One of the birds basic needs are nesting sites. Depending on the species of bird, it could be located in deep grass, nesting boxes, tall trees, marshes, in abandoned buildings, in the side of a sand bank, and sometimes on cell or cable towers.
Some birds build nests on shelves on the side of buildings, basketball hoops, hanging flower pots and every other imaginable place. Some birds build very precise, intricate weaves, and some build a sloppy nest of some twigs. And other birds nest in colonies.
|This photo and the one above is from my friend Jan's yard.|
Here are some very good links that will help you with your initial choices of birdhouses:
|An older bluebird house now used by wrens|
Birds You Can Attract
Placement of Birdhouses
Design (important because it includes information on ventilation, drainage, accessibility, entrance hole, and cleaning). A note on the size of the entrance hole: it's important to have the correct size for the appropriate bird you want to use the bird house. If the hole is too big it will attract larger birds (like house sparrows and starlings) to either enter and steal the eggs or lay their eggs in the nest and have the other species of bird raise their young.
Birds Nesting Box Chart
Protection from Predators
While this information is useful it isn't an exact science. It will provide you with the help you need in determining what you need to do to attract birds to move into your yard and take up residency.
My husband recently built the bird house in the picture to the left. It's quite large but doesn't appear that way because it's up so high on that tree. Because we have quite a few Red-bellied Woodpeckers (see previous post on More Feathered Friends), he decided to make the dimensions to house that bird.
|This is how high|
the box is located.
You can see how high up in the dead tree where he placed the box. This box will also be suited for the saw-whet owl.
Gourds (the red one pictured first on this blog) can be used by many birds depending on its location. These are very popular in the south when mounted high on a pole with several of the gourds lined up in a row. They will be used for Purple Martin colonies or bluebirds will use them too. We put up some in our back yard several years ago to attract the Purple Martins (because they eat several thousand mosquitoes each day) or bluebirds. We ended up having tree swallows use it for several years, but that's ok because they eat mosquitoes too. After they moved out we had the Great Crested Flycatcher use the same gourds for several years too. They eat bees. We didn't find out until later, but there was a bee hive that used one of the gourds and it was pretty convenient for the flycatchers because they moved in right next to their food supply. They usually look for abandoned woodpecker holes to nest in.
Purple Martins prefer a large open field area on the edge of a pond or lake. They don't like to be too close to any building (preferably at least 40' away). They nest in colonies so you would need a bird house that has at least 4 available rooms or gourds.
House wrens will use just about any available birdhouse if the entrance hole isn't too large.
Tree Swallows will use PVC nesting boxes. Bluebirds and house wrens have also used this type of house.
|Tree Swallow using PVC bird house|
This is a bird house (on left) for multiple birds that is located on the Oswego River at the lock in Phoenix, NY.
|Shelf box used by robins on pole barn|
|Phoebe nest constructed of moss on plant hanger under the roof of our barn.|
Decorative birdhouses. Some birdhouses are just pretty and look great on your porch or as a decoration in your yard.
|Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak on feeder.|
|Birdhouse mounted on PVC pipe.|
|This is the backside of a bird house that houses three separate nests (2 on left on one on right).|
If you have birdhouses out from last year be sure to clean them out before spring.
Here are plans for constructing various birdhouses: Next Box Construction Plans
If you decide to build a birdhouse make sure it has ventilation and drainage holes in the box.
Hope you decide to add a birdhouse
(or add another one) to your yard!
Feel free to leave a comment. . .