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How to Get Birds to Nest in Your Birdhouse

Updated on December 22, 2016
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.

Large But Not Too Large

1. 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.

Do They Have a Safe Place To Eat?

2. 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

Water Close By Is a Must

3. 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.

Keep Them Away From Predators

4. 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 it's final position.

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

Keep People Away at First

5. 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 then 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.


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    • prism3x profile image

      prism3x 5 years ago

      great article on birdhouses! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Shelbert 5 years ago

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

    • cyoung35 profile image

      Chad Young 5 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

      Litzy 4 years ago

      I Nate when birds bite you:(

    • cyoung35 profile image

      Chad Young 4 years ago from Corona, CA

      Me too Litzy!! ;-)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 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.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 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.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 24 months 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.

    • profile image

      Charlie 6 months ago

      It works

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