Birds chose to build their nests in birdhouses to protect themselves and their chicks from weather conditions and harm. To them netsboxes are "caves", "cavities in trees" or little "shades" to keep the rain away. To them, the location of their artificial cave or cavity is very important, so that they can safely raise their tiny offspring until they can look after themselves.
The best protection for a birdhouse is its location. Try to always hang the birdhouse on a shady place to protect it from the heat during the hottest hours of the day.
Other enemies of of the birds in your birdhouse are squirrels, and in North America, raccoons, opossums and snake, particularly black snakes on the East Coast. Squirrels may chew away an opening into a wooden birdhouse, and raccoons may be clever enough to open the cleaning door. The best protection against such attack is by placing the birdhouse on a metal or pvc pole, preferably on a location where you can see it from the house, but still on a suitable location near shrubs and in the shade during the hottest hours of the day.
Another great location is the a shady location during the hottest hours of the day on the wall of your house as predators usually can't climb walls.
Having said all this, I don't think you need to shy away from hanging birdhouses on tree trunks. Most natural cavities in trees are much less safe than your birdhouse, so a birdhouse on a tree trunk really is OK. In fact, we have had many bird nests around our home and most birds raised their chicks successfully, in spite of our beloved cat, which was a vicious hunter that one night even came home with a flying squirrel! So, trees are and telephone posts in fact, are very suitable locations for birdhouses.
When you hang the birdhouse from a chain or cable, you must make sure that it is on a location well-protected from the wind, as you don't want to have the birdhouse to bounce around much. Also don't hang it so close to a wall that the wind may make it bang into the wall.
Protecting the entry hole will make it more difficult for bigger birds and squirrels to chew their way into the birdhouse. One way is to attach a little metal plate with the same size whole, or to glue on a wooden plate around the whole so it becomes more difficult to chew or chip away a larger entry hole.
Whenever possible hang it on a location within 3 - 4 meters (10 - 12 ft) from branches or shrubs so that the fledgling birds can fly straight into cover out of reach of the neighbourhood cats and protected from the keen eyes of birds of prey. On the other hand, the bushes should not be too close as birds need a free flypath.
|It is recommended to hang birdhouses slightly tilted to keep out the rain. I am not sure how important that is with a roof hanging over it, but it does not hurt. So the theory is to hang birdhouses on the overhanging side of an inclining tree. But I would personally not pay too much attention to that, as you can easily have the nestbox incline a bit in a different fashion.|
Most birds nest relatively low to the ground and placing a birdhouse at the fifths floor of an apartment building has less of a chance of getting the desired tenants than the first floor. Many garden birds have their nests from just a half a meter or 2 ft from the ground to as high as the top-branches of a tree. Most birds will be happy with a having their birdhouse between 1,5 m or 6 ft and 5 m or 15 ft of the ground, always well in reach of a tall ladder.
|Some birds throw their droppings straight out of the nest or netsbox, so you may want to avoid locations where droppings could be a nuisance.|
So, when you have chosen a decent location that provides basic protection to the birdhouse and its inhabitants, the anxious wait commences to see if your little birdhouse will be approved by some willing new tenants
If you go on a nestbox maintenance or placing trip in the field, you may want to take of any of the following items along:
pencil (for when it si wet, as pencils keep writing in wet, when pens no longer work),
note book (and a spare for when the first becomes soaked),
torch and dentist's mirror for looking into Wren and other nests,
metal hole reinforcements,
mirror on a long stick for looking into high open nests,
first aid kit with insect repellent,
cloth for blocking holes,
Nest Record Scheme coding sheet,
map of nestboxes.
Backyard birds and you
Millions of people like having birds in their gardens as part of the beauty, fun and entertainment in the immediate surroundings of their houses, and right they are! No matter if you have just started living in your own place, have your own nest full of little or taller chicks, are enjoying your home by yourself or are an empty nester, birds are a the crown jewels of your garden, a constant source of entertainment, giving you fun and exiting moments every day of your life. Did you know that in the US as more than 60 million people do something to attract birds to their gardens or houses? No doubt you are one of those people and thereby you are a birdwatcher! You may never have thought of yourself being one, but hey, you put up a birdhouse or birdfeeder to watch birds come to your garden and house. So......, you are a birdwatcher!
With our huge website giving lots of technical information, I thought I really should pay more attention to the millions of people who don't keep up a birdlist, who don't spend their weekends trotting through the woods. If you like looking out of your window and see birds on a birdfeeder, enjoy little birds busy around feeding their young, then this section of the website is for you. If you go to school, then I like you to feel that this part of the website is specially for you.
I just started this section and it will take a while until all the pages have been written with good information. I still need to get good pictures of birdhouses, birdfeeders, designs and ideas. There are many website selling birdhouses and feeders, and quite frankly I am appalled by the prices of the products on most sites. So over time, I hope to help you discover affordable ways of making your own birdhouses and bird feeders. At first you will find some links to sites, that I consider worth reading and consulting, but over time, most of the information will be from myself. But I can't do it alone. I need your help to help the millions of bird friends to help our feathered friends. Therefore, I would really appreciate if you could send me pictures and suggestions and comments on birdhouses and birdfeeders.. Not to do me a favour, but to share your pictures with others and help them with your ideas and pictures to get the joy of having those marvelous joyous feathered friends around their houses. Sometimes it takes a while, but so far I have always answered emails sent to this website email address at the bottom of this page. I hope you send me your ideas and pictures so it can show them on this website. As you can see, this is not a commercial website, and your pictures would be enjoyed by countless other bird friends, as we enjoy as many as 1 000 000 visitors per year and the numbers are growing at a rate of more than 30% per year!
For bird friends in the USA, there is a great web project to help follow or monitor how breeding birds are doing: http://watch.birds.cornell.edu/nest/home/index. Anybody is welcome to participate in the project and share with scientists how the birds in your birdhouse have been faring. In turn you receive information on breeding success from others.
This website is about birds, nature, conservation and the passion for nature. Let me tell you a bit about myself.
For years, I kept this website rather anonymous. But then it occurred to me that maybe, you, the visitor, would actually enjoy knowing who and what is behind all this. I am Daan Vreugdenhil, have a PhD in conservation ecology, and dedicated my career of 4 decades to the conservation of nature, for which I visited some 80 countries and learned 6 foreign languages, my native language being Dutch. I have always felt that conservation is a passion, not a profession.
As a child, my father would take me on the back of his bicycle into the meadows in Holland, where he taught me to identify birds and plants. I caught frogs, butterflies and lizards as pets (yes, most of those poor critters died shortly after). As a teenager, I joined a youth club for nature study, riding my bike every weekend with my fellow club members to nature reserves in the Netherlands where I grew up. Little wonder, when time came I studied ecology and natural resources management.
I guess, I never got over my love for nature, wild places, forests, deserts and wild animals. I still love hitting the trail, kayaking down a river, the wind in my ears when skiing down a slope or riding my speed bike. Often people ask me if I don't get tired of traveling. But how can one ever get tired of the beauty of the bright colours of Indian Fall, the thrill of an eagle soaring the sky, the thunder of Iguaçu Falls, the fragrance of a spring flower, a Sky Lark announcing spring, a herd of elephants roaming the plains. My entire life has been dedicated to the conservation of nature.
This website is my gift to you, so you can follow me in my passion and carry on the flame of conservation, the result of more than a decade of work for which I never got paid or never received any subsidy. If this website in any way was useful to you, then I invite you to make a donation to the Adopt A Ranger Foundation. The Adopt A Ranger Foundation is my latest contribution in my quest to save 10% of our planet as a home for animals and plants.
On this website, you can find the bird checklists of all countries of the world: Just go to http://www.birdlist.org/site/regions.htm. In many of them you can find the bird names in its native language as well. But there is much more. There are pictures of nature, great tools for conservation, information on national parks and other nature reserves, an on-line book on ecology and nature conservation, free software for downloading, technical reports for those who want it. In order to find your way through the 2000 interlinked web pages on nature and conservation, please go to the site map. Thank you for visiting the page on the location of birdhouses and nestboxes.