The Proper Placement

of Your Nest Box Helps Attract Desired Birds

Placement of your nest boxes is much like it is for real estate.

Location, Location, Location.

Where you put your bird house is as important as its design and construction. Cavity nesting birds are very particular about where they live.

You built the perfect your nest box.

Constructed of 3/4 inch wood and you used screws to keep it together.

You made sure you had proper ventilation and a drain hole on the bottom.

You have the right size hole and you made sure one side would swing up for observation and cleaning.

However, if you don't have the right habitat, the birds you are looking for aren't likely to find it.

Not everyone has the habitat for a wood duck, purple martin, or screech owl. On the other hand, just about anyone can attract a robin, titmouse, wren, or chickadee.

Placement is important!

Where to Put Your Nest Box:

Let's assume you've built or bought the "perfect" house. You put it out in your backyard in February.

Months pass, and not one bird has landed on it. What's wrong? It may be that you don't have the right habitat, or it may be where you put the house.

Is the location all wrong, or is the habitat wrong?

There's lots you can do to modify your land to attract the birds you want to see. It can be as simple as putting out a

My Chickadee House

Bird Bath or as complicated as a pond with a waterfall.

Planting fruit-bearing Shrubs and But it's much easier just to identify the birds most likely to take to your backyard as it is and put the appropriate nest box in the right location.

Should you hang it from a tree limb, nail it to a fence, or mount it on a pole or a tree trunk?

There's a wide range between how high and low you can place a nest box. Pick a height that's convenient for you. After all, you'll want to watch what goes on and keep the box clean.

If you want to watch chickadees from your second floor window or deck, fifteen feet is not unreasonable but it's a lot easier to clean out a box at eye level.

My Chickadee house is about 6 feet from our front door. Placement is 6 feet off the ground and facing southeast with plenty of shade as the season wears on.

Look carefully and you can see one of the parents about a foot above the box.

Chickadee nest boxes need at least 65% shade.

Here are some tips on where to put bird houses:

* Houses mounted on metal poles are less vulnerable to predators than houses nailed to tree trunks or hung from tree limbs.

* Use no more than four small nest boxes for any one species or one large box per acre.

* Put about 100 yards between bluebird boxes and 75 yards between swallow boxes (if you have both species, "pair" the houses with one bluebird box 15 to 25 feet from a swallow box.

* Put the "pair" 100 yards away.

* Don't put bird houses near the feeders.

* Don't put more than one box in a tree, unless the tree is extremely large or the boxes are for different species.

* If you have very hot summers, face the entrance holes of your boxes north or east to avoid overheating the box.

Make sure your birdhouses are in place well before the breeding season begins.

Don’t be discouraged if the birds do not begin nesting in your box immediately; sometimes it takes time for the birds to find it.

Some suggest that these are ideal times for putting up your bird houses.

In the south, put out your birdhouses by February.

In northern regions, place your birdhouses by mid to

late March.

For me, I put them out as soon as I get one. The birds get to discover them as they are flying around for next season or maybe they need to relocate.

Yes, the sooner the better.

Your nest box may be a roosting box during the cold months and it allows birds a chance to locate your box before nesting season.

Golf courses, cultivated fields, gardens, and yards are great habitats for nest box placement.

Avoid areas where pesticides and herbicides are used. These agents are not only harmful to birds, they decrease and sometimes eliminate insect populations—the primary food source for many cavity-nesting species.

Nest Box Placement Needs a Plan,

About Bird Houses

Cavity Nesting Birds

Monitor Your Nest Boxes

Use Quality Materials for Your Bird Houses


Be Sure to do Some Maintenance on Your Houses

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