What to Know About Backyard Bluebird Houses

What to Know About Backyard Bluebird Houses

Have you ever thought “hey, I’ll build a birdhouse today!” Well, today is the day! Having a birdhouse in your backyard is an amazing experience that attracts all sorts of birds, especially Bluebirds! But what goes into making an effective bluebird house?

To create and functional and stunning Bluebird house, there are certain attributes that should be taken into consideration. The color of the house, as well as the dimensions, location, infrastructure, and maintenance are all used to create a successful birdhouse.

No need to think about what you need, because we have the answers for you! What’s most important is the size, and the type of comfort that you’d like to provide for your bird friends. It’s time to create your backyard birdhouse! Check out this major pointers.

Bluebird House Dimensions

Bluebirds are quite particular about their dwellings. Bluebird house dimensions should be large enough for the adult birds and nestlings to live efficiently, while at the same time small  enough to avoid predators.

The optimal dimensions for a Bluebird house are:

  • Entrance Hole: 1.5 inches (1.56 inches for mountain bluebirds)
  • Entrance Height: 6 to 10 inches above the house floor
  • Interior Floor Space: 5-by-5 inches to accommodate broods of five to eight chicks
  • Total Height: 8 to 12 inches with the back slightly higher to shed water

Rectangular and circular houses are also service ready. You may build it yourself, or purchase a pre-made Bluebird house, if you want to be sure of accuracy.

Bluebird House Entrance Hole Size

If you want your Bluebird entrance hole to be round, measure about 1 ½ inches in diameter. The hole may seem small, but it will be big enough for the bird to fly in and out, and be safe from predators.

Eastern Bluebird houses can also have a 1 3/8 x 2 ¼ inch vertical oval hole. There’s also the option for a slot entrance that is sparrow-resistant, at the top front of the box.

Fun Fact! Researchers from British Columbia, Canada did some research on the effectiveness of bird slots. Their results showed that birdhouses that had a round hole produced more eggs than that of the slot entrance. So when creating your entrance, it’s best to go round.

Birdhouse Installation

Are you ready to create your birdhouse?! Great! Let’s get started. There is an easy birdhouse installation plan to follow, in order to create a fully functional bird home.

First, here is a list of tools that you will need:

  • Wood birdhouse
  • Wood post
  • Large bucket
  • 25-pound package of easy-mix concrete
  • Cardboard concrete form (cylinder shape)
  • 2 to 3 quarts cold water
  • Wood or metal stirring stick
  • Old metal spoon or trowel
  • Cutting tool (such as a carpet knife)
  • Level
  • Electric drill
  • Safety goggles

Step 1: Put on your safety goggles! Dig a hole about 2 inches wider than your birdhouse post, and about 10 to 12 inches deep.

Step 2: Drill small holes into the birdhouse to insert the brackets. You may decide to paint your brackets to match the outside decor of the birdhouse, or leave it as is.

Step 3: Grab your bucket and mix your dry cement with water. You’re looking for a thick and mushy consistency.

Step 4: Pour about ⅓ of the cement into the post hole; then place the post inside of the hole, and pour the remaining amount of concrete mix into the post hole in order to surround it, and provide stability.

Step 5: Use the leveler to ensure that the post is standing straight up. Once you’ve determined that it is, allow one to two days for the cement to dry.

Step 6: Once the cement is dry, drill a hole in the birdhouse at the bracket sites; then insert the brackets, and attach the birdhouse to the post.

Step 7: Cut away any extra material that is protruding from the post bed. After that, cover the cemented bed with dirt, mulch, or pine needle to give it a more natural look.

Congratulations, you’ve completed your birdhouse! From this point, it’s a simple waiting game. Make sure that the house is clean on the inside, and outside. Fully stock it with your Bluebird’s favorite food or seeds, and watch your new tenants fly right on in!

Birdhouse Maintenance

Cleaning should take place at least once per year. The best time to clean out your birdhouse is at the beginning of the Fall season, right after mating season. There is a likely chance that the birdhouse could be very filthy and filled with waste, so wear gloves and a mask.

Simply remove all nesting material from the inside of the birdhouse, and give it a good scrub down with a water-and-bleach solution. Throw the nest material into the trash to reduce the attractant of other birds or predators that will be attracted to it.

Once the house has been washed, leave the door open, and allow the birdhouse a couple of hours to complete dry before mounting it back to the post.

Which Way Do You Place A Bluebird House

Bluebirds prefer to have their house facing towards the east, primarily; following the east, face your bird house towards the north, then south, then west. This is the order that birds prefer.

The best advice is to face your birdhouse’s opening towards shrubs, bushes and trees, that are within 100 feet. With this setup, the bluebirds will be able to fly in and out of the birdhouse in peace.

How High Do You Put A Bluebird House?

Place your birdhouse approximately 5 to 10 feet above the ground. You want to place the birdhouse high enough to avoid predators.

Bluebirds can be pretty territorial animals when it comes to their nest and offsprings. The reason for placing the bird house at the minimum level of 5 feet is to protect the bluebirds from predators like raccoons or cats, that can climb or jump onto the nest.

What Color Should A Bluebird House Be?

Bluebirds are accustomed to being within nature, and tend to feel very comfortable within housing that matches the same attributes as the Earth itself.

The best colors to paint your Bluebird house are brown, tan, or green. Natural wood, without paint is suitable as well.

The color brown is an organic color that will blend in with the trees and dirt; while the color green is a resemblance of grass, tree leaves, bushes or shrubs. Either way, the neighborhood Bluebirds will feel safe within the walls of their new natural toned home.

When Should You Put Up A Bluebird House?

Bluebirds are abundant enough to be year round animals. However, the frigid air, or predators can be a real problem. For the best results, the preferred time to hang up a bird house is in late winter – either January or February,- or early spring – at the top of April or May.

This timing is perfect due to the fact that this is when Bluebirds begin their courting rituals, which means male Bluebirds are beginning to claim their territory. In addition, weather due to seasonal changes can be a hassle for these small birds, so the sooner they can begin their nesting season, the better.

Fun fact: although there is a recommended time frame, like I said, Bluebirds are year-round creatures, so you may also put up a bluebird house at anytime you choose!

Should I Remove Old Nest From A Bluebird House?

For Bluebirds specifically, removing an old nest from a birdhouse is a situation-dependent endeavour. On one hand, completely cleaning out the nest can be hazardous to the bird’s living situation, and may cause them to start over elsewhere; on the other hand, certain types of Bluebirds enjoy a clean nesting site.

When it comes to making a decision about removing old nest, simply take a look inside of the cavity of the house.

If the nest is well below the cavity, then leave it as it is. But, if the nest is at the same level as the entrance hole, be cautious of any eggs, and take some of the nest away; this will reduce the amount of predators that can potentially see and attack the Bluebirds.

What Is The Best Wood For Bluebird Houses?

Most-to-all Bluebird houses are made solely out of wood; and although there are various types that will work, here is a short list of the best wood for Bluebird houses:

  • White Pine
  • White Cedar
  • Red Cedar
  • Cypress

White pine is said to be a good choice simply because it’s abundant, and easily accessible; the sad part is, it doesn’t last very long.

Take into consideration that your birdhouse will have to withstand certain weather conditions and bug infestations. Red Cedar or Cypress wood is the best bet for your wood choice because it is insect-resistant, and less prone to rotting or molding.

What Attracts Birds To A Birdhouse?

Great question! There are many attractants for Bluebird houses.

Bluebirds enjoy open areas, and love the freedom of coming and going as they please, so leave an opening for them to do just that. Water is also a great attractant considering that hydration is a major part of their day. Keeping predators away from the house is also a huge attractant for safety reasons.

Placing cotton and pine needle near the Bluebird house is effective because it can be used as sturdy nesting material for themselves and their young. Placing some native plants or flowers near the birdhouse works as well. Also, try cleaning out the house by removing the previous nest, so that the new bird may take full advantage of it.

Do Birds Sleep In Birdhouses?

Yes, birds sleep in birdhouses. Birdhouses usually become long-term residences during the winter months when the air is cold, and the birds want to cuddle up. The birdhouse serves as a form of warm for the Bluebirds.

Also, a bird may choose to sleep in the birdhouse because of predators. Plenty of cats, foxes, or raccoons love to feast on birds.

However, with such a small entrance, it would be challenging for them to reach inside while keeping their balance. The birdhouse thus serves as protection not only from the temperature, but also from carnivores.

Do Birds Actually Live In Birdhouses?

Some birds actually do live in the birdhouse. They will set up their nest, and move in the entire family. Of course they will leave the nest, however, they are surely to return once they have completed their task(s).

About 30 bird species are nesting birds; therefore, they will use a birdhouse as their nesting cavity, and treat as their personal home and territory. In addition to Bluebirds, Chickadees, tree Swallows, house Sparrows, and Purple Martins are all common birdhouse occupants.

Do Birds Like Hanging Birdhouses?

Hanging the birdhouse is an interesting way of setting it up. It has a slight potential to attract a bird or two, if it has all of the delights that they enjoy. However, although it may look cool, it isn’t the best technique to set up a bird house.

A mounted birdhouse is a better choice than a hanging birdhouse. The mounted home will provide a stronger foundation, which the birds will admire for safety reasons. In addition, a mounted birdhouse will provide stability for the avian family. Try attaching the birdhouse to a metal or wooden pole; it has wonderful results!

Do Birdhouses Need Ventilation?

A birdhouse without ventilation is like your house without windows or doors; so yes, birdhouses need ventilation. The point of the ventilation is to provide the birds with circulating fresh air, as well as a drainage port for excess liquid, like rain water.

To create an effective ventilation system for your birdhouse, simply drill one small hole in each corner of the bird house, or near the top corners, exclusively. This will prevent the house from getting too hot, and potentially suffocating the birds.

Refrain from drilling on the roof, because water will easily flood the house; as well as on the floor of the house, because that would compromise the foundation.

Should Birdhouse Have Perches?

A perch is a short pole that is used as a balance beam so that birds can hang outside of their house. Older model birdhouse usually have one.

Some species of birds find them useful, and utilize them as a landing strip. Of course you are more than welcome to install one, but in the modern age, perches are not necessary for birdhouse for a few reasons.

For one, Bluebirds are capable of using their small talons to grip the inside and out of the house, simultaneously; therefore, the perch isn’t needed, especially if it wood. Second, a perch could be used by predators to climb up, and into the entrance of the birdhouse.

Do Finches Use Birdhouses?

Finches are known to use birdhouses depending on their current living state.

If winter has arrived, a Finch will use one to avoid the cold weather. Predators are also a factor for a Finch using a birdhouse. The small diameter necessary for entry is too small for most Finch predators to successfully reach in.

A Finch can nest in a birdhouse, or they can pick a spot that is beside their natural habitat, a tree cavity. Nowadays, you can find common birdhouses for Finches within your very own city or town.

Do Chickadees Use Birdhouses?

Chickadees tend to dwell mostly in tree cavities; however, Chickadees can use birdhouses, depending on the dimensions of the house itself. Chickadees will rest in a birdhouse that is “eight inches tall, with a four-or-five inch square base, with an entrance hole measuring about 1 ⅛ inches”.

Although deciduous and coniferous trees are the go-to shelter, if the birdhouse is set up with proper attracts, within 100 yards of shrubs and trees that’s loaded with food and protection, the Chickadee will most likely use it.

Can You Paint A Bluebird House?

Of course you can paint your birdhouse! Adding a splash of paint to the bird’s future home will only make it more aesthetically pleasing. When painting your birdhouse, use these helpful tips to make it as functional, and stunning, as possible.

Use neutral or earth tone colors to paint the house. Bright colors can be mistaken for a predator, which will deter the Bluebird. Colors such as tan, brown, green, or burnt orange will be well-fitting.

Bluebirds are not accustomed to potent, or potentially toxic scents, so only paint the outside of the birdhouse. Painting the inside is not recommended because it could severely harm the birds that will live inside of it.

Bluebird House Cleaning

Taking care of the birdhouse is one of the prominent factors of attracting birds to it. Always make sure that the nest is empty, and not active!

The easiest way to clean a Bluebird house is to first, take out all of the nesting material that is in it. Next, scrub the inside of the house with a solution that is 1 part bleach, and 9 parts water.

Leave the hinged door open so that the inside can completely dry. Once the birdhouse is dry, you may leave it in your home for the rest of the season, or put it back on its post for other birds to enjoy.

Bluebird House Protector

Predator guards are made to keep out bigger animals, like cats, racoons, snakes that will try to feast on the Bluebirds, Most of these guards are made from a mesh material that works by refraining the animals from reaching to the back of the house, where most of the birds tend to nest.

In addition, there is even protection material to refrain humans! There are signs available that state that the birdhouse, and the birds within it, are protected by federal law. Meaning that if any person purposely disturbs the birdhouse, they could pay a fine, or do some jail time.

Bluebird House Snake Guard

Snakes are huge bluebird predators; and when they enter the birdhouse, they will devour the eggs, nestlings, and adult birds without hesitations. There a few ways to protect your birds from this fate.

One form of snake-invasion prevention is to place your birdhouse mount in the middle of an open field or space, that is away from any fences or low-hanging branches. The snakes will use these advantages as an easy way to sneak inside, so avoiding these two hazardous locations is the primary source protection.

You may also use wire mesh to place around the entrance of the birdhouse, or to place around the entire house itself. There are more aesthetically pleasing options when it comes to wire mesh, like the Kingstone Stove Pipe.

Kingston Stove pipe is a cylindrical pole that wraps around the mount of the birdhouse. One end is open, while the other end has wire mesh to keep anything that comes in it from getting out on the other side. Snakes find this type of navigation confusing, and tend not to engage when they come up against one.

Bluebird House Squirrel Guard

Yes, ladies and gentleman, a squirrel will intrude on your birdhouse, mainly for the birdfeed. So how do you keep them from gobbling up all of the bird food?

Try installing a birdhouse hole guard. It’s a small, round, metal disk, that is used to plug in the entrance of the bird house.

With the proper tools, you can install a hole guard yourself! Check out the instructions:

  • Recess the wood down to the size of the width of the metal washer.
  • Use a hole saw to make the birdhouse entrance hole the same diameter as the washer.
  • Place the ring around the entrance hole, and mount the doughnut part of the guard into the hole (a super glue should be used for the washer; do not drill.)

This works well against squirrels because they cannot get through it. Sure, they will try to gnaw at it, but because the protector is made out of metal, the squirrel will find it distasteful, and will become deterred.

founder

Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare

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