Did you know that not every bird uses a birdhouse? In fact, only cavity nesting birds use birdhouses. Examples of cavity nesting birds are purple martins, bluebirds, chickadees, wrens, the American kestrel, the ash-throated flycatcher, barn owls, and the common golden-eye. These birds will build a nest in a birdhouse that you place in your garden or lawn. Other birds, such as robins, build nests in trees; therefore they will not nest in your birdhouse.
Once you have decided that you want to put up a birdhouse in your garden, you should think about what kinds of birds you are hoping to attract.
Many birds have specific requirements for the height and the size of the opening that they choose to build their nests. Once such bird is the wren. Birdhouses for wrens should have openings that are 1.5 inches in diameter, and the houses themselves must be mounted from five to ten feet in the air.
Another bird with a definite birdhouse specifications is the chickadee. There are many birds that are commonly referred to as LBB’s (little brown birds) Chickadees might easily fall into this category if it were not for their black cap and bib, and bright white cheeks.
When it comes to chickadee birdhouses, they should be placed between five and fifteen feet in the air. Not only that, but the amount of sunlight and the direction of the wind must be taken into consideration. Birdhouses for chickadees should receive from forty to sixty percent sunlight and the openings of the houses should face away from prevailing winds. Speaking of openings, for chickadee birdhouses, the opening should be 1.125 inches in diameter. This is the perfect size for this small bird. Prepare the bird house by putting a 1″ thick layer of wood shavings into the box to simulate what a chickadee would encounter in an abandoned woodpecker home. It is important that you use clean wood shavings, and not sawdust, cedar chips, nor any treated woods. As far as the landscaping around a chickadee home, these birds prefer having large trees around. Normally, they nest at the boundaries of the open areas and the forest. Chestnut-backed chickadees, in particular, like to be near streams. However, remember this important fact: Don’t ever mount a birdhouse directly above a body of water. This is important to keep in mind to keep the baby birds safe. If a baby bird were to fall or jump out of its nest and land in the water, it would drown.
Bluebirds also prefer the border between open grasslands and woods. Birdhouses for these birds actually follow very strict guidelines. People often create a bluebird trail, mounting houses for these birds a certain distance apart from one another. You may not have seen a bluebird. Interestingly, these birds used to be as common as robins, but their population has been drastically reduced due to natural and man-made events.
For as exacting as the requirements on bluebird houses, the requirements for purple martin’s requirements are even more so. These birds nest in colonies. There are specially designed purple martin houses made just for them. These birdhouses can be constructed out of aluminum or plastic, have openings that are circular or crescent shaped, and have roomy interiors. You must put purple martin houses at specific heights in large open fields.