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The Truth About Bird Houses: Are They Really Safe for Wild Birds?

The Truth About Bird Houses: Are They Really Safe for Wild Birds?

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You might’ve considered installing a bird house in your backyard as a decorative element as well as a safe haven for the wild birds that frequent your home. But are bird houses bad like many people paint them to be?

Bird houses aren’t bad in and of themselves, but they might pose a risk to birds if their design and construction are poor. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the person who builds a bird house to ensure it’s as safe as possible for birds.

Why don’t you join us while we discuss the safety of bird houses in-depth?

What Are Some Situations Where Bird Houses Can Be Bad?

Unfortunately, some homeowners don’t pay attention to how the bird houses they’ve installed are constructed. So, they might unintentionally cause harm to the wild birds that nest there.

In this case, bird houses will end up being a bad idea.

For example, bird houses that have metal roofs can become too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. For a bird that’s seeking refuge from extreme weather, one of those bird houses will only mean trouble.

Also, most decorative bird houses aren’t insulated or properly designed. So, they provide no shelter from the heat or cold, and their flimsy design might cause rainwater to leak inside.

Furthermore, some houses come with too big openings, and those let predators and large birds of prey into the safe shelter of nesting birds. The same goes for bird houses that have eye-catching, bright colors; they simply attract predators.

Plus, large bird houses can sometimes appeal to bigger species of birds that don’t necessarily need protecting. They just crowd the room inside and cause smaller, more deserving birds huge discomfort!

How to Make a Bird House As Safe As Possible?

Luckily, there are countless things you can do to ensure that the bird house you’ll be installing in your backyard does its job without hiccups. So, let’s try to solve each issue we’ve discussed in the previous section right below!

Tip 1: Make Sure the Design Caters to the Birds’ Needs

Some tweaks to the house’s design, though seemingly insignificant, can take the birds’ experience to the next level.

Therefore, you must make sure that the bird house you’re building, or purchasing, has the following elements:

  • A small door that will only let certain bird species in and no large birds or predators
  • A good number of air vents throughout the structure to prevent the build-up of condensation and ward off excess heat
  • A few drainage holes at the bottom to get rid of water and moisture
  • A solid structure that needs no assembly (in the case of store-bought bird houses)
  • A properly angled roof that should minimize leakage issues (go for an angle of 45 degrees, give or take a few!)

Once you check all these points off your list, you’ll be halfway to creating a lovely shelter for some tiny, delicate wild birds. Time to move on to the next tip!

Tip 2: Think About Materials

As we’ve previously mentioned, metal roofs, or metal parts in general, aren’t great candidates for a bird house. This is why you need to think about other materials that don’t conduct temperature like metals do.

Also, if you’ll be building the bird house from scratch, you must make it out of something that’s easy to work with, right?

This is why your best option is wood, especially sturdy options like cedar or cypress. You can go for plywood or pine, too, but these will need replacing more often.

Steer clear of acrylics, plastic, and treated wood as these alternatives will draw more heat to the interior of the bird house.

Tip 3: Boost the Stability of the Bird House

A bird house can have an unparalleled solid construction, but it’ll be of no use without a durable mount to rest on. If it’s flimsily attached to a wall or a tree, it can simply fall to the ground with the movements of its inhabitants.

This is why it’s crucial that the bird house remains steady no matter what. Thankfully, it’s not so hard to achieve that goal.

First of all, you need to find a suitable location for the bird house. So, make sure it’ll rest several feet above the ground to be far from the reach of ground predators.

It’s also important to ensure that the bird house doesn’t sit in the direction of the wind. That’ll minimize the chances of it getting blown away while keeping the birds inside protected from the cold drafts.

Second off, consider mounting the bird house to a post or fence since they’re easier to work with than if you fix the bird house to a tree or the side of your house.

Third off, it’s always a good idea to drill more holes into the rear of the bird house to mount it to a wall or post. This should improve its stability and help you rest assured of the birds’ safety.

Of course, all the previous guidelines only work if you have substantial knowledge of how to use a drill to properly mount the bird house into your surface of choice.

If you haven’t done a similar DIY project before, you could end up jeopardizing the life of wild birds by not having adequate skills to get the job done right.

Tip 4: Camouflage the Bird House to Your Best Ability

We know that giving your bird house a beautiful coat of paint makes sense to make their home more welcoming. However, it might not be the most practical idea because it’ll expose the house to predators.

Therefore, consider using neutral colors for the bird house, like gray, white, beige, or brown. Or, if your art skills could get you there, you can try to help the house blend with its background using matching colors and patterns.

Still, the best thing to do is to leave the wood unfinished and unpainted to draw less and less attention and give your birds the privacy that they need!

Tip 5: Ensure You Have Access to the Bird House at All Times

Some people may think about positioning their bird houses too far from the ground so that they’re not accessible by animals that prey on birds. Yet, that’s not exactly a wise idea.

You must be able to check on the bird house whenever you need to keep it in good shape and maintain it for the sake of future inhabitants.

Placing it too high on a tree or the side of your house will require a ladder to reach it, which takes a lot of time and effort. The hassle might cause you to put off checking on the bird house, not realizing it may be damaged or in need of maintenance.

When Should You Clean a Bird House?

Besides ensuring it’s strong and does a good job of protecting birds from bad weather and predators, a bird house must be clean so that the birds don’t become ill once inside it.

A good rule of thumb is to clean a bird house once every year, specifically at the end of the breeding season.

Still, a lot of experts say that birds will often clean their nests on their own. But it won’t hurt to lend them a helping hand!

Which Birds Are Attracted to Bird Houses?

Bird houses can be wonderful places to hide and nest for many bird species out there, and these include:

  • Chickadees
  • Bluebirds
  • House sparrows
  • House wrens
  • Purple martins
  • Tree swallows

Those guys are a few candidates that don’t mind nesting in bird houses. But you must direct their attention to those structures if you want them to take residence inside them.

Here are some tips that’ll encourage those wild birds to stay in your bird house:

  • Set up a bird feeder in your backyard to persuade the birds to explore your yard further
  • Research each bird species’ favorite seeds and include them in the feeder
  • Consider installing a bird bath nearby (make sure the water is warm in winter)
  • Offer several bird houses in different parts of your yard to attract various clientele
  • Make sure everything that the birds will use is clean and well-maintained

Final Thoughts

There’s been a concerning reputation surrounding bird houses, which is why you might ask the following question:

Are bird houses bad?

No, bird houses aren’t bad if they’re properly made to cater to the birds’ needs. If you stay away from poor construction, unstable mounting, and unsuitable materials, you shouldn’t worry about your bird house being a danger to wild birds.

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to minimize the risks of bird houses, especially after you’ve taken a good look at our guide. Now, you should be ready to buy or build a dream house for your backyard birds to nest in peacefully.

So, good luck with your mission!


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