If you have come this far, it is because you love birds, isn’t it? It is because you are on the lookout to choose the right birdhouse. Perhaps, even before you know about bird species, birdhouse types and more specific selection factors(birdhouse requirements) you have already got an idea of what you want.
Come on, I am sure you can imagine it now! White…or maybe pink? With some ribbons, flowers, glitter and sequins…NO! Forget all of that. The main sin of the birdhouse selection criteria is “to choose at random or just because it looks nice”. In fact, when you are choosing the right birdhouse you need to take into account some specific details that make the difference.
And no, we are not talking about the color that goes with the decoration of your garden. Each type of birdhouse has specific requirements, according to the species of birds you want that nest there.
So, fasten your seat belt and get ready to embark on this journey! Well, these are the requirements for finding the right birdhouse.
Birdhouse size Requirements
When it is a question of size, most people think, “Bigger is better”. A bigger birdhouse means more space, doesn’t it? It means more room for more birds, right? Uh… no. Although it may not seem so, excess space can be as fatal as not having it.
Why is that? For what reason? Let’s talk about birds now. Birds, like all animals, have territorial behavior. They nest, reproduce, breed… and need space to do so.
The first requirement you need to evaluate to find the right birdhouse is the size. You need to make sure your birdhouse is big and tough enough to handle not only the size but also the weight, of the birds you want to raise.
Too big or too small?
Do not be overconfident! The right birdhouse for you should be neither too big nor too small. After all, you will need it to be compact enough to provide a comfortable nesting place for your birds.
However, while we are talking about compact, your birds need space and freedom of movement. We have Written an article that specifies the requirements of a birdhouse for many different species of birds– do not forget to check them out!
For example, let’s imagine you want some beautiful wrens to nest in your birdhouses. This is a rather small species of bird, and it is enough to find birdhouses of approximately 4×4 to 6×6 inches floor size.
However, not everything is a pre-established rule. If you want to venture to attract more species and not just wrens, you can play with the measurements. An inch or so in height can make a difference. But be careful! You do not want to attract a species that endangers the nesting of your wrens.
This is very important, that is why we have mentioned this point in several articles before: First, select the type of bird you plan to attract and breed. Then, you can choose the right birdhouse according to the requirements of that specific species of birds.
Birdhouse Entrance Hole and Door Size
Well, your birdhouse may be of a perfect size… but you will not get the results you want if your birds cannot access the birdhouse. Oh, yes. Now it is time to talk about access points, one of the most important birdhouse requirements to consider.
Access points? For who? For our birds? Yes, but not just for them. As you can imagine, the only ones who will visit those birdhouses are not your birds. Have you forgotten about you? Looks like you did.
Let’s talk about the functions of a birdhouse. Why do you want to attract birds? Breeding? Research? Or are you a bird watcher? No matter the answer, you will need your birdhouse to let you look inside. Whether it is to admire or study the birds… or even to maintain the space.
So, we are talking about the fact that birdhouses need both: human and bird doors. Access points for birds are often called “holes”, while those for humans are called “doors”.
If you are thinking that birdhouse is a house of birds and humans don’t need an access to the birdhouse. Well! you are right but what will happen when the breeding season is over? Of course, the birds will leave the birdhouse and you will have to clean the nesting box for the upcoming season. So can you do it without having access to the inside of the birdhouse? of course not.
About Birdhouse holes
Everything in the birdhouse is about the specific requirements of each bird. It depends on their nesting tastes and preferences. In addition to their safety, of course. That is why the entrance hole for them must be adjusted to their size. Remember, the size of this hole is key. It allows access to the desired bird but prevents access for the birds that are not desired. That means keeping those birds away which may be a potential threat.
But do not worry, this does not mean that the hole should have exactly the diameter you are looking for. In fact, if you have already been looking at some birdhouses, you will know that each manufacturer has standard sizes for the entrance holes.
Be sure to find one that is as close as possible to the diameter and height you are looking for, according to the species of bird you want to attract. Also, remember that placing an entrance hole in the overall average will allow access to your birdhouse for bird species of a different kind.
You can look for the recommended birdhouse hole size of your favorite bird in this article: Recommended Birdhouse Dimensions.
EXTRA ADVICE: Remember that the birdhouse you buy should have a small roof that shades the entrance hole. This will prevent blizzards or rain from disturbing the peace of your birds.
About Birdhouse Doors
Speaking of access requirements of your birdhouse…your own access to the birdhouse is extremely important, isn’t it? Each of these houses needs one or more hinged doors. Through them, you can clean the inside and monitor what is going on inside.
It is very important to clean the birdhouse and remove all the leftover nest and debris after your favorite birds have left the birdhouse. They will return next season and will make a fresh nest and breed again.
Note that each type of birdhouse requires a different door. Before you buy or build one, make sure the access door is as large or as small as the model requires.
Remember that if you do a good job and your birds feel comfortable, they may return the following year if they can find the same comfortable nesting environment.
Type of material used for the right birdhouse
When we talk about materials we can work with, we cannot say that a birdhouse requires a specific type. In fact, there are birdhouses in the market made of many different materials. However, the most common of all is wood.
Usually, birdhouses are made of solid wood planks. The thickness is usually between 1.4 and 2 centimeters. Wood. It has to be wood. No plywood or similar materials.
For what reason? Remember that this type of material absorbs water. And yes, exactly what you are thinking happens: moisture, blisters in the wood, fungus, etc. They can even collapse over time and… Goodbye birds!
Wood and water
As many of you probably know, water and wood are not very good friends. In fact, while wood is one of the best materials for building birdhouses, you have to be very careful. The main birdhouse requirement is water resistance. To achieve this, the ideal wood is pine, poplar or aspen.
Also, remember that it is always better not to bind the wood. It may look prettier that way, but the truth is that birds prefer the roughest finishes. Not only is it more natural, but it gives them a better grip.
EXTRA ADVICE: If you want to extend the life of your wooden birdhouse even further, apply a good anti-mildew product. But remember to do it only from the outside and away from the entrance hole. A good varnish will even increase the resistance of the material to the weather.
Well, wood may be the best option. But that does not mean there are no others, does it? For example, cork. Many manufacturers replace wood with this material because it is lighter and more economical.
Other materials that have become very popular among specialist manufacturers include cement and wood concrete. Wait for a second, what? Wood concrete? Well, yes. It is a mixture of sawdust, wood shavings, cement and lime.
This material, as well as cement, can be molded to create any shape. That feature, in addition to its strength, makes it attractive for building birdhouses. It also provides very good moisture insulation and excellent breathability at the same time.
Okay, not as nice as the classic wooden birdhouse. But this material can meet the requirements of even the most demanding birds. And what is more, it has a durability of up to 25 years.
You can check the detailed article on different birdhouse materials and their choice.
Birdhouse Perches? No, thank you
If you don’t know what is birdhouse Perches, then let me tell you. Perches are small wooden stick nailed on the front side of the birdhouse which allows the birds to sit on the stick near the entrance hole and provide ease in entering the birdhouse.
Birds love Perches and they love to sit beside the birdhouse hole and navigate the surroundings. It has been studied that birdhouses with Perches have a greater success of having guests. but are Birdhouses with Perches considered as good?
You have seen them on TV, in advertising, even in cartoons! I am sure you recognize them and associate them with birds every time you see them. Those little metal or wooden rods on which the birds rest.
We know, many experts bird watchers and breeders recommend them. After all, birds spend most of their lives standing, and need to lean on a space that is comfortable for them… but perches are not always (almost never) a good idea.
Mary Twitchell, the author of Easy-to-build Birdhouses, recommends never placing perches in birdhouses. Never. Not under any circumstances. You know that we must always focus on creating safe, comfortable and cozy places for our birds. Well, hangers can put their lives at risk. They can be used by predators to attack.
Also, birdhouses do not really require perches. In their nesting season, birds do not need them. As Twitchell points out, a perch serves aesthetic, not practical, purposes.
But there is an exception! here we go! You can add Perches for smaller birds i.e. the birds which need an entrance hole size of just 1 inch (diameter). Your bird will still be safe because 1 inch too small for the predatory birds and animals to get access into your birdhouse.
About Birdhouse Roof
When we talk about roofs, we need them to serve basically three purposes:
- Mobilize water efficiently to prevent it from draining into the nest.
- Prevent water leaks.
- Protect the bird from predators and strong winds or rain.
To achieve all these requirements, the roof of your birdhouse needs specific features. First of all, it is very important that the roof is tilted. It may fall from the center to the sides or back to front. In addition, it must be made of a waterproof material that prevents leakage.
In the market, you will find several models that have a tin bar, aluminum or similar material used to build roofs. This is done for the purpose of protecting it, making it stronger and more waterproof.
However, be very careful with this type of material! Abusing them can cause your birdhouse to get too hot. To counteract this, nothing beats a good design with adequate ventilation.
Protection beyond the roof
You may have wondered why the roofs of the houses are usually a little larger than the roofs of the houses themselves. You see, there is a reason for all that. One that goes far beyond aesthetics.
The roofs are designed in this way not only to allow rainwater to run off and not to stagnate up there. But also, to protect the entrances of the houses from rain or snow that, pushed by the wind, fall diagonally or straight.
The same goes for birdhouses. Although not all manufacturers work with this type of design, be sure to choose the birdhouse that has this requirement covered.
Not only will it keep your birds from getting wet, but it will also keep them safe from predators, such as cats.
Birdhouse floor and interior design
The inside of your birdhouse is almost as important as the outside. After all, it has to be comfortable and safe for the birds that nest there.
One of the most common mistakes made by birdhouse builders is to use very long nails. If that happens, it is more than likely that the sharp extreme will end up hurting either one of your birds or their chicks.
Talking of pigeons, there are a few precautions you should take for their benefit. Remember that, in nature, bird nests are made of branches and leaves. These branches are rough textured and allow the chicks to hold on more easily.
Be sure to leave the floor of the birdhouse fairly rough, and place a sort of escape Ladder under the exit hole. This will help the chicks to get out.
If you don’t know about the escape ladder then let me tell you about it. Escape ladder is basically a support for your chicks to climb up to the entrance hole of the birdhouse. When the baby birds are old enough they will climb to the birdhouse hole and will do their first crash landing on the ground. in order to help them climb easily, we should place escape ladders inside the birdhouse.
Now! How can you make an escape ladder! Well! it is so simple. Just take a piece of cloth strip and make a few holes in the cloth and hang it from the hole of the birdhouse towards the inside of your birdhouse and you are done.
Birdhouse Drainage and ventilation
As it is often said: “the last shall be the first”. Applies even to the list of requirements of a birdhouse. Being at the bottom has nothing to do with how important this aspect may or may not be.
Ventilation and drainage, are vital requirements for finding the perfect birdhouse. After all, there is nothing cozy about a warm and flooded little house.
Beyond that, remember that these birdhouses are outdoors. No matter how many measures you take, more than once the water will enter. You need to be able to get it out of there safely.
To this end, Rich Olson, author of Building and Locating Backyard Birdhouses, suggests opening at least four small holes in the floor of the birdhouse. That way, you will prevent water from accumulating.
When we talk about small birdhouses, the issue of ventilation becomes a vital requirement. At least two holes are necessary to avoid internal overheating.
You should make these holes in the front or side walls, at the height of the bird’s entrance and exit holes.
Tips for the correct design of your birdhouse
We have discussed most of these points in the details above here we have a summarized version of it. To help you in your search for the perfect birdhouse that meets all your birdhouse requirements, follow these tips:
- Identify the species of birds you want for your birdhouses. Remember that this cannot be a random decision. Keep in mind that each type of climate and region has specific birds that visit it. Once you have chosen the type of bird, choose the right birdhouse according to their requirements and needs.
- A good birdhouse is made of wood, although you can choose other materials. If you decide to use wood, remember that the less processed it is, the better it will be. Not only because the rough material is more comfortable for the birds, but also because the chemicals used to treat the wood could harm your birds.
- Do not forget that the correct birdhouse must have sufficient ventilation and drainage holes.
- The roof of your birdhouse should be tilted and extend over the entrance hole.
- No perches.
- Make sure you have doors that give you access to the inside of the birdhouse. You will need them to keep the space neat and tidy.
- Make sure your birdhouse has a ladder that allows the chicks to easily get out of the cage.
- Stay away from overly colored or overly painted birdhouses. They may look very nice in your garden, but the birds will not like them. In addition, it may attract dangerous predators. If you decide to use paint, be sure to use light colors. These will reflect natural light and keep your birdhouse cool. If you are looking for something aesthetic and natural, try using cedar or redwood. They are beautiful and do not require a single drop of paint.
Have you found the right birdhouse?
We hope all this information will help you in your research for the right birdhouse, one that meets all your requirements. Remember that a documented experience is a more productive experience.
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