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How to Attract a Bird to a Birdhouse

posted by Chris Valentine

Ever wanted to attract birds near your home?

Birdhouses are a perfect way to attract birds and let them stay for the winter. It’s a great nesting ground for wild birds to protect themselves and their hatchlings against the weather and predators.

Read on to learn how to attract a bird to a birdhouse. Include them in your backyard with these tips.

Find A Good Nesting Area

If you’re trying to learn how to attract a bird to a birdhouse, start by finding a nesting location. Birds are picky creatures since they need to find the right area to build a nest. They need a place where their food source is close, and their babies can learn to fly.

Depending on the bird’s breed, their preferences may differ. Most birds look for a secure and safe spot that’s hidden and sheltered from external elements. You need to take account of the needs and preferences of the type of bird you’re trying to attract.

For instance, bluebirds love open fields where they can feed on insects and feed their young. On the other hand, chickadees love the opposite. They prefer houses with plenty of shrubs and small trees.

Avoid going for the open apartment birdhouses on a pole. It may look aesthetic, but it may not be a good idea if you don’t know the kind of birds in your area. You should research more about the birds in your area, then decide what type of birdhouse you should build.

Build the Best Birdhouse Design

In addition to proper habitats, different types of birds need the best bird houses that fit them. A general design you should find is one with thick walls with holes for drainage and ventilation. It should also include a sloped and extended roof to keep out the rain.

Here are some of the most common nesting birds and their desired habitat:


Carolina wrens and house wrens are the easiest among the wild birds to attract. House wrens like their houses hanging on a small tree in the center of a yard. Carolina wrens love going into birdhouses that are well hidden in their natural habitat.

Wrens can fit well in a 4″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ base and 8″ high with a 1-1/8″ entrance hole. The birdhouse should stay between three feet to ten feet above the ground. Keep in mind that house wrens don’t like having other wrens close to them.


Bluebird likes single-room birdhouses that have to be 50 to 75 feet apart. The house should be 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ x 10″ with a 1-1/2″ entrance hole. Build a house that has extra protection against rain and predators.

As stated earlier, bluebirds love open areas, so it’s better to place the birdhouse on a post facing an open field. The birdhouse should stay four feet to six feet off the ground. Since their population is declining, include a cone-shaped predator baffle to observe the nest box’s activity.

Purple Martin

Purple martins love to live in groups of the same species and with other types of birds. To attract purple martins, you need an apartment-style birdhouse in a grassy lawn or field. Each room should 6″ x 6″ x 6″ each with a 2-1/2″ entrance hole.

The house should be at least 15 feet to 20 feet above the ground, in the open. It would be best if you also placed the birdhouse near a water source.


Some types of woodpeckers would seldom stay in birdhouses. Go for a 7″ x 7″ x 18″ high birdhouse with a 2-1/2″ entrance hole. It can house northern flickers, red-headed, and downy woodpeckers.


Robins, swallows, and phoebes rarely go to birdhouses. However, they do love nesting on shelves and ledges where people rarely go to. You can attract these birds by building a platform with a border around it.

It should also have a back piece to attach it to your porch and under an eave. Birds like cardinals, blue jays, and doves may also use the platform as a nesting platform.

Clean the Birdhouse Regularly

A dirty birdhouse will drive away birds since it won’t look safe for the birds and their hatchlings. Bacteria, fungus, rodents, and insects may invade the birdhouses. It raises the chances of spreading diseases to the nesting birds.

The best time to clean the birdhouses is in early August and December. It’s the time where birds find the best nesting ground where they can stay for the month. Make sure you remove any old nesting materials and scrape out old feces and clumped matter.

Start scrubbing the birdhouse with a solution that’s one part chlorine bleach and nine parts water. Get the corners, drainage, entrance hole, and ventilation holes. Rinse the house in clean water for a few minutes, then dry in direct sunlight for a few hours.

It helps break down the remaining chemicals and chlorine to avoid growing molds. Check for any loose hinges, screws, and nails that may injure the birds. See if the drainage and ventilation holes don’t have anything obstructing them.

Pick the Food that Birds Love

The final step in attracting a bird to a birdhouse is the food. The diet of birds depends on their species and their nutritional needs. However, birds would generally enjoy these types of foods:

  • Worms, insects, and grubs
  • Pollen and nectar
  • Grass, seeds, and other plant material
  • Small animals like snakes and rodents
  • Berries, nuts, and fruit

Avoid feeding bread in large qualities since it can become an unhealthy and empty filter. Don’t give foods with coconuts because it can inflate a bird’s stomach. Try not to give cooked oats and sugary treats since it can solidify around their beaks.

How to Attract a Bird to a Birdhouse

If you want to make your property welcome for birds, building a birdhouse isn’t enough. You need to learn what the birds in your area like and shape your birdhouse to their needs. Use this guide to learn how to attract a bird to a birdhouse today!

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