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