Recommendation Needed | Making Birdhouses, Suggestions?

Hello Friends - I am really interested in making a few wooden birdhouses, and was wondering if some birders out there might have some suggestions for me. I'm most worried about choosing the best, non-toxic materials, and also just the best, overall construction--one slanted roof? pointed roof? I have read that a perch is a no-no, as it gives predators something to hold on to, but you see so many with them. Which way is best? Are there other ways to deter predators? I'd like to make the houses for some house sparrows who seem to like our gutters. I thought I would try and give them an alternative. Thanks for all your suggestions! - Alicia

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