A birdhouse without birds kind of defeats the purpose. If you have a birdhouse already or are planning on building one, there are things you can do to make sure birds in the area will become frequent visitors.
Location, Location, Location
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We've all heard that famous real estate mantra: location, location, location. People are willing to spend more and overlook certain less than ideal features for the right location. The same is true for a birdhouse: where it is located is extremely important.
But not all birds are alike. Bluebirds, for instance, prefer open fields, where other bird species like areas surrounded by trees and shrubs. Some like birdhouses that are higher off the ground, and other birds don't care as much about the height of the home.
As already mentioned, the height at which you hang the birdhouse is incredibly important but can vary greatly depending on which bird species you are trying to attract. Bluebirds like their homes five to eight feet above the ground, where some species prefer homes as high as 40 feet off the ground.
Animals are often attracted to homes by the promise of food. Having a bird feeder as part of the home or next to it can attract birds. Try sunflower seeds, bird feed, suet, or mealworms to attract birds to the feeder and nearby, or attached, birdhouse.
Birds also need water. Birdbaths and fountains are a great way to attract birds to your birdhouse.
One important but often overlooked factor in attracting birds to your birdhouse is the size of the entrance hole on the house. Some birds only need about an inch to get in and out, while others may need more like 4 inches.
Keep in mind that a bigger hole means bigger birds, which may, in turn, scare off smaller birds from the area for fear of being attacked. Larger holes can also mean raccoons or other rodents can access the area, which will scare off birds. Keeping the hole in the birdhouse to the right size is a great way to guarantee you are only getting the birds you want.
If you are building a birdhouse from scratch, keep in mind that different birds gravitate toward different designs. Some birds, for example, prefer to live in larger communities and may prefer multiple houses, while other birds like to live alone and prefer a private birdhouse.
Make sure your birdhouse has plenty of ventilation. It should have some in the top and drainage holes in the floor. If you live in a cold area, you may want to add insulation to keep the birds warm as well.
Outside of the house itself, there are things you can do in your yard to attract birds to the area. Most birds are drawn to a landscape with plants that are native to the area, which makes birds feel more at home.
Using pesticides or unnatural chemicals in your gardening can deter birds from the area and your birdhouse. In addition to smelling, these can also kill or remove insects that birds like to eat from the area. Use natural ingredients in your garden instead.
As already mentioned, the size of the hole in your birdhouse is incredibly important. So is the size of the birdhouse itself. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the bird, the larger the house necessary to attract them. Unlike people who can fill space they don't technically need, birds prefer homes closer in size to their actual requirements.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure the birds can actually see the birdhouse. It may be hard for birds flying overhead to see a birdhouse surrounded by bushes. Birds are constantly on the lookout for food, so make sure the feeder component of your birdhouse is easy to spot and looks enticing for birds.
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