is ideal, with cedar being the best
overall choice. Metal is
discouraged because it can get
hot and doesn't offer good
Screws hold more securely than
nails as the wood expands and
contracts. Don't paint or stain
the inside surface, and leave it
rough to help the nestlings climb
out when it's time to fledge. Don't
add perches, they only help
predatory birds enter the house.
Clean Boxes Frequently
Since you will want to clean the
nesting box after each brood, and
at the end of the season, use
rust-proof hinges to allow a side,
the front, or the top to be opened.
Excess heat and moisture are
deadly for baby birds, so be sure
that there is ventilation near the
top (two 5/8" holes) and drainage
at the bottom (four 3/8" holes).
Having the sides enclose the base
keeps rain from seeping in.
A tight roof also keeps rain out,
and at least a 2" overhang will
prevent water from blowing in the
entrance and cats from reaching
in from the top.
When mounted, the nesting box
opening must not tip upwards at
all or rain can enter and drown the
Installing your nesting box while
leaves are still on the trees lets
you see what amounts of sunlight
and shade you can expect. Giving
it some time to "weather" before
spring makes it more attractive to
birds. The nesting box should be
near sources of food and water,
and be accessible enough for you
to clean it out.
A good way to mount a box to a
tree is to use lag bolts and
washers so that they can be
loosened to let the tree grow as
An 18" collar of smooth metal
placed about 5' off the ground
offers some protection from
predators. If the tree is young,
monitor this collar so that it
doesn't become too tight.
Poles Are Good
For Mounting Boxes
Nesting boxes can also be
mounted on posts or poles, and a
cone-shaped collar below the
house can help safeguard the
nestlings. A metal pole is more
effective than wood as a deterrent
to snakes and other climbing
Bluebirds are one of the species
that is territorial, so their houses
need to be placed at least 100
yards apart. They are accepting of
human activity and, as insect-
eaters, bluebirds are one of the

Homes for Birds:

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