How to Get Birds to Nest in Your Birdhouse

Updated on May 2, 2019
cyoung35 profile image

I love having birds around the yard and I like giving tips on how to attract them.

Getting birds to nest in your birdhouse is a challenge many of us have.
Getting birds to nest in your birdhouse is a challenge many of us have.

Nothing can bring you more joy than small birds in your garden frolicking in a birdbath or taking care of their young in birdhouses that you've hung for them to feel safe and keep them warm and dry on those cold days and nights. I'll give you some ideas on how to attract birds to your birdhouse and give them a place to take up residency sooner rather than later.

1. Large But Not Too Large

You'll want to get a birdhouse that has an opening that's big enough for them to easily get in and out of the entrance but not so big that they don't feel safe. If a bird doesn't feel safe they will definitely take up residence elsewhere. A primary goal for a bird in a shelter is to keep it's young safe from predators and the weather. The size of the bird you want to attract will determine the size of house you'll need to purchase or build.

These are great for smaller birds.
These are great for smaller birds.

2. Do They Have a Safe Place To Eat?

The main thing that will keep birds in your area is to keep food near or on the birdhouse. Make sure this food cannot be reached by squirrels or other animals because the birds will feel threatened that possible predators can reach them. Not to mention that the squirrels will eat all the food, making it hard for a bird to stay. Below is a video that shows a product that spins when a squirrel tries to eat the bird food and they eventually learn to stay out of your feeder.

Squirrel Deterant

3. Water Close By Is a Must

Fresh water nearby allows the birds to not only have a place to bathe but it gives them a source of drinking water which is as important as food. A small simple bird bath with only a couple of inches of water in it works perfect for this, just make sure you change out the water on a regular basis to keep it fresh. If you have a lake, pond or stream near your property then this factor has taken care of itself and your chances of having a bird actually nest in your birdhouse is dramatically increased.

Keeping water near the bird house is a must.
Keeping water near the bird house is a must.

4. Keep Them Away From Predators

If you live in an area where animals come through your yard or cats wander through now and then, you will want to use some type of deterrent to keep them away from the area where you want your birds to take up residency. There are different types of products on the market that can help you keep these unwanted animals out of the area. If you live in an area where snakes are a problem then you can find products to help keep them out of the birdhouses. Snakes are probably the hardest predator to keep away so keep this in mind when placing your birdhouse in its final position.

Cats are natural predators for birds
Cats are natural predators for birds

5. Keep People Away at First

Until you have some permanent residents, you will want to keep people away from the area as much as possible. After they have moved in, people shouldn't be an issue as long as they don't agitate the birds. The challenge is trying to keep children from wanting to play with the birds as they are naturally curious and want check out what's inside the birdhouse. Birds first look for a secure environment to nest in then food and water are the next priorities.

If people are walking by the bird house all the time the birds will never feel secure enough to nest in it.
If people are walking by the bird house all the time the birds will never feel secure enough to nest in it.

If at first after doing these things you still can't get them to move in, you can try some variations of the rules such as different type of food or making a larger entryway into the house. Try moving the birdhouse to different locations on your property because what you think is secure, the bird may not. You may want to watch for animals being able to access the food, remember where we think it's impossible for a squirrel or other animal to reach the food you put out, they may be able to get to it some other way. Once you have a permanent resident in your birdhouse you will be able to enjoy the playful songs of your favorite birds.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • Do birds nest in hanging houses?

    They will as long as there are no threats around and plenty of resources such as water and food. If it's hung in a high traffic area then they may not feel safe so make sure it's a safe area away from any predators and you'll greatly increase the chances for nesting birds.

  • Does putting food at the birdhouse encourage birds to occupy it?

    It's not going to hurt to have food at the birdhouse, however this is just a piece of the puzzle in getting a bird to nest in your birdhouse. Remember having the house away from predators and in an area with water and food near by are key to making them feel safe and secure to raise their babies.

  • Do the same birds come every year?

    In some cases yes, however different birds may take up residence in the same house each year.

  • Is a hole 1 and 3/8 inch big enough for a small bird?

    It may be for some smaller species and may make them feel more secure.

  • Do birds like it if there is a small hole in a tree which they can fit through?

    As long as it gives them a place to get out of the weather and there are no predators around that can get to them they will like it. Remember, they have to have water, food and security when it comes to nesting.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 weeks ago

      There is already a bird that is already In my garden. It doesn’t turn out to be going away. Does that mean it’s nesting. It’s right inside my bird house

    • profile image

      Ann Finger 

      16 months ago

      We added a lot of bird feeders around our house with either thistle or good quality bird seeds! Once they realized what they had they fight over the best place lol! We added a few hummingbird feeders but this year so far they are only eating from my flowers!! Now , the birdhouses! Different kinds! Big, small, wood, hatch etc,,, no luck yet, one perched on top but not in! Finally I added what I should have all along, WATER! getting a bird water fountain, I read some birds willl only be attracted to moving water! Can’t wait to see what happens! Thanks for all the info!

    • profile image

      Baiden Bed Chan 

      20 months ago

      This article was very interesting, could you help me with something? If my house is about 20 metres tall, should I put my birdhouse next to my room balcony in order to get a better understanding of how they nest? Also, should I put a birdbath next to the birdhouse? Thanks for your cooperation.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      i love bird

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      It works

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      5 years ago from Brazil

      We get so many birds visiting our garden here in Brazil. 100+ different species.

      However, we tried putting up a hollowed out coconut log, which at one time had owls nesting it. The tree fell over and out rolled to young owls. They were reared and released.

      The coconut log we tied up to a hefty concrete post. Parakeets (wild), 2 types of woodpecker and various others have all snubbed it. I think it is like you said, the hole is just the wrong size.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      This was a nice hub. I have birdhouses up but only some of them get used sometimes. It's a special treat when they choose to stay a spell with us. Then before you know it, they're grown and gone.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      7 years ago from Norfolk

      Love the birds, just wonderful to have them nesting close by where you can watch them feeding their young. By the end of Summer they look positively exhausted with lots of untidy feathers. Whoever said it was easy being a parent! Enjoyed your hub.

    • cyoung35 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chad Young 

      7 years ago from Corona, CA

      Me too Litzy!! ;-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I Nate when birds bite you:(

    • cyoung35 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chad Young 

      8 years ago from Corona, CA

      A very funny thing happened, I set up a birdhouse and 2 birds moved into it within a couple weeks. Then 2 more built a nest very near on some pipes that come out of our house under the eve. I guess they have neighbors now and I guess I'll have to hang more than one birdhouse next year.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      :) That was nice! I have 2 birdfeeders, a birdbath, and a birdhouse!Tweet tweet!

    • prism3x profile image


      8 years ago

      great article on birdhouses! Thanks for sharing.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)