For bird lovers across the world, birdhouses are a great way to give birds a safe place to lay their eggs and rear their young. A well-located birdhouse also lets you keep an eye on the parent birds as they feed the young, and you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the fledglings! When you hang a birdhouse, aim to keep the birds safe from predators and to situate the birdhouse at an angle you can easily observe. Purchase a birdhouse from a local hardware store, or pick up a few supplies and make your own.
EditChoosing a Mounting Structure
- Mount the birdhouse on a metal pole for complete protection. No predator on the planet will be able to climb up a metal pole and eat the eggs out of the birdhouse. So, situating the birdhouse at the top of a metal pole (which you can purchase at a hardware or home-improvement store) will keep the birds safe.
- Mounting the birdhouse on a metal pole gives an additional benefit. Since you can drive the pole wherever you like in your front- or backyard, you have complete control over the birdhouse’s location.
- Place the birdhouse on a brick surface if one is near your home. If you have brick siding on your home or, for example, an old brick wall nearby, try hanging the birdhouse on this surface. Brick is difficult for predators to climb up since it’s quite hard and resistant to their claws. Unless the brick wall is lower than , birds will be safe in a house mounted on brick.
- In most cases, you can drive nails directly into brick without causing structural harm.
- Hang the birdhouse on smooth wooden siding for a convenient option. If you don’t have any brick surfaces near your home and prefer to keep things simple, hang the birdhouse on a section of smooth siding on your home or a shed. Predators like skunks or weasels won’t be able to scamper up the siding, and the birds and their eggs will be safe.
- A downside to this approach is that it may be difficult to see the birds if the birdhouse is hung on a wall with no windows nearby.
- Locate a birdhouse with a small entrance hole on a fence post. Unless they are very smooth, fence posts are relatively easy for lightweight predators to climb up. However, you can work around this problem by only hanging birdhouses with an entrance hole smaller than in diameter on fence posts. Even the smallest of predators will find it challenging to slip through this small of a hole.
- Be aware that this size of hole will also prevent larger birds from building a nest in the birdhouse. Smaller birds like nuthatches and chickadees will have no problem fitting in the hole, though.
- This may be a good option if you live in a rural area with many fences, or if you don’t have any wooden siding or brick walls near your home.
- Situate the birdhouse on a tree if you have no other options. Driving long nails or screws into a living tree can cause serious damage, so avoid hanging a birdhouse on a tree if other options are available. If you have no other choices, use as few screws as possible to hang the birdhouse. Find a tree with a diameter larger than , and remember to dispose of the screws if you decide to take down the birdhouse.
- While hanging a birdhouse on a tree will damage the tree, it will still provide a safer nesting location for birds than if they had to make do with a natural nesting location.
EditPositioning the Birdhouse
- Hang the birdhouse between above the ground. If the birdhouse is mounted too low, it may be vulnerable to predators; too high, and many species of bird won’t want to live in it. Mounting the house high will attract a number of bird species, and also allow you to watch the birds without having to strain your neck.
- Smaller birds often favor lower nests. For example, if you’re hoping to have wrens, chickadees, or nuthatches nest in your birdhouse, hang the house at exactly .
- Situate your birdhouse so it faces east to keep it warm. In nearly all climates, having your birdhouse face east is best for the birds. If you don’t know which direction is east where you live, use a compass to find out. If facing the birdhouse east isn’t a possibility due to the location of your house or yard, facing the birdhouse to the south is the second-best option since south-facing birdhouses will receive more sunlight than houses that face north.
- An east-facing birdhouse will catch the first rays of morning sun, warming the birds after a chilly night. Hot afternoon rays of sun coming from the west will hit the closed back of the birdhouse and not overheat the birds.
- Point the birdhouse’s entrance so it faces a food source for fledglings. When the birds’ eggs hatch and the young emerge from the nest, they’ll need to find food. So, point the front of the birdhouse towards an open area that borders on bushes, shrubs, and trees where the young birds can find food.
- Ideally, potential food sources should be less than away from the birdhouse.
- Locate the birdhouse away from bird feeders and baths. Bird feeders and bird baths both tend to draw in predators, which quickly learn that the congregated birds make a great food source. To protect the bird eggs and fledglings from predators (e.g., gray squirrels), do not hang a birdhouse near feeders or bird baths. Hang birdhouses at least away from feeders or baths.
- It’s possible to have both a bird feeder or bath and a birdhouse, as long as you’re smart about where you locate them. For example, try setting the feeder on your front porch and hanging the birdhouse on a tree in your backyard.
- Space multiple birdhouses out by at least . While some bird species don’t mind having multiple nests close together, other species will refuse to use a birdhouse if it’s too near another nest. To avoid this problem, hang multiple birdhouses about away from one another.
- To achieve this, try to hang the houses on multiple types of surfaces. For example, hang 1 on a pole in your front yard, 2 more on opposite sides of your home, and a final 1 on a brick wall in your backyard.
EditMounting Against Flat Surfaces
- Mark 2 spots at the center of the birdhouse’s extended back wall. Most birdhouses—whether purchased or made—have a back wall that measures above and below the birdhouse. To mount the house, you’ll drive screws through this and into the surface you’re hanging the house on. Use a ruler to measure the width of the back wall and mark the halfway point.
- So, if the back wall of the birdhouse measures across, mark a small “X” at the mark on the top of the extended back. Repeat the process and mark another “X” on the bottom of the extended back.
- Position the birdhouse against the surface where you’d like to hang it. Walk out into your yard and hold the birdhouse against the wooden siding, brick wall, or other surface where you’d like to hang it. Look behind the “X” markings to make sure there aren’t any metal bits or stones that could damage your screws.
- It’s fine to hang the birdhouse on a dead tree using large screws, as long as the tree is relatively sturdy and not rotten.
- Screw the tips of screws into the 2 “X” marks. Position the tip of 1 screw at each of the pencil markings. Tap the head of each screw 2–3 times with a hammer to set the point in place. Then, give each screw 6–10 turns with a Philips head screwdriver to bury the tip in the wood.
- Since it’s difficult to hold the birdhouse with 1 hand and set the screws in place with the other, ask a friend or family member to help you with this step.
- Drive the screws in using a power drill with a Philips head attachment. Set the head of the attachment in the slot of the screws to tighten them. Make sure to hold the drill level and drive the screws straight into the backing. Tighten the screws until the screw heads are flush with the wood of the birdhouse backing to keep the birdhouse firmly in place.
- Although you’ll have to remove the 2 screws if you want to take down or clean the birdhouse, the screws will hold the structure firmly in place.
EditMounting on a Pole
- Purchase a screw-on birdhouse and a diameter pole. It’s best to purchase this type of birdhouse rather than making it. The house should have a diameter threaded hole in its bottom so it can screw on top of the pole. Purchase a pole that’s at least tall and that has an auger at the bottom to make it easier to drive deep into the soil of your yard.
- You can find these items at a large hardware store, a home-improvement store, or a bird-supply shop.
- An auger is a large metal screw (it looks like a huge corkscrew) that comes out of the bottom of the metal pole. Augers are typically long.
- If you can’t find a pole with an auger already attached, purchase the auger separately and insert the base of the pole into the top of the auger.
- Twist the pole clockwise to drive the pole and auger into the ground. Select a location in your front or back yard that’s easily visible from 1 or more windows. Set the point of the auger in the ground. Then, twist the pole clockwise to drive it into the ground as deep as the auger is long. If the pole has 3 or 4 “legs” that will stabilize it once it’s in the ground, you can hold on to these to give yourself more leverage as you twist.
- If you have a metal pole without an auger attached, you can just drive it into the ground. However, it will be a more wobbly setup than if you’d used an auger.
- Turn the birdhouse clockwise to screw the birdhouse onto the pole. Once the pole is firmly in place, it’s time to set the birdhouse on top. Line the hole on the bottom of the house up with the top of the pole. Make sure the house is balanced, and slowly turn the birdhouse clockwise until it’s tightly in place on top of the pole.
- If you’d like to adjust the direction that the birdhouse is facing after it’s screwed onto the top of the pole, you should be able to turn the pole clockwise or counterclockwise in the ground.
- Whenever you want to clean the birdhouse, you simply need to turn it counterclockwise to loosen the threads and unscrew the house.
EditThings You’ll Need
EditMounting Against Flat Surfaces
- 2 screws
- Philips head screwdriver
- Electric drill
- Philips head attachment
- Compass (optional)
EditMounting on a Pole
- Screw-on birdhouse
- diameter pole
- Metal auger
- If you’re hanging a birdhouse on a metal pole, locate it at least away from any low-hanging branches, large rocks, or other objects that a crafty predator could leap from to gain access to the birdhouse.
- If you’re worried that some of your birdhouses may go unused because of their proximity to other birdhouses, try mounting them in locations where one birdhouse isn’t visible from another.
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