How to Build a Martin Birdhouse

The Purple Martin is the largest swallow in North America. Purple Martins are very tame and breed near people. They even like to build their nests in man-made birdhouses. You should know the following before building your Martin birdhouse.

  • Place the birdhouse in a large open area, not too close to trees or wires.
  • The birdhouse should be between 10 and 17 feet (3.05 and 5.18 meters) high.
  • The floor space should measure at least 6-feet-by-6-feet (1.83-meters-by-1.83-meters).
  • The birdhouse's ceiling should be at least 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) high.
  • The entrance holes should have a diameter of 2?inches (5.4 centimeters).[source: Bird Houses]

Now you're ready to start. Plan to build a two-story birdhouse.


  1. Cut the wood for the floor and the walls of the first story. The floors should be larger than the housing, so that the house will sit in the center of the floor.
  2. Drill two entrance holes in each of the walls.
  3. Screw the walls to the floor and to each other.
  4. Screw the second-story floor on top of the first-story walls.
  5. Drill two entrance holes in each of the second-floor walls. Attach the walls, as above.
  6. Screw two L-brackets to the outside of each side of the first-floor roof. Then attach the second-story walls to the L-brackets.
  7. Attach two slats in the center of two opposite second-story walls. The slats should be vertical. These will support the roof. Attach a slat horizontally, joining the tops of the two vertical slats.
  8. Make an upside-down-V-shaped roof by placing a lightweight piece of wood on each side of the house. Screw the roof to the upper walls.
  9. Paint the house.
  10. You're now ready to invite the Purple Martins to their new home.[source: National Parks]