Birds can transform an ordinary backyard into a paradise with their bright colors, beautiful songs, and entertaining behavior. I can still remember going to my grandparents’ house as a child and being mesmerized by the brightly colored birds that would visit their many birdhouses.
Having a birdhouse in your yard will give birds a shelter to escape predators and storms, and will make it more likely that birds will lay eggs and hatch their chicks in your yard!
One of the most important factors in drawing birds to your birdhouse is the location of the birdhouse in your yard. Just like when people buy a home, location is important! Birds want to be close to food and water and away from predators and anything else that might be a danger to them. To protect birds and chicks from strong winds, hang your birdhouse facing in the opposite direction of the way the wind typically blows in your yard.
Birdhouse height from ground
The height at which you hang your birdhouse depends on which types of birds you’re wanting to attract. This should always be at least 5 feet off the ground, to protect birds from predators.
For small birds like bluebirds, chickadees, finches and wrens, the ideal height is 5 to 10 feet off the ground. This is a good height because it’s high enough to keep small birds from predators on the ground, but low enough to give them decent cover from hawks and other birds of prey.
On the other hand, birds that are unlikely to be hunted by birds of prey usually prefer to nest higher in the trees. For owls, woodpeckers, and some large birds, try hanging your birdhouses 15-30 feet high. We’ll talk about a way to do this later!
Which type of birdhouses do birds like best?
Different types of birds have different needs in a home, so there are a wide range of birdhouses available for purchase to fit any of these different needs. Some of these bird-specific homes include:
Bluebirds need a specific type of house because they are often hunted by other animals. An ideal bluebird house has an entrance hole of around 1.5 inches in diameter to allow bluebirds to enter, but keep out predators. In addition, the entrance of a bluebird house needs to be at least a few inches above the floor so that bluebird chicks don’t fall out of the entrance before they learn to fly.
Martins nest in colonies, some of which can have as many as 200 birds! Because of this, birdhouses for martins typically contain separate cavities for at least 4 bird nests. Just be sure to hang one of these in an accessible place so you can remove competing birds or animals from it to give room for the martins.
Wood duck houses
Wood ducks naturally nest in cavities of a tree, so a home for them is made to mimic that. A wood duck house is typically a box about two feet tall, with an entrance hall at the top of the front for ducks to come and go. If you put up a wood duck house, fill the bottom with a few inches of wood shavings for a nice comfortable nesting floor for the ducks.
How to put up a birdhouse
So you’ve decided what kind of birdhouse you need and the next step is putting it up for your birds to enjoy! There are a few ways to do this- just make sure you remember to give birds a stable place to relax that’s far enough from predators and dangers, but close to food. Here are a few ways you can put your birdhouse up:
While not the best method, hanging a birdhouse on a tree trunk is typically the most popular option. There are a few issues with this, such as, damage to the tree and putting bird eggs within easy reach of predators.
To protect the tree from damage, be sure to use rubber-coated wire or a different soft material to hang the birdhouse. Don’t use regular wire or a metal chain, as this can cut into the tree trunk and cause damage.
Predators like squirrels are going to try to get into your birdhouse if it’s attached to the tree, so choose a birdhouse with a very small entrance hole to keep other animals out.
If you have problems with squirrels, rats and cats messing with your birdhouse, try anchoring your birdhouse to the side of a slippery building. A slippery building like a shed or anything with metal siding will prevent animals from climbing up onto the birdhouse and potentially scaring off your birds.
To hang your birdhouse on a building, buy some birdhouse mounting brackets from amazon or your local home improvement store.
Especially when putting a birdhouse on a branch 20-30 feet up, you want to make sure you have a way to safely anchor it so that it will stay put without putting yourself in danger. An easy way to do this is to tie the end of a rope to a stick, throw the stick over a high branch, grab the stick, and knot the rope. You then screw an o-hook into the top of your birdhouse, tie the rope through the o-hook and pull the knot tight. This should lift your birdhouse high up into the air to provide a great place for owls and other birds to nest!
Some birds don’t like hanging birdhouses because of the lack of stability, so another option is just to climb up the tree with a tall ladder and mount the birdhouse on the tree trunk as normal. Just make sure the ladder is stable!
Should you put anything in your birdhouse
There are differing opinions on whether you should put nesting material and food inside your birdhouse. Some people feel that birds will prefer to get their own materials. While others believe they are helping birds out by providing supplies. It really boils down to the type of birds your are hosting and the preferences of the individual birds that visit your yard.
Hopefully this advice will help you to create a perfect habitat for your backyard birds and keep them laying eggs for continuing generations of birds. As a last tip, if you’re someone who likes gardening, like me, putting birdhouses in or near your garden can be helpful because it’ll let birds feed on bugs that might be harmful to your garden. Give it a try!