General Question

pallen123's avatar

My son and I built a birdhouse. Can we get birds to use it?

Asked by pallen123 (1514points) August 13th, 2010

We built a simple birdhouse over the weekend and hung it high on a tree trunk. Are birds supposed to move in? As in, use it as a home, make a nest in there? Or is it more like a rest stop where they might go in a storm? Should we put bird seed inside it? How will they know it’s in there? Should we put twigs in it and straw so they have materials to build a nest?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

This article, How to Attract Birds to Bird Houses will be helpful to you.

gailcalled's avatar

Different birds have different needs. A wren box, for example, needs a much smaller entry hole than that for other, larger, birds.

You also need some branches or bushes to give most birds protection. Blue birds usually want
two boxes about ten feet apart. But a generic box should draw someone’s attention.

It is late in the season (here, at least) for birds to be nesting. Most have already had one or two or even three litters and are now getting ready to migrate.

Don’t bother with seeds…that will attract the small rodents. And birds always find their nesting materials with no human help.

Enjoy it and wait for next season. Where do you live?

silverfly's avatar

I bought a birdhouse a few months ago and it’s been hanging in a tree in my backyard. No birds yet. I’m hoping they find it this next season. I’ve read that it’s best to put the birdhouse away from feeding areas. I’m guessing that birds like minimal activity around their homes for security reasons.

yoshiboshi's avatar

one thing i noticed about my bird house, is that i had to place it in a spot where the birds could see it, like i had to hang it on a long string so it was noticable, and i had to place some seeds below it. the birds actually SAW me putting the seeds there and got curious and ate it. next thing you know, they are all over the thing, especially this cute cardinal couple. so adorable.

gailcalled's avatar

@pallen123; Rural, suburban, or urban?

Coloma's avatar

Yes, as @gailcalled mentions.

Certain species have certain preferences of hole diameter and heigth placement.

Also, make sure the house is in a somewhat shaded area and has branches and/ or shrubbery next to it, to help the fledglings have an easier time of getting out on their own without falling to the ground.

I would place the box at least 6— 8 feet abouve ground, or, if it is mounted on a pole, put it next to a tree with low hanging branches again.

Good luck in attracting some househunters!

Also, a water feature is great for bringing in birds as well, a birdbath quickly becomes the neighborhood hub for all sorts of species!

pallen123's avatar

@gailcalled Shaker Heights. Suburban.

gailcalled's avatar

@pallen123: Ooh..big lawns however, and lots of old trees. I put a few flat stones in my bird bath to attract the bees as well. And I have only a wren box, that is now filled with wasps’ nests.

You should get some birds in your custom house next spring.

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