Turning Houses Into Homes: A Home and Garden Blog

Wooden Birdhouses: Not Just For Decoration

Birdhouses constructed purely as artistic creations may never attract real birds. Unless the dimensions of a birdhouse are suitable for a specific species, the house is likely to be ignored by birds. When you're looking at wooden birdhouses for sale, you can decide before ordering whether a particular birdhouse is intended to serve as a home for birds or simply as an attractive decoration.

Birds in the wild have little concern for eye-catching designs or lively colors. However, humans usually find those same features appealing. Birds are instinctively concerned only with the qualities that provide a nest with an adequate level of protection. A decorative birdhouse with the proper dimensions might attract the attention of birds, but a birdhouse designed solely for bird usage emphasizes function over style.

Building materials

A wide range of wood types can be used in the construction of decorative birdhouses. For a birdhouse intended to attract real birds, a durable wood such as cedar is more likely to be used to endure several years of weathering. The exterior of a birdhouse for birds may be unfinished. To attract birds, a birdhouse must exude many of the characteristics of a hollow tree.

House dimensions

The key requirement for attracting wild birds to a birdhouse is for the house to have the proper dimensions. From a bird's perspective, the birdhouse is viewed similarly to a small cavity within a tree. The average size of each bird species determines the optimal size of the entry hole, as well as the internal dimensions of the birdhouse.

There are roughly three dozen bird species in North America that will lay their eggs in birdhouses. For each bird species, the entry hole should be located at a specified height from the floor of the birdhouse. After birds partially fill the birdhouse with nesting materials, they can then easily reach the top of the nest through the entry hole.

Protection from predators

A decorative birdhouse can be placed anywhere. In contrast, a birdhouse with live occupants must be protected from predators on the prowl. One of the best ways to isolate a birdhouse from climbing predators is to mount the house atop a metal pole. For each bird species, there is a recommended range for birdhouse height above the ground.

A birdhouse designed for birds is likely to have some type of openable door. The door may be as simple as one side of the birdhouse that pivots between a closed position and an open position. After all the fledglings have flown, the nest can be removed from the birdhouse in preparation for the next brood.