How to Get Birds to Nest in Your Birdhouse
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.Helpful 25
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.Helpful 23
Do the same birds come every year?
In some cases yes, however different birds may take up residence in the same house each year.Helpful 18
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.Helpful 16
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.Helpful 14