How To Choose A Bird House

There's nothing that can make your property more whimsical and alive than a pretty bird house bustling with life. Which bird house you choose, though, will depend upon the different types of birds you have in your area or wish to attract!

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What are the different styles of bird houses?

As bird houses are meant to be fun additions to enhance the beauty of your home, it's a good idea to choose a style of bird house that suits your environment and decor! Here are just a few ideas:

  • If you live in a coastal region, it may be a good idea to select a blue or nautical-themed bird house such as a naval or island-inspired motif.
  • If you have children who are inspired by stories of medieval wonder, choose a castle-themed bird house to fit in with their fairy tales!
  • Selecting a bird house made of clear plastic or resin will allow you to see exactly what's going on in the birdhouse---which may be of interest to those who are interested in biological sciences.
  • If you're going for a more natural look, water-treated wood painted in natural colors such as black, green, or blue will allow the bird house to blend in to its environment.
  • If you'd rather attract the attention of lots of birds, select a bright-colored birdhouse, such as yellow or red.
Hanging Resin Sail Boat Birdhouse
Stylish Blue Yellow Hanging Birdhouse
Simple Birdhouse Constructed of MDF Wood
Brown Natural Wood Post Mounted Birdhouse
Yellow Tree Fort Natural Wood Birdhouse
Stone Cottage Birdhouse with Removable Clean Out Panel

What are some good materials for bird houses?

One of the main choices you'll have to make is the material out of which your bird house is made – which will depend on where you want to place the bird house and what environments it will be subjected to.

  • Wood: Wood can be a beautiful material for a bird house, but you will want to use it for birds without incredibly long or sharp beaks (avoid woodpeckers, in other words; owls might be a good choice) and it will be important to ensure that the wood is waterproofed so the bird house stands a chance of lasting for years to come.
  • Metal: Metal bird houses are likely good for warmer climates. In colder winters, metal will not offer much respite against the cold for birds, who may wish to burrow into something a little more comfortable.
  • Resin: Resin is a good choice for outdoor birdhouses which you wish to look as good as they perform! As an engineered composite which feels like plastic but can take on the look of stone or metal, resin can stand up to the elements in style.
  • Plastic: This lightweight material is ready for anything, although it may not be as decorative as you might hope. Plastic is a good choice if you're selecting your bird house less for aesthetics and more for productivity.
  • Ceramic: This may not be a good choice for larger birds, as ceramic is brittle and may shatter if subjected to a strong impact. However, for a more delicate look for smaller birds, ceramic is a lovely option.
Coastal Cottage White-washed Wood Birdhouse
Decorative Metal and Solid Wood Freestanding Birdhouse
Gray Brown Hanging Resin Birdhouse
PVC and Stainless Steel Post Mounted Birdhouse
Simple Minimalistic Ceramic Circle Birdhouse
Natural Red Cedar Post Mounted Birdhouse

What size bird houses should I get for different birds?

Pay careful attention to the types of birds that fly free in your community before you consider buying a bird house. The size you purchase will depend upon the types of birds you see!

If your community is populated with:

  • Small birds: Wrens, sparrows, swallows, finches, and other smaller birds should have a smaller bird house, measuring approximately 10"x8"x8" or similar.
  • Medium birds: Bluebirds, cardinals, purple martins and other slightly larger birds will do best in a bird house measuring 24"x15"x15" or a similar size.
  • Large birds: Owls and other larger birds will require a larger house – at least 34"x15"x15" overall.

What are 'comfort features' for bird houses?

When you're thinking about putting up some birds in style, it's a good idea to give some thought as to what birds want in a bird house---otherwise, there's a good chance that your birdhouse will remain empty. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:

  • The right size door: Think about the type of birds you see before you buy – a large bird simply won't be able to get into a smaller home. A 1.5" hole is the right size for small birds, such as cardinals, blue jays, songbirds, and blackbirds. Bigger birds, such as flickers, will need a 2.5" hole. Just remember that the bigger the hole, the greater the risk of predators gaining access to the birds.
  • Nesting materials: Place twigs, soft pieces of fabric, and odd bits of yarn in the bird house so the birds can easily make nests.
  • Perch. A perch installed next to the exit hole will encourage the birds to sit outside the birdhouse and give you more opportunities to see them as you're enjoying the afternoon on the porch.
  • A clean place to roost: Once a year, take the bird house down and scrub it out. Birds don't like slovenly environments any more than you do!

What are the different ways to mount bird houses?

The bird house you choose may depend upon what your resources are in terms of being able to hang the bird house properly. There are four general types of mounts for bird houses:

  • Hanging: These types of bird houses are suspended by a cord or a string from a point above them so they can swing gently in the wind. Only lighter birdhouses for smaller birds can be mounted this way.
Decorative Hanging Red Wooden Birdhouse
Tiny Solid and Manufactured Wood Hanging Birdhouse
Decorative Tropical Style Hanging Birdhouse
Red Blue Green Hanging Stylized on a Winery Birdhouse
Cute Wooden Hand-painted White Birdhouse
Green Wooden Country Style Hanging Birdhouse
  • Wall Mounted: Wall mounted birdhouses adhere to a wall on one full side and are open to birds on another. If you have a large wall with no windows or other obstructions, this may be a good choice.
Wall Mounted White Wooden Birdhouse
Blue Manufactured Wood Wall Mounted Birdhouse
Hand Crafted Solid Cypress Birdhouse
Solid Cellular Vinyl White Wall Mounted Birdhouse
Handcrafted Multi-color Wall Mounted Birdhouse
White Old-style Wall Mounted Birdhouse
  • Post Mounted: These types of windows stand on a post (much like a mailbox). Because of the direct support these types of bird houses can depend upon, larger and fancier options may be possible if you perch them on a post.
Gray White Castle Stylized Post Mounted Birdhouse
Solid and Manufactured Wood Blue Roof Birdhouse
Metal Plastic White PVC Post Mounted Birdhouse
White Blue Round Swallow Bluebird House
PVC Plastic Cardinal Sparrow Swallow Bluebird House
Solid Wood Natural Wood Grain Birdhouse
  • Freestanding: Freestanding bird houses simply sit upon a surface, much like a normal doll house might. The very largest birdhouses for the largest birds likely take advantage of this mounting option.

    If you have room for a post or a convenient wall for a bird house to hang upon, then those types of mounts may work well for your property.

Freestanding Solid Wood Iron Cardinal Sparrow House
Freestanding Elegant Eucalyptus White Birdhouse
Wooden Cypress Weather Resistant Birdhouse
Solid Wood and Metal Freestanding Birdhouse
Freestanding Handcrafted of Solid Cypress Birdhouse
Recycled Wood Hanging Freestanding Sparrow House

Quick Tip

Remember that the world is your oyster – you don't have to stop at just bird houses! Butterfly houses, bat houses, bumblebee houses and more can add whimsical variety to your yard.