Build Your Own Birdhouse, or Buy One? Here's a Guide

Build a Birdhouse Yourself

You know it's Spring for sure when you see the birds carrying bits for their nest.
You know it's Spring for sure when you see the birds carrying bits for their nest. | Source
Red-headed finches frequent our feeders.
Red-headed finches frequent our feeders. | Source
The backside of a taller shape of birdhouse
The backside of a taller shape of birdhouse | Source
Just set out a house in a high place, and the birds will find it.
Just set out a house in a high place, and the birds will find it. | Source
Painting a birdhouse can make it cute, just don't overdo it.
Painting a birdhouse can make it cute, just don't overdo it. | Source
Putting out garden bird feeders is a good way to attract birds to your yard.
Putting out garden bird feeders is a good way to attract birds to your yard. | Source
So many kinds of wildlife that are rarely seen in cities.
So many kinds of wildlife that are rarely seen in cities. | Source
The roof opens up to make it easy to clean out at the end of the season.
The roof opens up to make it easy to clean out at the end of the season. | Source
The back slides off this style of birdhouse, making it super easy to clean out.
The back slides off this style of birdhouse, making it super easy to clean out. | Source
Sometimes the floor opens
Sometimes the floor opens | Source
A nesting pair of swallows moves in
A nesting pair of swallows moves in | Source
This little bird used to sit there and watch the world go by.
This little bird used to sit there and watch the world go by. | Source
You'll find more kinds of birds than you know that live around you.
You'll find more kinds of birds than you know that live around you. | Source

Attract Wildlife to Your Yard

Bird houses are cute, decorative, useful and popular. Lots of people have bird houses inside and outside in the yard, too. They can be painted very nicely, or they can be plain and rough-cut; both of which birds will use. But, there are a few things to know about making a bird house if you want to have birds using it, other than just for décor.


The home made birdhouses must be made out of a material that is durable and can stand up to weather. It should withstand summer sun and heat, winter cold and spring’s wetness, too - although some just bring the birdhouses inside during winter, which works to preserve them better.


The size of the opening depends on what kind of birds you want to live in them, too. Birds are picky creatures, and not just any house will do.


Whimsical Birdhouses Aren’t Practical


For instance, most decorative bird houses have a perch just below the opening. We picture a mama bird standing on the perch while feeding the little bobbing heads with wide open mouths inside. In real life, many birds will not choose a house with a perch because it’s dangerous.


There are birds who rob the nests of other birds, often killing the featherless baby occupants and tossing them out, and having a perch for them makes it easier. Any bird will be able to hang onto the house itself, and a perch isn’t necessary. I’ll never forget when the blue jays attacked and killed the baby swallows in their houses. No more perches on my birdhouses!


Also, the size of the opening is important to what kinds of birds will nest in the bird house. Most birds prefer a hole smaller than you’d think they want, but if they have to squeeze in and out, it lessens the threat of intruders and nest robbers. For instance, a house for sparrows should have an opening that’s one inch or one and a half inches in diameter.


Any bigger and it leaves the nest open to bigger birds, squirrels and even cats. Luckily, there are standards that someone took the time to study and list, and Wild-Bird-Watching.com offers us a chart with measurements and wildlife requirements.


Birdhouse Specs Are Important


There’s also the distance between the entrance hole and the floor of the birdhouse that matters. Smaller birds require a smaller distance from the floor so they can reach their mother and father when it’s time to feed them. Larger birds, of course, need a larger distance between the floor and the entrance. If the entrance is too far from the floor, the babies won’t get fed because they can’t reach it.


To build your own birdhouse, the thickness of the material the birdhouse is made of is also important. Too thin and the walls will allow too much heat to build up and this could kill the little occupants in hot places. The walls, roof and floor should be a minimum of half an inch thick to avoid a little birdie disaster.


It’s also a good idea to choose (or modify) a birdhouse that opens for cleaning at the end of the season. Some birdhouse makers make it so the back slides off, revealing the inside of the house, or the roof and/or floor should be easily removable.


Also, different birds prefer different shapes to nest in; such as the common American Robin, who likes to nest in a structure that’s most likened to a shelf with an angle toward the inside. Take a look at the chart mentioned above for better information.


Birdhouse Designs; How to Make a Birdhouse Look


A prettily painted house is just as good as a plain, bare wood house to birds, as long as it isn’t painted with a busy pattern or brilliant colors. Think about it; they naturally nest in trees and roofs, which are not decorated; they’re used to hum-drum, natural looking bird house décor in which to build a nest.


Some outdoor bird feeders and birdhouses look like tiny apartment complexes, and only birds who nest together will accept this. Very few kinds of birds will nest directly above or below another nesting bird, so these types of outdoor birdhouses are cute looking, but not very bird-friendly.


Wild birds are cute, fun to watch, and they mean a great deal to our ecology. The more of them there are, the healthier the environment is; except, of course, for those that hang out at fast food places in hopes of getting a dropped French fry.


Choose wisely; again, take a look at the above-mentioned chart to correctly build or buy the house for the kinds of birds that are local to your area. Set out a garden bird feeder and watch what comes. If you put it out, they will find it!



Help for Your Birdhouse Project

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Got Birds? What kind of house do you use? 6 comments

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

Just today I saw the usual sparrows, chickadees, juncos and finches, with a Northern Flicker (endangered) and a red-headed wood pecker. I love watching the feeders, too.


SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

Dang, lightening did it in, huh? Sounds like you need another one.


SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

My faves are the little chickadees. They have to learn to fly from the ground, not like other birds who jump off and fly. So I'm always wary where the cats are. :) Thanks for reading.


Brandym2012 profile image

Brandym2012 4 years ago from PA

I live in the country and I love watching the birds, squirrels,and deer. Just do not care for the snakes lately, lol. Great hub! Wonderful article and thank you for sharing all of this information.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee

Oh gosh, this Hub has reminded me of how much I miss our bird house. My daughter made it and it hung out in the mulberry tree until last year when a bolt of lightning destroyed it. I'm definitely going to have to replace it. I like the photos, btw - my fave birdhouse here is the one for the little swallows. So picturesque :)

Voting up!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Very interesting hub! I'm glad that none of my bird houses have any perches - I went outside to check! I have two small ones for the very small blue tits that are around here. I love these brave and cheery little birds. They are always the first to find the food put out for them.

Enjoyed this very much + voted up!

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