Birds build nests to protect themselves, their eggs, and their young from predators and from adverse weather. One form of nesting that several species backyard employ is called “ cavity nesting.” Cavity-nesters are birds that build their nests in tree cavities or holes. These cavities can be either natural ( i.e. created by decaying wood ), or excavated ( i.e. created by woodpeckers ). There are two types of cavity nesters, primary and secondary. The primary cavity nesters are woodpeckers, who can chisel cavities into trees which they then use for nesting sites. When they are finished nesting, the cavities become available for the secondary cavity nesters, who are unable to excavate.

Birdhouses cater to the needs of cavity nesters by offering them artificial cavities. They come in many shapes, and sizes. This section of our website gives you common sense information on birdhouses, no matter if you plan to build your own birdhouse, or plan to buy a birdhouse of the shelf. There are always things to consider when you want to decorate your garden or house with a birdhouse, such as the best location for a birdhouse, protection form predators,  maintenance, etc.

Other species build their nests in the open and are called open-nesters. Some open-nesters may be facultative cavity-nesters when a good opportunity presents itself. Some birds do not nest in holes. American Robins, Phoebes, European Kestrels and Grey Shrike-Thrushes, may use a tray-like ledge with a roof, attached to a tree or the side of a building. Barn swallows will use an unroofed shelf under the eave a building.

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: 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 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. On this page we help you find the way to the worldwide list of birds and the bird names in other languages.