Gourd Houses

Gold star reviews: Gourd Birdhouses, natural & manufactured to purchase here.

Are Number One With Wild Birds

Gourd houses for wild birds are the oldest bird houses used by man. They make excellent bird homes. Native North Americans were the first to craft gourds into bird houses to attract wild birds.

(You will find links to more info related to this topic in the right column or bottom of page.)

Top Rated Gourd Houses

Gourd birdhouses are so loved by wild birds. The number one problem though for a natural gourd abode, it is difficult to clean out at the end of the season. 

Man-made gourd styles have a door built-in to open for cleaning. Which is a nice feature. You will have to decide which is more important to you.

Advantages of Natural Gourd Houses

Studies have been conducted to determine which type of bird house material wild birds prefer.

It has been documented that Purple Martins prefer gourds, hands down, to any other bird house building material.

Many other species indicated a preference for natural gourd abodes too, making it the number one bird choice!

A larger compartment size at 10” to 12” in diameter. This makes for much roomier housing space which Purple Martins are proving to be attracted to more than traditional “apartment complexes”.

 Traditional Purple Martin Houses are built with 6” x 6” compartment size, which appears now not to be the ideal size.

Larger compartments provide drier nests, less crowded conditions and fewer predator problems which allow fledglings to remain in the nest until maturity.

The larger living space allows for more depth between the entrance hole and the floor of the home.

This makes a significant safety barrier against predation from House Sparrows, Starlings and Blackbirds, for all cavity nesting species.

Crescent Shaped Entrance Holes Serve A Purpose

There has been another discovery assisting in the battle against bird predators. It has been observed that Purple Martin houses that have entrance holes that are 2 inch crescent shaped, are less susceptible to predation. Starlings and Blackbirds find it difficult to navigate a hole this shape and size, but Purple Martins are able to use the entrance without difficulty.

Better Insulation as Bird Homes

Gourd houses provide better insulation properties all year.

They keep the warmth in during cold weather and the heat out during summer. (Wooden bird houses also have this same advantage.)

Metal, such as aluminium , has poor insulation properties. 

It is important to note that cold temperatures in May and June, several years ago caused high mortality rates in the Purple Martin population in the northern United States and Canada.

Perhaps paying attention to the differences in regional temperatures and the effect that has on bird house building materials is warranted.

Not Preferred By All Species

Many species of birds will choose gourd bird houses over other types as mentioned earlier, but interesting enough House Sparrows do not.

This is particularly good news for some people as House Sparrows have acquired a bad reputation over the years for their aggressive behaviour.

This dislike has been particularly accentuated as people assisted the Bluebird population over the past couple of decades, in its recovery from near extinction. The House Sparrow would often oust a Bluebird family from a bird box, which was set up as part of the recovery program, even killing the baby birds.

Colour Makes A Difference For Gourd Birdhouses

The natural colour of gourds are most often chosen first over other brightly painted bird houses.

But, it is also important to note, that gourds as a craft, have been the objects of beautiful artistic talent and still used by our feathered friends!

How Do Man-made Gourd Houses Compare?

    Bird houses made of wood and man-made gourds are also popular with our feathered friends.
    They come in second and third respectively as housing choices by many bird species. 
    (Just a reminder to those starting out as backyard bird watchers, not all bird species nest in cavities. Others prefer to build their nest on a branch or other location.)

    Man-made gourds are usually made from a type of plastic. They have the same size advantage as the natural gourd bird houses. The insulation properties are not as good as the natural gourds but better than aluminum.

What Type Of Wild Bird Will Use A Gourd House?

Swallows, Purple Martins and other social species of birds.

These species like to raise their young in close proximity to one another of the same species.

To accommodate these types of birds, gourds can be strung up on a line or a pole system with arms that provide a place to hang the gourds.

Hanging the gourds in clusters like this will support the setting these social birds thrive on.

Wrens, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, House Sparrows, Bluebirds, and some Finches are all cavity nesters who will use a gourd home. (Don't be surprised if some birds use your gourd for a place to roost and not bother to build a nest in it.

Learn about roosting boxes.) Most wild birds are territorial in their nesting habits. These cavity nester's will require 20 or 30 feet between their homes to be comfortable with their neighbours.

Some don’t mind being closer to different species, but they will adamantly drive others of their own kind out of their territory.

Knowing that putting up a gourd house will be the number one choice by many wild birds has a special satisfaction.

Become A Backyard Bird Expert

        Would you like to be a bird expert able to:

  • Know by sight all the birds that visit your backyard?
  • Identify the birds you hear on a walk?
  • Answer your Grandkids or friends question, "What bird is that?".

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More About Birdhouses Here or in Right Column

  • Roosting Boxes provide valuable shelter for birds at any time during the year for night time habitation.
  • Snags - Dead or dying trees create a snag which provide many necessary elements for wildlife survival, by supplying shelter for homes and safety from predators and food.
  • How To Attract Birds to a Bird House? - It does take a lot of patience sometimes to reap the benefits of bird watching with a bird house. But then again we can be pretty choosy about where we live too.

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