DIY Noel Guard – How To Make Birdhouse Hole Predator Guard


People love birdhouses as they are a great way to attract birds. But sometimes a unfortunate tragedy develops when a predator is able to attack and kill the baby birds, and sometimes the mama bird. Unprotected birdhouses, or nest boxes can often turn into a take-out meal for raccoons, cats, or snakes. In this article I’ll show you how to make your own entrance hole guard from hardware cloth, step by step.

Materials

Click to download the pdf
  • 1/2″ hardware cloth
  • #8-1/2″ screws
  • #10 washers
  • Our Plans (print friendly pdf)

Tools

  • Leather gloves
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Scrap 2×4 for bending
  • Drill & bits
  • Screwdriver or wrench

Step by Step Guide to make a Birdhouse Entrance Hole Guard

1 – Unroll some hardware cloth, and weigh it down so you can cut out a 7″x18″ section. Use wire cutters to trim out the rectangle. This takes a couple minutes. And don’t forget to wear your gloves!

2 – Trim a 1/2″ recess that is 3-1/2″ long, two times per the drawing

3 – Use a 2×4 to fold the hardware cloth into a box

4 – Using two sets of pliers, bend the tangs around each other so that the rectangular shape / cage is secure. Also, use the waste from step 2 to wrap around the seam, adding more strength

5 – Use your needle nose pliers to open up the two 6-1/2″ sections. This is the end that will get assembled to the bird house

6 – Install the Noel Guard around the entrance hole, taking care not to obstruct the hole. Drill pilot holes prior to attaching screws, as that will prevent wood from splitting. I find it easiest to hold the guard up to where I would like to install it, and mark where I will drill holes with a pencil.

7 – Attach the guard using #8 screws and #10 washers. I suggest you hand-tighten these screws, as the wood is less likely to split from over-torquing the screws.

Noel Guards are effective against predators

Any protection at all is better than none for birdhouses! Bird-watching societies have been recommending them for decades. And, there is plenty of scientific research to back up these recommendations! [1]

In particular, the Noel Guard can stop raccoon or cat from entering the hole. Their arms are not long enough to reach into the hole and get the babies.

Also, the sharp tangs may dissuade a snake from trying to get to the hole. But, one should consider using a conical barrier (squirrel baffle) or smooth stove pipe to stop snakes.

Should you protect your Birdhouse?

Absolutely! It doesn’t take much research today to find many examples of birdhouses that fell victim to predators. Snakes, cats, and raccoons all will attack a birdhouse!

More on birdhouses….

References:

[1] – Bailey, R.L. and Bonter, D.N. (2017), Predator guards on nest boxes improve nesting success of birds. Wildl. Soc. Bull., 41: 434-441. https://doi.org/10.1002/wsb.801

Joe Foster

Hi - I grew up outdoors in nature - hiking, fishing, hunting. In high school I got my first job at a garden center where I learned to garden and landscape. I've been growing plants from seed and designing native plant gardens for over six years. I hope to share some of my knowledge with you! Additionally I am a wood worker / DIY enthusiast. I enjoy designing/building projects (with hand tools when I can!). I hope to give you some tips and useful information!

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