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How to Choose the Right Birdhouse Hole Size

How to Choose the Right Birdhouse Hole Size

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Are you fond of birds? Do you want to attract these beautiful creatures to your backyard and provide them with a safe spot where they can lay their eggs?

You can transform your backyard into the perfect attraction spot for various birds if you provide shelter and food.

It all starts with picking and building the right birdhouse.

So, while you’re planning to build your birdhouse, you might be wondering about the size of the entrance hole.

Although some birds are indifferent, others are pretty picky and won’t come near the birdhouse you built if it doesn’t suit their needs.

In this article, we’ll explain how to choose the right birdhouse hole size for different species and the factors you need to consider to ensure that birds enjoy spending time in their new home.

Why Should You Build a Birdhouse?

Birds are important in the balance of every ecosystem. Yet, due to humans’ intervention, many species have lost their homes or the materials needed to build their nests.

However, you can still make it up for these beautiful creatures by providing them with a birdhouse in your garden or backyard, where they can rest after long trips, lay their eggs, and protect their young from predators.

Birdhouses are easy to build, and there are several online models that you can try, even if you’re not that experienced with woodwork. Here are some reasons why you should consider building a birdhouse.

  • Birdhouses are safer for backyard birds than wild nests, protecting the birds’ eggs and their young from predators. As a result, by building birdhouses, you’ll be supporting the population of these creatures and protecting them from danger.
  • Man-made birdhouses help preserve species from natural disasters like wildfires and flooding. Since some of these disasters are influenced by human intervention, building these birdhouses will help maintain the population of these creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Providing a home for the birds in your garden or backyard is going to help with pest control. Several types of backyard birds like chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, and bluebirds feed on bugs like grasshoppers, worms, caterpillars, ants, and aphids, protecting your plants from these harmful pests that feed on the foliage.
  • The birds living in your garden or backyard act as beneficial pollinators. By feeding on the pollen or the nectar from the flowers, they also help transfer the pollen, thus pollinating flowering plants and keeping your garden full of bright colors.
  • The birds living in birdhouses will provide your soil with natural fertilizers that help improve its quality. They also help keep the soil in the best shape by frequently walking on the ground and loosening the soil so plants can absorb water and nutrients better.
  • After eating the seeds of different plants, the seeds are then discarded in the droppings of different birds, usually in a location away from where they were eaten in the first place. This process helps transport the seeds of various plants to new locations, supporting their growth.
  • By feeding on the seeds of weeds, building birdhouses in your garden can be a natural way of controlling weeds that deprive your plants of food.
  • Adding birdhouses in your backyard or garden is aesthetically pleasing. These birdhouses come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, so you can choose any design to make your backyard look more appealing.
  • Building birdhouses can be a learning opportunity for you and your little ones. They provide an excellent educational opportunity as you can watch the birds in their natural habitat, and you’ll spend time choosing the adequate design for your birdhouse.

How to Choose the Best Birdhouse Design

Early spring is usually the best time to start building a birdhouse to help attract a nesting pair.

Although a lot of birds are cavity nesters, they’ll also appreciate the presence of a birdhouse as long as you pay attention to its construction.

Here are some factors to consider to provide your backyard birds with the best birdhouse.

  • Study the species in your area and make sure that the birdhouse is suitable for the birds you’re planning to attract.
  • Make sure that you’re using natural materials that resemble what these birds would naturally use to build their nests, as this will help attract them to the new birdhouse you’re building.
  • Pick the correct hole size for the birdhouse. This hole is the entry point of the nest, so it should be big enough to accommodate the size of an adult bird.
  • Make sure that the entry hole is at least three to six inches away from the birdhouse floor. A higher entry hole will protect the nestlings if they get curious and try to look out before they’re able to fly.

At the same time, a nearby predator might not be able to see the eggs or the nestlings if the hole is placed high.

However, the hole shouldn’t be too high as the nestlings will be trapped inside even when they begin to learn to fly as they won’t be able to fly that high in the beginning.

  • Make sure that there are enough ventilation holes in the birdhouse. One or two small holes on each side will be enough.
  • Add drainage holes at the bottom of the birdhouse. These holes will help dry the birdhouse after rain.
  • Build the birdhouse of thick untreated wood. This material is sturdy enough to protect the birds, the eggs, and the young and also provides excellent insulation.
  • Keep the interior of the birdhouse rough so nestlings are able to climb.
  • Design your birdhouse, so it’s easy to install and maintain. This will allow you to clean it between broods, so it’s ready for the next season.
  • Choose an extended and sloped roof for the birdhouse. This will allow the rainwater to move away from the birdhouse.
  • Set up a guard to protect the birds and their eggs. This guard should be able to keep predators like birds of prey, raccoons, and mice away, so they’re unable to kill the young or steal the eggs.
  • When you’re choosing the location to set up your birdhouse, make sure that it’s not accessible to your house pets like your dog or cat, as they might disturb or even eat the birds.
  • Avoid adding perches to your birdhouse. Although in their natural habitat, birds prefer to perch, perches can provide easy access to predators.

How to Choose the Right Birdhouse Hole Size

Choosing the right birdhouse hole size is important because this is the entry point where the birds will enter into and exit from their new home.

As a result, it should be big enough to allow an adult bird to pass through, even when it’s carrying food.

However, it shouldn’t be too big as it might tempt unwelcome guests to visit the birdhouse, eat the nestlings, or steal the eggs.

This is why you need to make sure that the hole is appropriate for the bird species you want to attract, or you might accidentally attract bigger birds or other predators.

Bluebird Hole Size

An average bluebird is between six and eight inches, so a typical hole size of 1.5 inches in diameter will be suitable if you want to attract bluebirds to your backyard.

This size works for most backyard species because it allows the adult bird to pass through while keeping predators away.

It works if you want to attract eastern and western bluebirds that live in different parts of the US. However, if you want to attract mountain bluebirds, the hole size can be 1 9/16 inches, which is only a little bit larger.

Chickadee Birdhouse Hole Size

There are seven different types of birds that belong to the chickadee family in the US. Some of these types can become regular visitors to your backyard as long as you provide them with the right birdhouse.

Chickadees are small birds that are usually between four and six inches long. Some chickadees are rare, but others will visit your garden regularly and accept a birdhouse if you set it up before the nesting season.

The hole size for the chickadee birdhouse should be around 1.125 inches in diameter. You can use a regular birdhouse with a 1.5-inch hole and then use a hole reducer to make it suitable for this small bird.

A large entry hole can subject your chickadee birds to danger. It will allow the birds’ natural predators like hawks and owls to get into the nest and eat the adult birds and the nestlings.

Large holes can also be inviting to tree-climbing animals that feed on the nestlings and the eggs like cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, and rodents.

Cardinal Birdhouse Hole Size

Cardinals aren’t that fond of using birdhouses because they’re not cavity nesters. These birds prefer dense plant life for shelter and nesting, so they might not be attracted to a traditional birdhouse.

Instead, you can offer cardinals a platform nest. This is a special kind of birdhouse, where all four walls are open.

The platform birdhouse or nest is set up near the branches or vines, where the heavy vegetation can provide the needed protection.

A suitable platform nest should have an 8 by 8-inch floor and be attached to a tree or shrub to attract cardinals. The nest should be placed 2 to 15 feet off the ground and covered and hidden to make it more appealing to the cardinals.

Study your garden or backyard to choose a concealed spot and add some flexible branches to the nest. Pine needles and other similar structures will make the platform nest more attractive to these picky birds.

Finch Birdhouse Hole Size

Finches are small birds, and they’re among the easiest birds to attract to a birdhouse in your backyard.

As a matter of fact, these birds aren’t picky at all regarding the birdhouses they accept, and they’ll live in different types of nests.

However, they tend to prefer birdhouses with enclosed walls and small O or U-shaped openings.

The perfect size of hole size is 1 1/8 inches in diameter, although a smaller hole of one inch can also work. However, you should avoid making the hole too small, as the birds can hurt their features will getting into and out of the birdhouse.

It’s best to pick a clear spot in your backyard to install a birdhouse for finches. These birds might also visit the birdhouse in winter to keep warm.

Wren Birdhouse Hole Size

The wren is a tiny backyard bird that can be around four to five inches long. It’s also a regular backyard guest if you set up an adequate birdhouse.

Wrens are competitive and will chase other birds away, so offering birdhouses will help these birds settle and lay their eggs without getting into fights.

Due to their small size, wrens will accept a birdhouse if the entrance hole is too small for other species. It can easily get into and out of a birdhouse if the entrance hole measures 1 inch or 1.125 inches in diameter.

At the same time, this small entry hole will keep the wren’s predators away and protect the eggs and nestlings.

The wren will definitely accept a birdhouse if the entry hole has the standard diameter of 1.5 inches. However, this big hole can be inviting to other bigger species like house sparrows and European starlings, which might drive the wren away.

Final Thoughts

Designing and building a birdhouse in your backyard or garden is an excellent opportunity to attract more birds and provide them with a safe home.

However, you should be careful while choosing the birdhouse design, especially when it comes to choosing the birdhouse hole size.

The hole size should be big enough to accommodate an adult bird but not too big to keep predators away. In most cases, the average size of 1.5 inches in diameter will suit various bird species, although some smaller birds will accept a smaller hole.


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