So, you want to place a birdhouse on your property? Whether you're hankering for a bluebird house or wishing to create a cute place for a nesting chickadee to raise her family, placing a bird house in your yard is a great idea. But in order to ensure nesting birds are safe, happy and comfortable, you must carefully select the correct birdhouse location, orientation and placement. So, which direction should a birdhouse face? In this article, we'll help you determine all that... and a whole lot more.
Bird houses compensate for habitat loss
While birdhouses are fun and cute, they're also really, really important. In fact, bird houses are essential in compensating for rampant habitat loss for the vast majority of bird species. Recently, the American Bird Conservancy named habitat loss the most significant contributor to declining bird populations. At the hands of urbanization, deforestation, logging, swamp-draining and more, birds are struggling to find a safe place to nest and call home.
You can help solve this problem by providing birds with nesting boxes, but you'll need to do so safely.
What direction should a birdhouse face?
A birdhouse and its entrance hole should face away from prevailing winds. In the United States, it's very common for a birdhouse to face east, which is often faced away from the prevailing wind and the strong afternoon sun.
Not sure how to determine the direction of dominant winds? It's simple! You can just set up a weather vane--or step outside!--throughout the day, over a period of time. Checking a weather app can also let you know what direction the wind tends to blow in your area. You can use compass orientation on your phone to make sure you pick the right direction.
Once you determine the direction of your garden or yard's dominant wind, hang your birdhouse away from that direction. For more information on how to hang a birdhouse, checkout our exhaustive guide!
How to pick a location for your birdhouse
Aside from facing your entry hole away from strong wind, you'll also want to carefully select a location for your birdhouse. There may seem like there are plenty of areas to place a birdhouse--like all those trees!--but in reality, the criteria for where to hang a birdhouse is quite strict.
Whether you choose to affix your birdhouses to tree trunks or hang them on a specialty pole, here are some tips to consider:
Distance from bird feeders and bird baths
If you have bird feeders, bird baths or other birdhouses on your property, place your new nest box away from these amenities. There should be at least six or seven feat of distance from baths and feeders, and way more, if possible. While it may sound convenient to have your dining room right by your bedroom, birds prefer distance between their resting place and their food source.
If you already have a bird house on your property, you'll need to place any new nesting boxes about 100 feet away from the older birdhouse. Most birds do not like to nest near other nests, although there are some exceptions.
Peace, quiet and privacy
Nesting birds want security and seclusion. They're looking for a low-traffic area free of people and predators. Anywhere your dog plays or your gardener plows should be considered non-viable locations for a birdhouse.
And, sometimes, a front or backyard just isn't a safe place for a birdhouse. For example, properties on golf courses are usually unsafe for birds or birdhouses, unless there are safety nets in place.
Birdhouses should be placed at a height of at least five feet above ground. Adequate elevation ensures birds and their nests are protected from most predators on the ground.
Some species do have particular preferences for the height of their home. Species like wrens and chickadees enjoy birdhouses at a standard elevation of 5 feet. Bluebirds prefer 6 feet. Purple martins like 10 to 12 feet!
There is a lot of information on how to attract specific types of bird species to your yard, so don't be afraid to do a little Googling if you're dead-set on attracting certain varieties, like house sparrows, meadows, tree swallows, or mourning doves.
However, there's usually no need to exceed a height of 12 feet when placing a birdhouse.
A safe entrance hole away from prevailing winds
For extra protection from predators, choose an entrance hole that's an appropriate size. This should keep most predators out of the nesting box, whether they walk, fly or climb.
As stated before, most entry holes face east, or whatever way is opposite strong wind.
A sturdy mount
For a safe and secure birdhouse, nest boxes should be properly affixed to a metal pole, fence post, brick wall, house siding, building facade, or even trees or a tree trunk. You can also hang a birdhouse from a tree, but ensure you choose a sturdy branch that's well-located and offers refuge from predators.
If you choose to mount a birdhouse to a pole, make sure that you've taken the proper precautions to squirrel-proof the birdhouse. Same goes for trees!
Attracting birds to your birdhouse
While safely and smartly placing a birdhouse will certainly help attract house wrens, bluebirds and woodpeckers to your home, there's even more you can do ensure local birds flock to your outdoor space.
While birds are not picky about the color of their birdhouse, neutral and camouflage-colored birdhouses can help further protect birds from predators. You can learn even more about what color to paint a birdhouse to attract birds here.
Building or buying a bird house
Whether you choose to build a bird house yourself, or buy one from a store, there are a variety of awesome DIY ideas and gorgeous, prefabricated birdhouses for you to choose from.
At Happy Gardens, we have a wide selection of birdhouses for every style of gardener. Our selection is so loved that Oprah even added it to her holiday gift list. Handcrafted using safe, high-quality materials, there's something for everyone.
Whether you're a bluebird aficionado or don't care at all which types of bird nest in your birdhouses, selecting the right nesting box is always the first step. If you're having trouble picking out a safe, beautiful birdhouse, our Happy Gardens team is here to help! We can even assist with placement tips and ideas!
When buying a birdhouse, or even selecting a DIY project, ensure that directions for hanging and cleaning the birdhouse are available. This will save you time and frustration at installation and during annual cleanings.
About Happy Gardens
Happy Gardens offers a unique online collection of garden decor and merchandise. From birdhouse to wind chimes to rain chains, our website has got it all. Looking for a bird feeder or bird bath? We also have those in stock! Better yet, everything we sell has been carefully handcrafted and is backed by our Happy Gardens guarantee.
To learn more about new product releases, join our mailing list! Or add some daily garden inspiration to your Instagram feed by following us on social media!
Plus, we're always here to help via chat if you need help picking out a gift or decorating your outdoor space.