We all want to escape the rat race and get inspired by nature; what better way than installing a birdhouse or nest box so that you can listen to the magical songs and chirps of birds in your garden? But how do you attract birds to a birdhouse?
You can attract birds to a birdhouse by ensuring that your garden provides adequate food, water, and shelter. They also need to be protected from dangerous predators like cats, raccoons, and squirrels. Different types of birdboxes will attract different kinds of bird species.
Whether your ‘sound’ of choice is the song of a Bluebird or the whistle of a Great Crested Flycatcher, read on to find out how you can attract these beauties to your garden.
How Can You Attract Birds to a Birdhouse?
If you’re an avid bird lover and watcher, there is no easier way to attract them to your garden than installing birdhouses or nest boxes. These houses are perfect when it comes to birds who prefer nesting in cavities.
Although most birds have no problem building their nests in shrubs or trees, it’s often not that easy for the 85 species that prefer nesting and raising their young in burrows, rock crevices, and natural cliffs. That’s where you can make a difference.
Once you’ve installed this supposed haven, you need to make sure that you attract possible residents. Let’s have a look at the different ways in which you can attract birds to your birdhouse:
1 – Using Food
You can attract birds to a birdhouse by enticing them with food. You will easily win them over by ensuring that all food feeders around your garden are constantly filled with seeds or treats from the kitchen.
Keep in mind that not all birds feed off hanging feeders. The Sparrow, for example, forages on the ground, so be sure to scatter some food and seeds on a flat surface in your garden.
If they know that your garden is a never-ending food source, they probably won’t think twice about nesting and raising their young in the nearby nest box.
Here is a look at kitchen snacks you can use to attract the different species:
|Apples||Eastern Bluebird Red-bellied Woodpecker||Remove the seeds, and slice up. Cut them in half. Remove the seeds, and fill them with sugar water.|
|Eggshells||Swallows Any bird eating seeds||Bake cleaned shells for 15 minutes at 250 degrees. Crush them up and mix with seeds or place on a dish.|
|Peanut Butter||Nuthatch Red-headed Woodpecker||Add a dollop to any dried-out empty fruit or vegetable like an orange or grapefruit.|
Bug-eating birds, like the Bluebird and Nuthatch, also love dried or live mealworms. These mealworms are excellent sources of nutrition, especially when food is scarce during the colder months.
2 – Using Water
Apart from ensuring that there is always food available, birds also need a regular source of water. So, if you want to attract them to a birdhouse, you need to install a feature from which they can drink water.
Depending on your personal taste, this water source can be either a pedestal birdbath or one that is placed on the ground. The birdbath mustn’t be slippery and not deeper than three inches.
Here’s an interesting YouTube video with great ideas on how to keep your garden birds hydrated.
Some birds are reluctant to drink from a birdbath, so a water mister is another excellent alternative.
3 – Providing Shelter
You can provide shelter for birds by ensuring your garden is a lush haven of vines, shrubs, tall grasses, and trees.
You can even do your bit with recycling by piling your old Christmas tree’s branches over a few logs, which will be great for providing shelter to ground-loving birds.
Fall is the perfect time to plant some shrubs that will provide shelter for garden birds looking to move into a birdhouse once nesting time arrives. Just remember to do your homework and plant only shrubs that are native to your area.
Ensuring Birds’ Safety When Attracting Them to a Birdhouse
Birds will never move into birdhouses if they feel unsafe, so you need to protect them from predators. You can follow various techniques to keep your garden birds safe from cats, raccoons, and squirrels.
- Place a metal plate over the entrance hole of the birdhouse so that it is small enough only to allow birds to enter and exit;
- Make an extended entrance with a piece of pipe 2-3 inches (5-8 cm);
- Install metal baffles above and below the birdhouse;
- Remove the perch if the birdhouse has one so that predators can’t use it as a handhold;
- Mount the birdhouse in the correct place. The ideal position is 10-12 feet above the ground and away from trees or buildings that predators can use to jump off from. Also, never place a birdhouse near a fence or trellis that can bring predators closer to the nest box;
- Ensure that you regularly dispose of trash and cover compost piles; otherwise, predators will always lurk nearby;
- Ensure that your garden has plenty of shrubs and bushes with thorns, strong odors, and sharp edges;
Choosing the Right Birdhouse to Attract Birds
Early spring is perfect for installing a birdhouse. But if you plan to attract a specific type of bird, you need a particular kind of birdhouse.
Here are some birdhouse guidelines for two of the most popular nesting species:
Base: 4 x 4 inches or 4 x 6 inches
Height: 8 inches
Hole: 1-1/8 inches; centered; 6 inches above the floor
Color: Earthy tone
Placement: 5-10 inches’; on a post or in a hanging tree
Height: 5-1/2 x 5-1/2 x 10 inches
Hole: 1-1/2 inches; centered; 6 inches above the floor
Color: Earthy tone
Placement: 5-10 inches; needs to face an open field.
Install a birdhouse if you want your garden filled with the sounds and songs of beautiful feathered creatures. Just make sure that you attract them by providing water, food, and shelter in your garden.
In no time, you’ll be listening to the adorable chirps of off-spring while marveling at the parents playing and bathing in delight.