Few things delight the eye, like watching colorful birds flitting around the yard. You can use cozy birdhouses to attract these beautiful creatures to stick around to become neighbors. Here’s how to make birds feel at home in your birdhouses.
Know your neighbors
Consult your state parks and wildlife department or research online for species native to your area. Research their migration patterns, preferred food sources and housing choices. You can begin tailoring your birdhouses to meet their needs with this knowledge.
What birds want in a home
Birds want some of the same things we want in a home. They are looking to raise a family and enjoy security and shelter from the elements. Here are considerations when placing birdhouses around your property.
- Secure mounting is essential. Some birds don’t mind a home with a bit of sway in the wind, but most want a fixed place safe from rocking. If mounting on a tree, do so near or on the trunk. If on a pole, make it a stout one short enough that it doesn’t bend in the breeze.
- Privacy is important to most birds, with a few exceptions like more social species such as purple martins. Place birdhouses a bit removed from feeders and birdbaths that draw a lot of traffic. Mounting a birdhouse on or near a tree with limbs gives parents a place to perch and monitor home and brood.
- Some breeds, such as titmice, bluebirds, and chickadees, like houses four to six feet from the ground. Owls and woodpeckers prefer heights of 15 to 30 feet. Wrens, wood ducks, purple martins, and others want something in between.
Mother birds will want to furnish your birdhouses with nesting material to provide soft bedding for eggs and chicks and warmth and camouflage from predators.
In the area surrounding your birdhouses, leave the kinds of scraps that birds choose for making their nests. Straw, twigs, leaves, feathers, lint, grass clippings, string, and yarn are good choices.