Building a birdhouse to attract birds

Filed Under: Crafts, DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Gardens    by: ITC

Building a birdhouse in your area for the wild birds helps replace part of the natural habitat lost due to the environmental problems caused by development around most industrial cities, where pollution has reached alarming proportions. People that love the companionship of birds will also find this activity fun and rewarding. While constructing a birdhouse can be as simple as four walls, a roof and a floor, there are many things you would need to consider.

These things come down to size, materials, holes and placement. Wood should be regarded as the best building material (pin, cedar and fir), with aluminum coming close. No other metals are a good option since they would become extremely hot when exposed to the sun. Birdhouses can be made from a mixture of concrete and wood called “woodcrete.” Blue Tits, Great Tits and Tree Sparrows prefer these woodcrete bird houses. Birds nesting in these houses have a shorter incubation period and higher rate of reproductive success, possibly because these synthetic nests were warmer than the wooden bird houses.

The size of the bird house and that of the entrance hole should be related to the types of birds you would want to attract. Entrance holes should be near the top of the box and according to the size of the bird which will use the house. The hole dimension is a critical part in birdhouse building, because if it’s too small the bird species you chose to build the house for will not be able to get inside it. If it’s too large it would allow bigger, more aggressive birds to nest in it. Bird houses should have the interior walls roughened or have ladders to help the young birds in climbing to the opening.

Make it easier to clean after the nesting season by leaving one side of the birdhouse open. The roof is best to be slanted with an overhang of five to six inches, keeping predators from getting inside the birdhouse. It also protects the birds from driving rain. A good option would be to place the birdhouses at locations inaccessible to natural predators. You can make some adjustments to the birdhouses called “predator guards,” which would make it more difficult for a predator to reach inside of the nest. One such adjustment would be a simple additional piece of wood at the entrance hole adding “depth,” and making it harder for a predator to reach inside.

Birdhouses should be placed within 1/4 an acre, because some birds insist on territorial rights, and you could end up with empty birdhouses if they are built too close. Another thing to keep in mind is to paint the birdhouses in natural colors to attract more birds. Especially avoid dark paint as it absorbs heat.

Building a birdhouse is rewarding when you can sit and watch, as birds fill their newly made homes. Just remember to keep the birds’ lives in perspective when building their homes.

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