Where you put your bird house is as
important as its design and construction. Cavity nesting birds
are very particular about where they live. No matter how
perfect your nest box, if you don't have the right habitat,
the birds 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
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.
It may be that you don't have the right
habitat, or it may be where you put the house.
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 bird bath or as complicated as
planting fruit-bearing shrubs or installing a pond with a
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 place.
Should you hang it from a tree
limb, nail it to a fence, or mount it on a pole or a tree
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
Here are some tips on where to put bird
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
25 feet from a swallow box. Put the "pair" 100
don't put bird houses near bird
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.