Robin Birdhouse: The Best Type & How to Build One

robin birdhouse
Unlike other common songbirds, robins prefer a nesting shelf with an open front that allows them easy access and protection from the elements. Opt for good-quality cedar wood, and affix it to the eaves of your house or other high ledges that are safe from predators. 

Do you want to give your local Robin’s a safe place to live this nesting season? Even if you aren’t a skilled carpenter, DIY wooden birdhouses are easy to make and offer safe places for an entire season of active bird watching! And if you aren’t big on DIY, there are also some great suggestions on where to buy one below!

Since robins aren’t cavity-dwelling birds, they prefer simple nesting shelves or an open-front designed for larger birds. Building a DIY Robin birdhouse is easy and a great way to help American Robins this nesting season!

Will A Robin Use A Birdhouse?

Robins will not use a traditional birdhouse with a small entrance hole because these are reserved for cavity-dwelling birds such as Chickadees, Blue Tits, Swallows, Finches, and Wrens.

However, opting for a nesting shelf instead of a birdhouse will attract robins to your backyard space. These nesting shelves or boxes can be custom built or purchased online, robins just prefer that they have open space to get in and out.

Be aware, however, that nesting shelves or boxes aren’t exclusive to the American robin. Other nesting shelves and box birds, such as Mourning Doves, Phoebes, Blue Jays, and Barn Swallows, will also take notice and possibly take residence of your stellar nesting box.

open robin birdhouse

What’s the Best Birdhouse for a Robin?

Open birdhouses, also known as nesting boxes made from cedar wood will usually attract robins. You can play around with a colorful poly lumber roof, to see if it will also attract your local robin population.

A rook made from poly lumbar will be easy to clean every season for your next robin guest, not to mention these decorative birdhouses are a great way to add a little style to your backyard garden.

Not very skilled in woodworking? No worries! Investing in a Robin Nesting Shelf is generally affordable, and they are made with Robins in mind. The JCS Wildlife Modern Style Cedar Robin Roost checks all of the boxes, if you are looking to purchase one.

The best part of investing in a nesting shelf rather than making one of your own is that you know that all of the dimensions are designed perfectly for backyard robins, and it also comes with pre-drilled holes that make it super easy to hang.

It costs a little bit more than making your own, but it saves you time and ensures that it is something built to last.

Alternatively, you can build one yourself and it is actually a fun project to take on with children. If you are interested in building a robin nesting box, follow the instructions below to get started.

In the video below, we rounded up 10 little known facts about Robins!

Tips on Building a DIY Robin Birdhouse

Making a robin birdhouse requires wood, nails, and Gorilla Glue. That’s it! You don’t have to be an expert carpenter to build a DIY Robin birdhouse.

As long as you know the specific measurements Robins requires, it’s a project you can whip out in an afternoon. Check out some tips to ensure your nesting box is up to robin code.

Make sure that it is the right size – The shelf’s base needs to measure exactly 7 inches long and 8 inches wide.

These dimensions offer just enough space to build a nest while keeping nestlings safe and warm. Robins need to be able to land on the surface without causing any nest mishaps in the process. Keep in mind that robins are fairly sized birds.

Create a pitched roof – A pitched roof allows water and debris to slide off the top so that it doesn’t affect the Robins or their nestlings. It also gives it the appearance of a human home, which is always aesthetically pleasing in its own ways.

Always follow building plans – Making sure that you opt for a tried and tested design is vital. Sure, it’s just a simple shelf, but it must be of the correct measurements and incredibly sturdy. The last thing you want is an occupied nesting box that breaks!

Get the nesting process started – Once you hang your nest, draw the attention of Robins by placing nesting material inside the nesting box.

Things like twigs, weeds, and grass are a great place to start. Also line the ground with plant material that robins are attracted to, and put out some snacks that robins will gladly forage for like berries or seeds.

robin in birdhouse

What Should I Do If A Robin Doesn’t Use my Birdhouse?

Robin’s may not use your special Robin nesting box because they just haven’t found it yet. Patience is key. Sometimes, it may take an entire season before local robins take notice. However, in some cases, it may boil down to a few easily-rectified mistakes.

Improper placement – When Robin’s select a nesting site, they ensure that it’s in a shady location and out of the way of rain and wind. For the best results, make sure that you place your nesting shelf facing north or east to protect nestlings from the elements.

Too low to the ground – Like any backyard bird, Robins also has a long list of predators. Your nesting shelf must be positioned at least 5 feet off the ground. In the wild, Robins build their nests anywhere from 5 feet off of the ground up to 25 feet!

Too close to high traffic areas – Robin’s won’t use that nesting location if your nesting box is too close to a backyard patio or other high-traffic areas. While it’s a great idea to hang nesting shelves on the eaves of outdoor structures, try and hang them on the eaves of a garage rather than your house.

How To Attract Robins to my Backyard?

Plenty of shelter, shady areas, well-placed snacks, and a good watering source are great ways to attract local Robins to your backyard. Unlike other songbirds, Robins will not feed from a birdfeeder. They are primarily insect-eating bugs that love to gobble up earthworms after a clean summer rain.

However, a summer drought often makes insects hard to come by. As a necessity, robins will forgo bugs and munch on berries and fruit in those instances. So, what can you do to draw these lovely wild birds to your nesting platforms?

Keep your birdbaths clean and full – Robins are notorious for taking very enthusiastic baths. One Robin can splash off the water right out of your birdbath! Keep an eye on water levels and refill as needed. It’s also essential to give them a good cleaning every few weeks to prevent mold and bacteria from growing.

Provide extra snacks around your birdfeeders – Robin’s aren’t too thrilled about birdseed and prefer foraging for their food instead of birdfeeders. To feed local Robins, throw a handful of berries and nuts in your backyard, and the Robins will find them!

Try and keep predators out of your backyard space – If your dogs or cats love to play in your backyard, try and reserve a special predator-free zone in your backyard.

Often, wild birds won’t come to a backyard with dogs or cats no matter how well you keep your bird baths and feeders stocked. Try and reserve a special safe zone for local wild birds where they can feed and nest.

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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