If you enjoy watching birds, there are few experiences like providing a nesting location on your property where you can watch them create a home and raise young birds. Many common bird species nest in birdhouses, so you are sure to find some in your area that will take advantage of your hospitality. Before you put that birdhouse up, though, there are a few things that you should consider to maximize your chances of success.
Be Choosy About the Nesting Site
Before you set up the birdhouse, you'll need to think about what type of bird you are hoping to attract. Every species has its own unique requirements for a nesting environment, and you'll need to take those into consideration when you put the birdhouse up.
As an example, if you are hoping to attract chickadees, you'll need to put the birdhouse in the middle of some shrubs or small trees, because they prefer to nest in thicket. Purple martins look for apartment houses installed out in the open, in the middle of your yard. If you want tree swallows, you'll need a water source nearby where the birds can get insects to feed on.
Consider the Structure Carefully
Once you've decided what type of bird you're hoping to attract, you'll want to think about the right kind of outdoor themed wooden bird houses for them. Purple martins, for example, tend to build their nests surrounded by many other purple martins. Installing an apartment house, or a bird house with many holes for nesting, is the best way to attract them. Wrens look for a single structure without any other wrens nearby, so set those structures some distance apart.
Make sure that there is sufficient ventilation around the top of the birdhouse, and drill some drainage holes in the floor. Then, paint the wood in earth tones unless you're attracting martins. Martins like aluminum houses with white paint, because they reflect heat away from the house.
Place the House at a Proper Height
Most nesting birds have preferences related to the height of the birdhouse as well. Purple martin houses should be mounted on tall poles that stand well overhead, because they prefer the elevation for nesting. Bluebirds and house wrens prefer to nest in houses mounted closer to the standard height of a person.
Birds are very selective about where they nest, but if you can create an inviting area with a safe environment, you'll have a better chance. Whenever possible, provide seed and other routine feeders on the property as well so that they can stay nearby, giving you more opportunities to observe them.