The When, Where, & What of Birdhouses








If you’re like me you’ve started to think spring, and all of the chores that come along with it!  One thing I would like to concentrate on this spring is attracting more birds.  Last spring was our first spring in our new house, and when it arrived I definitely expected more birds.  My landscape is full of bird “attracters”, so I was a little perplexed as to why there weren’t more birds.  So I got to thinking, I have attractive native plants, bird feeders, bird “baths”, plenty of insects, so what was it? DUH I had no birdhouses!

All that said I’ve been doing some research on birdhouse, when to put them up, where to put them, & what kind to build, so I thought I’d throw a quick post together to share what I found.  It isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think, and if you make some bird houses yourself it can be quite inexpensive.  With a little time & energy you could be enjoying many more birds this season.

When to Put Out Your Birdhouses

There really is no perfect time to put out your birdhouses, in fact some people simply leave them out all year.  I’m the type that likes to bring my seasonal tools & toys in, so it’s important that I learn when the nesting birds arrive in the spring.  I’ve found that there are actually quite a few places to get information:

  • Contact a local birding organization and inquire about nesting records for the past several years.
  • Visit where you’ll find a plethora of information about birds, including migratory
  • Keep your own annual records of bird sightings to determine when the birds you want to nest nearby first arrive in your yard.
  • Study information about popular backyard bird species in your area, and learn how many broods they raise each year. The more broods they raise, the earlier they will start to breed.

Once you have learned the patterns & habits of your backyard nesting birds, try to get your bird houses up at least 2 weeks before they are set to arrive.  Nesting birds tend to look for a “territory” as soon as they arrive, so don’t miss your chance!

Where to Put Out Your Birdhouses

First, you want to make sure that you can get to the birdhouse easily so that you can clean it out season to season.  Some birds may build a nest on top of another nest, but it’s messy so I think it’s better to clean them out.  Birds are extremely adaptable but the better the placement, the more birds you’ll see.  Try to make the placement as inviting as possible, check out the tips I’ll be taking into consideration below:

  • Place your Birdhouse to reduce afternoon heat.
  • Erect your birdhouse using PVC poles or the like.  The poles make it easy to adjust height, and make it difficult for predators to get to the house.
  • Height seems to be more of a preference than anything, generally 5-30 ft. above the ground.  At this height the house will be safe from enemies.
  • Be sure to place houses at least 25 ft. apart, as birds do follow territory rules.
  • Avoid areas where predators have easy access.
  • Avoid areas near the road, as well as areas where herbicides & pesticides are commonly used.

What Kind of Birdhouse to Build

Different types and sizes of birdhouses attract different species of birds.  The size of the house, type of entrance hole, and construction of each home will attract the types of birds you want in your yard. Whatever type of house you build it should have adequate drainage, interior space, and insulation for a successful roost.

There are many, many bird houses available for sale online, at your local garden centers, etc…  However, if you’re just slightly handy you can save some money and build your own birdhouses.  Building your own birdhouses also gives you the opportunity to tailor your houses to the types of birds you want to see.  You can find free plans for birdhouses all over the internet, one site I found very helpful is:

Keep in mind that putting up birdhouses is only just a small part of attracting birds to your backyard.  There are many other things to consider including, bird feed & feeders, bird friendly plantings, birdbaths, etc… We’d love to hear from you on what kind of birds are you’re looking to attract this upcoming season…

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