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The HubPages Birdwatcher's Club: Birdbaths, Birdhouses, and Roosting Boxes

Updated on November 19, 2012
Blue Jay at Birdbath
Blue Jay at Birdbath | Source


Our feathered friends need water all throughout the year, just like you and me, not only in the summer. They likely need it even more in the winter, when all the water is frozen. A birdbath can provide this necessity, which is every bit as important as the food that you give them. Birdbaths come in every price range, and there is something out there for everyone. The most important thing is, that it should be shallow, and if it is flat, no more than one inch deep. If there is a slope or a grade, it should be very gentle and no more than three inches at the deepest point. It should also have grooves, ridges, or a rock in it, to keep the birds from slipping. They also have no depth perception when it comes to water, and if you place that rock in there, it will help immensely. The pedestal bath is the most traditional, as well as the safest. It is off the ground, and the birds are in less danger from predators. Surprisingly, birds prefer something at ground level, and you can use a number of things for this, like a pie plate or a terra cotta underliner for a plant pot. It just needs to be shallow. It can be placed in or near a flowerbed, a garden, or on the patio.


On the top of the agenda is to keep the birdbath water from freezing when it is cold. There are some baths that have a built in heater, or you can add an electric or solar powered heating element to the one that you already have. Just don’t add antifreeze to the water.

Birds love the sound of running water and will stop just to investigate whenever they hear the sound of water. If you add a drip spout or a bubbler to your entourage, you’ll have as many birds at the bath as at the feeders. There are several of them that you can add to the outdoor faucet.



The only birds that will use a house are those that are cavity nesters. You will have Purple Martins, wrens, chickadees, bluebirds, and starlings. If you are lucky, you might get woodpeckers, nuthatches, or titmice. I won’t list them all, as I’d like to see you come up with surprises that you can tell me about later. To make this attraction, you’ll need the right kind of house, as well as the correctly sized entry.

Birds like wooden houses, and they provide ventilation and warmth. Earth tones are the best colors, and don’t paint them with lead based paint that you might have in the back corner of the garage. Never paint the inside, and be sure that you have drainage holes in the bottom and ventilation holes in the sides under the roof. Have the roof extend three inches past the entryway, which will avoid moisture within.

If the house was occupied the year before, do a spring cleaning and remove the old nest and nesting material. These old nests will attract rodents for their own purposes, so do clean the house at the end of the season with a mild bleach solution to deter parasites. If the house opens from the side or has a hinged roof for this purpose, all the better.

Birdhouses for Birds of Your Choice

If you’d like to try to have bluebirds, have a 1 ½ inch entry with an interior of 5 x 5 x 8 and well-vented. It will also need to be made so that you can evict others(if you wish to do so, and it could be often). Your best attraction for bluebirds would be to have a number of boxes about 100 feet apart, mounted on a fence post about four to six feet high. The best places are along pastures and edges of open fields.

For chickadees and wrens, you’ll need a 1 1/8 inch entry with an interior of 6 x 6 x 8 inches. Make sure that there is no perch, and have it between six and ten feet above the ground to deter raccoons, cats, and other pests. Place fresh wood shavings in the house, and you’ll have some prime real estate.

Downy Woodpeckers and nuthatches will like a 6 x 6 x 12 inch house on a tree between six and twenty feet from the ground. They live somewhere year round and also roost in the winter.

Roosting? That’s where your birds go on an inclement night, a roost box, a shelter. It is best to put these in a protected area on a tree or a fencepost. You’ll need staggered perches inside, an entry with a perch with a 1 ½ inch hole. The entry will need to be at the bottom of the box, which keeps the heat inside. Now you know the differences between a birdhouse and a roost box.

Wouldn't You Like a Baby Bluebird Like This in Your Yard?
Wouldn't You Like a Baby Bluebird Like This in Your Yard? | Source


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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Any time, Billy.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very useful information! We are just starting to put up birdhouses; still need to get a watering station of some sort. Thanks for the info!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Letitia. I'm sure that they will love this material. Then they will more than likely get some birds around there that they didn't even know that they had.

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 5 years ago from Paris via California

      Wonderful info. I wish I had a yard where I could put out nestboxes and birdbaths, but since I don't, I'll share this with friends and family who do! Voted up, useful and awesome.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      If you have a brick in the birdbath, it might be a little deep for the birds to be comfortable with. Try it, thought. You might even want to try a shallow baking pan.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Mhatter, Mockingbirds think that they own everything, including the airspace.

    • profile image

      summerberrie 5 years ago

      Great information aviannovice! I am going to try and place a brick in one of my birdbaths-it seems a bit deep. Voted up and useful.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I have a mocking bird who thinks he owns my bird bath :))

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Nell! Glad that you got some info that you could use here. If I had a large enough back yard, I would get an old picnic table and make a few bird tables out of it.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      A lot of birds don't like extreme heat, Joyce, but if you have some wide open spaces, you might find something else there.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hopefully, you'll get your birdhouses soon, gamby, so that the birds can enjoy them again. Glad you're enjoying the stories, too.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Xstatic, that should work a lot better for you.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      I love reading your hubs, always awesome information that we need to look after our feathered friends, I do have a bird table on my balcony, and try and place bowls of water down below in the grass. the idea of the stone would never have occured to me so thanks, and voted up! nell

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      We used to have most to of the birds you mentioned in our mountain home. When moving here I looked for birds like these, but no we only have tiny ones that stay in this heat and a few larger ones just flying through in Spring.

      Voted up and awesome for a great story, Joyce.

    • gamby79 profile image

      gamby79 5 years ago

      Another useful story. You know I have 2 birdhouses put up and neither one is made of wood and both are still empty. Still waiting on my wooden ones to be repaired, especially the martin house that my Dad built. I love your hubs. They are very interesting and very often entertaining! Rated up!

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      This is really good info. We had a recent heat wave and I tried to put water out, but I see now it was too deep and maybe slick too. I will try your advice. Thanks!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Wow, unknown spy, that is high praise. Maybe I should combine my stories and do that when I have enough. Yes?

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Okay, Perspy...Scrub Jays! Got it. Never saw one, but I hope to do so when I am able to get to the west coast.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Amazing photos Deb. You are so awesomely awesome on birds. I think you should start writing a book.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      After doing some online checking I think I should have labeled ours California Jays. Enter that on Bing and you will find some photos.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Oh, yes, they like their fruit all right. Do you have any pics of your jays that I could see?

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      We have been blest with a pair of quite friendly and almost tame Canadian Jays having slight color variance from the Blue Jays I am more familiar with from New England. They jabber at us and are curious to see what we are doing outside where they hang around and in the garden where we hang around. Two birdbaths and lots of seasonal fruits which follow one after the other from spring to fall. We feel we have the best fed birds in America: cherries/apricots/raspberries/plums/blackberries/ peaches/pears/raspberries again/apples/Asian pears/grapes, and two pickings of strawberries (if we get there first!)


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