How To Attract Birds to a Bird House

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How To Attract Birds to a Bird House

Kevin, a Wild Bird Scoop reader asked, how can we attract birds to our birdhouse? 

Or if there is a link to a page on your web site that would be helpful.

For the last few years now, I have been putting birdhouses out around our back yard in the city.

We have many different birds that fly into our bird feeders all the time. They are lovely to see and our two grandgirls (3 and 4) love them too.

Problem is that over the last few years we have never had any type of bird make their home in our birdhouses. They are all over the green area in the back of our home.

A bird house that looks like a barrel on a cart with holes cut out on the end for the bird to get inside the barrel. Sitting on a 2x4 post.
A log cabin looking bird house.

This spring I even tried not putting any food out for them hoping they would make the birdhouses their home by hoping to get some food. Guess what…Even that did not work.

There have been robins in two of the trees that made their home in the maple trees. Nests are built in the center of the trees. But NEVER any birds making their home in these new birdhouses.

My neighbor gave me two birdhouses that he had luck with. But still, no one is moving in. His have been out in the trees, this will be the third year.

The birdhouses have been painted on the outside only. I am thinking that maybe trying some next spring again that are not painted. Maybe that will help.

I have them out all year long. But would put any new ones out in the fall.

I know that it is not the time of expecting any new tenants moving in right now as we are moving into the month of June.

But we would like to know what you would do to achieve success with a new, rent-free, home in a tree, anywhere from 6 ft to 12 feet off the ground, with different sizes, and different size front doors?

We would like to put an ad in the WIND or Have our Wind Chimes send out bird signals to attract a new family to make one home.

When it does happen, will the same birds come back next year?

Thanks in advance for any help.


7 Tips to Attract Wild Birds to a Bird House

Hi Kevin

Thank you for asking!

It does take a lot of patience sometimes to reap the benefits of bird watching.

There are many reasons why you may not have had success yet. The tenants you are trying to attract can be very picky!

I will try to help you out with these 7 tips:

  1. Not all wild birds nest in a cavity which is what a birdhouse provides. Robin’s will not nest in a house or natural cavity because they prefer a shelf or tree branch to build their nest on.
    Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Wrens, and some other types of wild birds will use a natural cavity or a birdhouse to nest in.
  2. The birdhouse must be the right size for the nest that particular bird prefers and the entrance hole (as you mentioned) must be the preferred size too. So not all birdhouses are suitable for all cavity-nesting birds.
  3. It will help, not hinder, to have bird feeders in your yard. This way they may notice the house when they come to your bird feeder.
  4. Birdhouses should not be closer than 20 to 30 feet from a bird feeder or another house. No one likes to have the neighborhood dining next to your bedroom. ? Or have another family next door as wild birds are very territorial.
  5. It is important that your birdhouse be cleaned out every year.
  6. A consideration as well is that birdhouses are also used as roosting boxes which simply provide needed shelter.
  7. Paint should always be used only on the outside (as you mentioned) and be non-toxic.

I hope this has been helpful. (More help below too!)

Happy birding!

More About Bird Houses

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Building Bird Houses that Get the Movers Hired Whether you build decorative houses or plainly functional, all will serve a purpose and I have seen a wide variety of bird homes used by our feathered friends over the years.

Are You a Bird House Real Estate Expert? Take the Quiz! Test your knowledge on what makes a great birdhouse.

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