toscano

  1. Drill the opening
    It’s probably easiest at this point to drill the opening for the bird house. Mark a center point and use that for your drilling location. If you have any questions regarding drilling or the safety of drilling, please talk to your C.O. or another parental unit.
  2. Assemble the Bird house
    You might want to measure and mark the locations for your nails for a nice orderly look or just go to it, it’s up to you. Try and keep your nail locations at least an 1” from the edge of a board to minimize splitting of the wood.
  3. Attach the Perch
    The Perch is what the bird stands on before entering the bird house. It should be about an inch below the hole to allow the bird to enter. You can use a branch, a golf tee, even a screw as a perch. Drill a small hole for the branch or other item to go in, you can always whittle a bit away from the branch to stick well into the hole, a touch of glue can help keep it in there.


build a fancy bird house

Photo Courtesy Susanne Nilsson

Be Safe! Tools can be dangerous if used incorrectly. With any form of construction project wearing eye protection is a must, a stray piece of sawdust in your eye can be very unpleasant. Above all use your imagination and have fun!

After Action Report

We’d love to see pictures of completed bird houses, or even bird houses under construction. Leave a comment below!

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