Think about it. Would you live comfortably in a nice but terribly hot house? Would you feel safe if a predator could walk through your apartment door and eat everyone? No, you wouldn’t, would you? Well, neither do the birds. You need them to feel welcome. Big, small. With or without multiple cavities. Wood, metal or plastic. There are so many options! But the truth is that the best material for a birdhouse is the one that will attract and make your guests feel more comfortable.
Stay with us and find out which birdhouse is best suited to the needs of your birds and your space.
Types of birdhouse for each bird
If you want to have your backyard full of birds fluttering around the place, remember that every bird species have different nesting and housing needs. Think about their preferences and how to attract them.
Imagine you own a hostel. To attract a lot of customers, you need to offer comfortable rooms for couples or groups of more than three, where tenants can take shelter during a storm, eat something nice or hang out with their families – something similar happens with birds!
The size and design of your birdhouse is as important as the material it is made of. We insist, it all depends on the type of bird you want to attract. Is it big or small? Do you prefer open or dense areas? We know, there are as many different options as there are types of birds!
But do not worry about it. Here is a list with the preferences of some species of birds so you can offer them the right birdhouse.
Single-unit nesting boxes
Let’s start with the basics. The most common birdhouse is a simple single unit nest box. What did you expect, a presidential suite? The reality is that for our friends with feathers this birdhouse is like a five-star hotel. After all, they just need to feel comfortable and safe.
Woodpeckers and flycatchers are birds that usually make their nests in this type of birdhouse.
The flycatchers carry their own materials to make their nests, so you will not need to give them more than water and food. However, if you want to pamper a woodpecker, put some sawdust or wood chips inside the birdhouse to nest them, they love it!
These two species enjoy being in areas with many trees, if you want to attract them place the birdhouse high on the trunk of the tree.
As we said, the single-unit nesting box is the most common birdhouse, so many birds prefer it. Here are the needs of some of them.
If your thing is to listen to the songs of the bluebirds, keep in mind that they like to feel safe in order to make their nests. They are not easy kids, but they are not to die for either. Do not hurry up. You will know what to do to attract these cute little birds with the ideal birdhouse.
A small box is enough for the bluebirds. A 5″ x 5″ interior is enough to keep small calves comfortable and warm at the same time.
For the birdhouse to be safe, the hole must be about an inch and a half long, that will keep predators out, you do not want something to eat them or invade their home!
You will also have to forget about putting a hanger in the birdhouse. As pretty as they look, cats and rodents could use them to hang themselves and get into the cage. Discarded!
Finally, remember that the bluebirds prefer open areas in both forests and cities (parks, orchards, etc.), but they really care about getting their food, they are very gluttonous! Be sure to put the birdhouse near trees or shrubs where they can find fruit or insects.
Great tits, Titmice and Wrens
The great tits, the titmice and the wrens will feel comfortable with a simple birdhouse mounted or hung on a tree at our eye level.
Make sure the entrance is pretty small. A one-and-a-quarter inch diameter hole is enough for the desired birds to fit and other birds and predators to stay outside.
Great tits, titmice and wrens love dense habitats. Put the birdhouse in an area with bushes or many small trees and it will be a paradise for them.
Swallows live in urban and rural areas and have you ever seen them perched on electrical wiring? I am sure you have. They are so used to living near us that they make their nests in human constructions like barns or sheds, or on the ledge of your door!
But do not worry, though. If you really want to offer a good birdhouse, consider putting up a shelf near your yard so they can make their nests.
Tree swallows, for example, love simple boxes attached to trees. Do not feel bad, it is perfect for them!
Sparrows are the most common songbirds in the United States. But, come on, that does not make them any less special. You, as a good bird watcher, know that.
The ideal birdhouse for sparrows is also a simple box with a one-inch entry. We recommend that you place it at a height of fifteen feet above the ground.
These birds enjoy resting in leafy areas with trees and shrubs. I am sure a birdhouse in a space like that will make them flit with joy.
Purple martin houses
So far we have talked about simple birdhouses, but it is time to level up.
We know that there are many birds that prefer to make nests without company… But this is not the case with purple martins! These birds love to make nests in groups, they are very social! There are a lot of Purple Martins in a single colony, so a box with a hole in it is not enough for them.
The options of purple martin houses are diverse. There are many sizes and styles on the market. We want this to be easy for you, so here is a list of things to consider if you really want to give these friendly birds the right birdhouse.
Can you imagine what it would be like to live with your friends and their families? I bet they would not all fit in the same house. It would be more comfortable to have your own building with different floors and apartments. That is why, again, a simple birdhouse is not enough for purple martins.
Purple Martins nest in colonies, so they need a birdhouse with at least four entrances and cavities, to begin with. But it can be six or twelve, even more!
It is best to keep the birdhouse between 10 and 20 feet above the ground. It is true that together we are stronger, but remember to keep predators away!
Entrance holes are usually 2-1/8″ in diameter, but a range between 1-3/4″ and 2-1/4″ can also work. Remember that it is very important that the bottom of the hole is just about an inch above the floor of the compartment.
It is important that you can lift the cover of the birdhouse easily to check the nests constantly and remove the nests of rival birds. Sometimes you have to do this every day.
We will not lie to you, Purple Martin houses can be much more expensive than other designs. However, this type of birdhouse is also suitable for different types of birds that prefer to nest in a community. You can attract a lot of birds at the same time and have them singing and fluttering around your yard, isn’t that a perfect value for money?
As you may have noticed, choosing the ideal birdhouse depends on the needs of each bird. From a small box with a hole to a 12″ cavity bird building in open or dense areas, it all depends on the preferences of the birds we want to have nearby.
There are birdhouses of all sizes and styles on the market. If you like to do things with your own hands, this is an opportunity to let your imagination run wild!
Now that you know about preferences and designs, you are ready to learn about the types of materials for a birdhouse!
Which materials can you use for a birdhouse?
Some materials are more durable than others. Some are easier to handle, some are cheaper or easier to get, and other look prettier or are very versatile when creating fun designs!
There are natural and synthetic materials for a birdhouse. You have several options, but whether you are considering buying or making a birdhouse, it is a mistake to choose a material simply because it looks more practical, cheaper or easier to get.
In addition to the preferences of the bird you want to attract, take into account the environmental characteristics of the area where you are going to place the birdhouse. After all, think about that it is not the same thing to build an igloo with ice in an icy place as it is to build a log cabin in the middle of the forest or to camp in a tarp tent in the desert.
Certainly, choosing the best material for a birdhouse should not be done lightly, but you have nothing to worry about. We will show you what your options are and the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. Here we go!
Oh, the metal. So strong and so malleable at the same time. Humans are used to building many, many things that surround us (or are even within us) with metal. But how appropriate is it to use it as a birdhouse material?
Metal is a very versatile material. You can find birdhouses with fun designs for less than $50. Do you want it in the form of a trailer, a ladybug or a sunflower, or a more classic model like a cottage? Never mind, the Internet has it! I am sure these designs would give your patio a very original look.
Of course, if you are looking for something bigger like a multi cabin birdhouse for birds that love to nest in groups, you have to pay more. But they exist too! In fact, Purple Martins have their own special aluminium birdhouses.
Another advantage of metal is that it is immune to squirrel teeth. However, keep in mind that the metal cools very easily or can reach very high temperatures under the sun, and we do not want roasted birds! Also, know that this material reflects light and can attract predators to the nest.
If you are thinking of buying or making a metal birdhouse, consider that aluminium is better than stainless steel or other metals.
Like metal, plastic is a birdhouse material with various designs available on the market. Also, you may save some money if you choose this option.
On the other hand, if you decide to make a Plastic birdhouse with your own hands, it may be more difficult to work with this material.
You should also keep in mind that even though plastic birdhouses are lighter, they are less resistant and they deteriorate from exposure to the environment, you should constantly replace them – you do not want your birds to live in poor condition!
Think about it. There are many models of plastic birdhouses and they are cheap, but you would have to spend your money again from time to time.
Most birds prefer to make their nests and live in an untreated natural wood house. Come on, the birds are free beings, they belong to nature, and nothing like a little wood to make you feel at home.
Wood is the most common material for making a birdhouse. It is an excellent insulator, so birds will be safe in extreme climates, not frozen by the cold or roasted by the heat.
It may be expensive, but remember that the cheapest is not always the best. In fact, the wood lasts for a long time and, as it “breathes”, the birds can get fresh air while they are at home.
A Wooden Birdhouse gives your backyard a rustic and classic look at the same time. You could paint the outside (just the outside!) of the birdhouse in a nice and striking colour, but…. we recommend not doing it. This prevents delicate eggs and young from being exposed to harmful chemicals.
It makes sense that birds feel comfortable in a wooden birdhouse. However, nothing is perfect. There is one small problem, and that is that squirrels can bite the wood and invade the birdhouse. Oops!
Like birdhouses made of wood, the resin ones are very durable and insulating, so they will also protect your birds during weather variations.
Resin birdhouses are lightweight, like plastic birdhouses. There are also a variety of colourful and unique designs on the market – everything you can imagine!
But it is not all fun. Resin may not be the greenest material for a birdhouse. Damn it!
Ceramic birdhouses are made of clay fired at high temperatures which is then glazed. They are all handmade work. And not only are they beautiful, but the water cannot leak in from the outside.
The disadvantage? Come on, it is ceramic. It can break relatively easily, even if it is left outside exposed to very cold temperatures. If you want a ceramic birdhouse, you will have to take it inside when the temperature starts to drop.
We understand that a concrete birdhouse can be expensive and difficult to build compared to others. Yeah, it is rare, but you might as well give it a try.
Unlike plastic and metal, concrete is an artificial material that does not retain heat. Besides, it does not rot like wood and squirrels cannot gnaw on it. Concrete =1 – Invasive Squirrels= 0.
Is it really a material? Well, there are birdhouses made with that, so yes!
You would be surprised how many birds prefer to make their nests in gourd birdhouses.
They may not be the prettiest, the most sophisticated or the most original, but gourd birdhouses are easier to make and attract birds faster than a box or multi-cavity houses.
What is the best material for a birdhouse?
If you have reached this point then you know about designs, bird preferences and insulating, versatile, fresh, fun or impractical materials – there are many options! But do not be impatient, because the more you know, the easier it is to choose the right birdhouse for the birds you want to attract – have you decided which one is the best?
The best material for a birdhouse is the one that provides more security and comfort to your birds, and that is… Wood! It allows fresh air to circulate, is insulating and weather resistant can remain in good condition for a long time, and is natural! Birdies love wood.
You should consider that there are several types of wood. Pine and plywood may work, but they will not last long.
If you want a strong and durable birdhouse, you may want to use cedar or cypress. It is the most expensive wood, but it will keep well even without special maintenance. In addition, cedar does not rot or attract insects, it will be preserved for a long time!
Remember that it is very important that you do not paint the inside of the birdhouse to prevent birds from being exposed to any harmful chemicals.
It is best to use three-quarters of an inch-thick wood, less of that could accumulate too much heat.
We also recommend that you attach all parts of the birdhouse with galvanized nails, hinges and screws. If they are galvanized they will not rust. In addition, glueing the joints together before nailing them will extend the life of the birdhouse.
Have you decided on the right material for your Birdhouse?
We want to help you have an ideal birdhouse to attract a lot of birds to your yard, but we also want it to be durable and especially comfortable for them.
Remember, the most important thing is that you choose the birdhouse that will make the birds feel at home – do you have any different material in mind? We would love to know! Leave a comment and tell us about your experience.
See you in the next post!