Birds, oh, beautiful and majestic creatures! We would give anything to have them in our yard all the time. That is one of the main reasons to place birdhouses near your home. However, is it enough to just put a little house hanging from a tree? The answer is no. One of the most important decisions to make is to choose your birdhouse placement location.
There are many things to consider when you want to find the perfect place for your birdhouse: height, noise, orientation, you even have to choose between hanging it from a branch or nailing it to the wall! Also, you should never lose sight of the fact that each species of bird has specific needs and you should adapt to them.
Yes, choosing is definitely difficult, no matter what the circumstances. You may be wrong, miss an opportunity or not make the most of your resources… but what can you do to make the best decision and find the best location for your birdhouse?
Do not panic. We are here to help you, and we have gathered some information that may be quite helpful.
What should you know about choosing birdhouse Placement location?
Before you start taking action and looking for the ideal spot for birdhouse placement, there are a few things to consider. Note that these are just some very general notions in this regard. There is much more to consider when choosing the perfect location for your birdhouse. Remember that each bird species is unique and has its own specific requirements.
However, take these aspects into account:
Peaceful places for your Birdhouse:
Birds, no matter what their species, are demanding creatures. They may come once or twice to consume food or drink water, but do not expect them to inhabit your birdhouse if they do not feel 100% comfortable there.
Then, to find the perfect Birdhouse location, first of all, consider quiet places (Peaceful) Not too noisy. After all, birds are creatures that can become very shy and fearful.
If you are thinking of placing your birdhouse in a garden, park or space where a lot of people or vehicles move, think about it. Look for the most discreet, quiet and less travelled places. Stay as far away from trails or roads as possible. Avoid all the hustle and bustle that might bother them.
Keep in mind that during the breeding season it is very important not to disturb your backyard birds. They need peace of mind, especially in those days. If your birdhouse is too visible or eye-catching, there will always be a child who wants to come and see its beautiful inhabitants. If you place it in a location that is difficult for children to access, you can make sure they have adult supervision when they do so.
The right Birdhouse Orientation
We all know there are rules. Life is like that. However, we also know that there are times when you have to break them… or at least bend them a little. But no, we are not here to start a philosophical discussion. We talk about rules and regulations precisely to let you know when to follow them and when not.
To define the orientation of your birdhouse, it is certainly the norm that they are located to the east or northwest. However, like everything else in life, this can vary. You must take into account how the winds move in the place where you are going to place your birdhouse.
Be sure to place it in the direction of the prevailing winds and the direction of the rains. This will protect the entrance of your birdhouse and its inhabitants.
Also, if you plan to choose an area with high temperatures and solar radiation, make sure your birdhouse is not 100% exposed to the sun 24 hours a day. Check out this article which will help you make your birdhouse comfortable to your guests if your birdhouse is exposed to direct sunlight.
Nailed on the wall or hanging Birdhouse on a branch?
Let’s see, let’s see…. this is one of the most common questions when installing a birdhouse: how to place it? Well, basically there are two ways to do it: you can nail it to a vertical surface or hang it on a support, like a tree branch.
What is the best way to do this? Well, each of the modalities has its pros and cons.
If you choose the option of nailing the birdhouse over, for example, a tree, you should make sure of a few things, first of all, that there will be no wind gusts and swings to disturb your backyard birds. However, be careful! These are especially accessible to predators such as cats, rodents and squirrels.
The opposite happens in the opposite case. While nailed boxes can be exposed to danger, birdhouses hanging on branches or rods are much safer for your backyard birds. They are difficult for predators to access… but at one cost: the winds. They are much more unstable when the rains come or when there are very strong wind currents.
If so, what should I do? Which one should I choose? Experts recommend (when they are for small birds or are not exposed to strong winds and ups and downs) placing them hanging from a branch. Preferably, they are galvanized steel pendants, for added safety.
Hack! Use hanging birdhouse and screw a thread hook at the lower end of the birdhouse. Then fasten the birdhouse hook with a tread which is tied to an iron post in the ground. This will protect the birdhouse from predators because the birdhouse is hanging and is difficult to access. At the same time, the birdhouse will be more stable to the winds. But if you have children or pets then they might find a fun in disturbing then birds by plucking the string.
What you should not do
You always have to be eco-friendly, even if it is a little more expensive. Hang your birdhouse on the branch of a tree, never hold it with tight wires or strings. Remember that these are living beings, and they grow. A wire or rope could strangle or damage the branch.
Remember also that you must respect the slope of the roof. So the rain won’t get inside the birdhouse.
Density and occupation percentage
Time to talk numbers. The occupation and density will always depend on each particular habitat. The food available and the predominant species in the area also make the difference.
However, when it comes to the number of birdhouses and their distribution in your location, consider the following recommendations:
- In gardens: place up to one to two birdhouse per tree, as long as you have enough food and the bird species available are not very territorial.
- In spruce forest areas: place 5 to 10 birdhouses per hectare. Take into account the number of birds available and the number of trees.
- Leafy forest areas or fruit tree areas: places between 20 and 35 birdhouses per hectare.
What percentage of occupation do we consider a success?
Do not pretend to occupy 100% of your birdhouses. That is not going to happen… or at least it is not entirely common. More than 33% of occupancy is already considered a success. In fact, when the occupancy of your birdhouses exceeds 75% that can mean something negative. A great lack of natural nesting sites.
The occupation is usually progressive, generally, it stabilizes after the third year. Bear in mind that not all of them will be used for nesting, but they can be used as shelters, especially in winter, and as roosts at night.
Height of the Birdhouse
In the first instance, we must make one thing clear: the height of a birdhouse is not standardized. There is no magic number that works for all species and all climates.
Locating the place and height of a birdhouse is a task that requires observation, organization and a lot of research. The first thing you need to do is to identify which species is predominant in your area. Robins? Bluebirds? Canaries?
If you think the biggest difference between them is the color, you’re wrong! Each species has a preferred height. For example, Ash-throated Flycatchers, Carolina Wren and Great Crested Flycatchers are species that prefer birdhouses at a height of 3 to 15 feet. These three species top the list, being the ones that nest at the lowest height.
From then on, we can find other species such as the Black-capped Chickadee, American Robins, the Carolina Chickadee, the Red-breasted Nuthatch, which prefer birdhouses that are located between 5 and 20 feet high.
There are even some species, such as the Wood Duck, that enjoy nesting in birdhouses up to 30 feet high.
Minimize predator attacks by choosing the best Birdhouse Placement location
Birds, as mentioned a few paragraphs above, are fearful animals. Shy. Easy to disturb… but this has an explanation.
They can certainly fly, and this is already a clear survival advantage, but it goes without saying that they always appear in the food chain of the animal world as prey.
For this reason, when choosing the location of a birdhouse we have to anticipate the possible threats from predators. Many bird watchers and breeders use various resources to deal with this situation.
We have to take advantage of the backyard birds’ traits (being able to fly) to build them a safe environment.
When installing a birdhouse in a garden or fenced area, we can place them at more comfortable heights, between 2 and 3 meters. This allows us to manipulate, clean and then observe more easily. We can afford this luxury, as it is a closed space free of predators.
But things change in open spaces such as forests, parks, orchards and fruit crops. In these environments, it is much more advisable to adjust to the maximum heights of the species, in order to provide a much safer and calmer environment. After all, most of their predators do not have wings… but you can always look for a ladder.
Selecting the place for your birdhouse
We are already halfway there, and that means we have to start being much more specific. All right, you know all the basics you need to know when choosing the perfect location for your birdhouse. Now, it is time to choose a species to attract.
On this subject, Rick Olson, the famous author of the book “Building and locating backyard birdhouses”, made a distinction of the backyard birds you can find according to the type of area you are in. It should be noted that these categories were based on data from Wyoming, USA. Still, the information is useful and will help you get closer to the species you want.
Agricultural and Native Shrubs Grasslands
We began this classification of this type of zone, which predominates in Wyoming, United States. According to Olson, the species most commonly found are the American kestrel., saw-whet, barn, and screech owls, hairy and red-headed woodpeckers, tree swallow, black-capped chickadee, house wren, common grackle, and mountain and eastern bluebirds.
These species are very versatile in terms of the height at which they fly and nest. What does that mean? We can take advantage of the abundance of all types of foliage. Since bushes, hedges and rows of trees are very common in these areas, we can choose them as locations for our birdhouses.
Farm Woodlots, Shrublands and Forests
Luckily for bird lovers, these categories are not exclusive. That means that if any of the species in the previous section catches your eye, do not worry! You will also find them in this type of area, as well as a wide variety of owls, northern flicker, Lewis’s, downy, black-backed and three-toed woodpeckers, Williamson’s sapsucker and many others.
These types of birds enjoy high places, so you should adapt to that. Go and find a ladder, you have a lot to do. The ideal location for birdhouses for these species should be nailed to trees or hung from their branches.
Woodlots and Forests Bordering Water Bodies
If there is one thing birds love, it is water. They use it to hydrate themselves, but above all to cleanse themselves. In fact, there are several studies (carried out by the most prestigious universities in the world) assure that the water quality has an impact on the production and quality of birds.
So, as you can imagine, these areas are very populated by birds. Generally, we can find Barrow’s and common goldeneyes, bufflehead, hooded and common mergansers, and wood duck, but this offer varies greatly according to the type of forest and climate.
However, for these species, it is best to use the poles and trees to place your birdhouses in a safe place.
Of course! In areas of this type, the presence of predators is very common. Therefore, your backyard birds will need a safe place to eat, rest and spend their breeding season.
Wind currents are very common in this type of weather, so we recommend not to use hanging birdhouses. These can be too unstable.
Despite what you may think after reading the above, birds like the city too! Not all of us are made for the tranquillity and quietness of the countryside, after all. However, these types of birds are very specific. Mostly you will find swallow, black-capped chickadee, and house wren.
Luckily for city dwellers, they do not have to climb to the tops of trees or borrow a ladder from their neighbour. The city’s birds like to nest on shelves, balconies and architectural figures of this type.
Houses, Barns, and Other Buildings in Rural Areas
At this point, you may think: what is left for rural areas? Remember that these categories are by no means exclusive. In fact, while city birds are more practical, you can also find those same species here.
In addition, you can find hairy and downy woodpeckers, Violet-green and cliff swallows, common grackle, Say’s Phoebe, ash-throated flycatcher, among others. All these species are happy nesting in strategically placed birdhouses in the different buildings of the quieter areas.
The big deal: birdhouse placement
You have already chosen the bird you want to attract, selected the type of birdhouse you will use and defined the area in which you will place them. Now, let’s get even more specific.
We think this may sound obvious, but we must reiterate: the location of your birdhouse has to be strategic. No random decisions or places you think are pretty. When it comes to forests, it is best to place your birdhouses near rivers, lakes and ponds.
Consider sun exposure. A little sunshine is necessary, as well as a little shade. You do not want your backyard birds to feel suffocated.
Also, do not forget that birds are animals and therefore territorial. During nesting season, many species tend to aggressively chase others within their boundaries.
To avoid this, Olson recommends applying the bluebird lane method. This basically consists of locating each birdhouse with a separation of 100 yards, which provides each bird with enough space to feel comfortable and safe.
Basic Rules for Selecting Birdhouse Location
When it comes to choosing the perfect location for a birdhouse, this author suggests the following:
- Avoid as much as possible locating your birdhouses where there are many potential predators.
- Keep your birdhouses away from the noise. They disturb the peace of birds more than you can imagine. Avoid roads, car traffic areas, noisy squares with a lot of human traffic, etc.
- Do not place your birdhouses near any feeder.
- Make sure your birdhouse is the right height.
- Removes any possible obstacles that may limit the entry or exit of the birdhouse.
- Attach your birdhouse to the surface you use as a base.
Have you found the perfect location for your birdhouse yet?
We hope all this information has been very useful to you, all this work is done for you! Share with us your opinion, experiences and tips to find the perfect location for your birdhouse.
See you in the next post!