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How to Choose a Bird House

Heartwood 063G Cotswold Cottage Bird House

Bird houses can add a decorative detail to your yard while providing a comfortable home for your local winged friends. Just as humans live in different styles of homes and prefer different décor, some birds prefer bird houses while others prefer to make their nest on their own.

Know your (bird) neighbors

The first thing to consider when buying a bird house is if your local birds will use a bird house. Some common bird house birds include swallows, chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, bluebirds, starlings and finches. Do a little research to find out if your local bird species will actually use the beautiful home you provide for them.

After you have determined which species of bird will be using the bird house, select a house that is the appropriate size. The hole size is very important. If it is too large, nesting birds could face exposure to predators.

Scope out the real estate

Plan where you want to place your bird house. The opening should face away from the wind and the bird house should be out of reach of cats and other predators. Most birds prefer a warm, sunny space, so do not bury the bird house in heavy shade. The location will help you decide if you want to purchase a hanging bird house or a free standing bird house. Hanging bird houses can be hung from trees or house eaves while free standing bird houses can rest atop a platform, preferably on a skinny pole so cats and squirrels cannot climb up to the bird house.

How often do I need to clean out my bird house?

You can clean your bird house each year after the local birds have moved out. Clean and disinfect the inside of the bird house so your new neighbors don’t get sick.

What do birds use to nest in their bird house?

Birds will twigs, leaves, dry grass, fur, moss, string and other materials to make their nest. You can help them out by collecting some materials and storing them in a basket. The birds will scavenge for building materials and use them to make their nests.

How high should my bird house be from the ground?

Bird houses should be anywhere from five to 30 feet above the ground. Try and place it at a height that will be ideal for bird watching.

If I have multiple bird houses, how far apart should I hang them?

Generally, bird houses should be about 25 feet apart to avoid over crowding your birds.

How do I know if my birds will like their new house?

Not all birds are nesting birds, so do a little research to find out if your local birds use bird houses. A quick search on the internet or in your bird guide will let you know if your birds will be bound to move in.


Now you are ready to pick out a bird house! Use the filters on our site to narrow down your choices. You may want something decorative or simple to match your décor. There are even building styles to choose from, such as church, nest and Victorian.

Once you receive your bird house, install it early so birds will have enough time to seek it out and build their nest. Install a bird feeder in the area to attract birds to your yard. This takes time, so don’t worry if it takes them a little while to get settled.

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