List of Differences Between Roosting Boxes & Bird Houses:
Instead, of an opening near the top of the front, the birds enter the
box via an opening near the bottom. This “basement” entrance serves two
Wind cannot blow into the chamber and fall down into the box to fill it up with snow like in a traditional birdhouse.
The larger space at the top half of the box collects warmer air as heat rises making a more comfortable place for wild birds to shelter.
A box made for roosting does not have air vents at the top to let out excessive heat which are necessary in a bird house to prevent harm to baby birds by over heating. For a roosting box most of the time it is a positive not to have air vents to keep the body heat produced by the birds trapped inside the box.
Wild birds will need a spot to perch inside the box. This can be
achieved by inserting perches in a staggered pattern up each side of the
inside of the box. Or small branches and twigs can be arranged inside
the box to provide resting spots for the birds to perch on.
Positive Features Common To Both Types of Bird Boxes
There are also features which are beneficial when building bird houses and roosting shelters for both to possess.
Like a bird house, a box for roosting should not
have a perch located at the outside entrance as this only makes it easier for predators to enter. If you can’t resist
installing a perch, attach a short, stubby one. A short stubby perch will be too small to assist most
predators. Birds which use a bird house or a roosting box will have no problem getting in or out without a perch at the front door.
Another important feature for a roosting shelter, as well as a bird house, is the ability to be able to clean it out from time to time. Making it possible to open one side, the roof or the bottom, is a real plus.
Sometimes people choose, when nesting season is
over, to put away their bird house until the following spring. Or perhaps you could leave it out as it might also be used for roosting in.
roosting shelter can be left up all year. It will need to be cleaned out
two or three times per year depending on the amount of visitors it
No doubt, from time to time it may be chosen as a location for
nest building. This of course is not a problem.
You may wish to set up
another wild bird shelter in another corner of your yard for the
Tips For Locating Wild Bird Shelters in the Backyard
Mount them in a position in your yard in close proximity to your
feeders. “Close proximity” in this situation is not closer than 20 feet.
This enables our feathered friends to dart back and forth from their
safe haven to find food to sustain themselves in the cold weather.
it provides a comfortable distance for the “sleepers” to not feel uneasy
about the “diners” down the hall.
Mount the bird box with the entrance facing the opposite direction to the direction your prevailing winds come from. This will protect your wild birds who are inside from inclement weather coming inside the box. (This is a good tip for all bird abodes you are putting up.)
How to Convert Bird Houses Into Roosting Boxes?
You can turn a bird house
into a place for roosting only too. After nesting season is over, a bird house can be converted easily. Although some types convert better than others.
This renovation can be done by mounting the bird house
upside down to position the entrance near the bottom of the box.
The air vents will need to be sealed to prevent heat loss.
Bluebird houses convert best for this purpose.
If the front of
a bluebird house has a little over-hang and there is danger of water
being directed into the box, then cut the over-hang off.
The front piece can be unscrewed and flipped, so the hole is at the top for cavity nesting birds to use as a nesting box.
(The box featured at the top of this page can be used in the same way.)
In the early
spring a piece of wood long enough to allow over-hang can be attached on
top by screwing it on.
This way it will be easy to remove in the fall to make it into a roosting box again.
It will also be necessary to insert a few branches or twigs into the box to
provide perches for the birds to sit on when using an upside-down bird
house as a place to roost.
wild bird shelters rounds out the experience of observing wild bird
behaviour. You will see them exhibit behaviour that will be fascinating
Of course bird houses will often be used just as they are as places to roost by wild birds. They are just not as efficient at holding the heat inside. Cleaning them out, plugging the air vents and inserting a few twigs will help.
Roosting Pockets Also Provide Night Time Shelters
Roosting pockets provide a small space for a couple of small birds to spend the night.
They may get used for raising young too!
After a season of roosting or nesting they will need to be cleaned out carefully as the opening is small and the only way to clean it out is through the entrance hole.
Don't forget the bedding for your roosting boxes. Some clean, dry grass will work well.