Find the best bird house for your garden
With natural nesting sites becoming increasingly difficult to find these days, there’s no better time to provide our feathered friends with a bird house than now. A good bird house simulates a natural home for birds, providing privacy, protection, and comfort. However, finding the right birdhouse isn't as simple as it looks.
One thing to keep in mind is that some bird species have preferences regarding the kind of bird houses they will use. For some birds, the direction of the house matters. Others consider the size of the entrance hole or the internal size of the house. Some birds may not use birdhouses at all.
However, most of them nest in bird houses, so mounting two or more birdhouses in your garden is worth it. This simple guide will show you how to find the right nest boxes that will attract birds to your property.
What is the most suitable material for a bird house?
Most birds prefer bird houses made out of natural, untreated wood. You can paint or stain the outside, but the interior should remain untreated. Wood is warm, cozy, and durable, making it the perfect choice for bird houses. The best types of wood for making a birdhouse for a garden include:
Some birds prefer weathered wood, so you may have to leave your new bird house to weather for a few months before birds can settle in. Birds start looking for a place for nesting in spring. Therefore, ensure you set up the house early enough for review before the season starts.
Another material you can choose for your birdhouse is polyresin. This material is extremely durable. It's also resistant to corrosion and requires very little maintenance. All these features make it an excellent material for bird houses.
How to choose the right bird house design
Aside from specific habitats, some bird species require different types of bird houses. Birds of the sky like purple martins prefer living in communities. For such birds, consider going for an apartment-style bird house.
House wrens prefer living alone in small houses, while bluebirds live in single-room settings, typically 45 – 68 m apart.
Most backyard birds can live comfortably in a compact house with a base of about 4 - 6 inches and a depth of 6 – 12 inches. For larger birds like owls, flickers, kestrels, and wood ducks, you'll need a nesting box that is deeper, taller, and with a larger base.
What is the right entrance hole size and position?
For the entrance hole, a diameter of 1 – ¼ inches and 1 – ½ inches works well for most species. It's important to ensure the hole is the exact size of the target species. This will prevent other species from inhabiting the house. When the diameter of the entrance hole is more than 1 – ½ inches, the eggs and nestlings are at a higher risk of attacks by Starlings.
Swallows tend to be more attracted to nest boxes and would probably be the first to take up the space. They can squeeze even in the smallest entrance holes. So, if you want to attract other birds to your garden, consider installing two identical houses within a 6 meters distance of each other. Swallows are territorial - they will only occupy one birdhouse and leave the other for other species to inhabit.
General considerations in mounting bird houses
Now that you know how to choose the right birdhouse for your favorite bird species, the next step is knowing how to mount the birdhouse. Even the best house may not attract birds if mounted incorrectly. You need to keep in mind a number of factors to help you set up the house.
There are different mounting types for bird houses. The most common mounting types are freestanding, hanging, and wall-mounted. Some birds would comfortably settle in a swinging house, though other species prefer stable houses. Choosing the right mounting system will help you attract the right bird species.
The house should be in a remote site away from nearby bird baths and feeders where disturbance from other birds may affect brooding. Placing the house in a more secretive location helps to camouflage the house and protect the birds from predators. Nearby trees will provide the adult birds a place to perch and watch over their family. However, some birds prefer houses in more open locations.
Bird species have different preferences when it comes to the height at which they nest. Some of the examples are Barn owls (2 -8 m), Finches (2 – 3 m), Purple martins (3 – 5 m), Titmice (2 – 5 m), wood ducks (2 -9 m), Woodpeckers (3 – 6 m), and Wrens (2 – 3 m). Remember to mount the nest boxes safely and securely, even if the height is not convenient for the birds.
Cleaning and monitoring
Regardless of the species of birds using the bird house, be sure to visit the house regularly for cleaning. If necessary, check the progress of hatchlings.
Do you want to attract more birds to your garden? Browse our collection to find the best bird house.