Skip to Content

What Do You Put in a Birdhouse? (And Is Nesting Material Necessary?)

What Do You Put in a Birdhouse? (And Is Nesting Material Necessary?)

Share this post:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Many people like to put birdhouses on their properties, so they can attract more birds to their yard. It’s also just nice to feel like you’re helping the local birds out.

If you’ve never put a birdhouse in your yard before, you might not know exactly what to do. Do you simply set the birdhouse up and put it in the yard or is it more involved than that?

What do you put in a birdhouse? Where should you place a birdhouse to get optimal results?

Continue reading to learn more about birdhouses and what needs to be put inside them. You’ll also get helpful tips that will allow you to get the most out of installing birdhouses on your property.

Should You Put Anything in the Birdhouse?

It isn’t necessarily a great idea to put things inside of the birdhouse. If you think about it, birds don’t typically seek out areas that have nests already built.

Some people think that putting nesting materials in birdhouses will make them more attractive to birds. This might not be the case.

Many types of birds are very picky about the material that they use for nesting. This means that you might put material in the birdhouse that will make some types of birds want to avoid it.

It’s fairly common for birds to remove nesting material from birdhouses before they start using it. They might take all of the stuff that you put in there out so they can use their own nesting materials.

Different types of birds have different preferences when it comes to nesting materials. Some will use twigs or grass to build nests, but others will even use man-made materials such as aluminum foil and plastic.

To get the best results, it’s recommended not to add nesting materials to the birdhouse. The birds will put whatever nesting materials they want in the birdhouse should they decide to use it.

Birdhouse Nesting Materials

As mentioned above, birdhouse nesting materials will differ quite a bit depending on the type of birds you’re trying to attract. Some birds like to use grass, twigs, moss, and even mud.

There are many birds that will utilize man-made materials when building nests. They pick all sorts of different materials.

If you want to attract certain types of birds, you can look up the preferences of the birds that you want to occupy the birdhouse. This will allow you to pick good materials.

However, it’s generally better not to add materials to the birdhouse. Most enthusiasts agree that it makes the birdhouse less attractive to the birds when you put nesting materials in there.

Sometimes it might be okay to put a layer of sawdust in the birdhouse. Many types of birds will appreciate this, but you only want to put a thin layer of the sawdust.

Certain types of birds that don’t build elaborate nests will be fine with this. Others will likely not enjoy it.

Wood chips can also work in place of sawdust. Either way, you’ll be putting a thin layer in the birdhouse if you choose to do it.

The purpose of doing this is to help cushion eggs that are placed in the birdhouse. Owls generally like it when you do this because they’re known to utilize old woodpecker nesting locations.

It should be fine to do this if you’re trying to attract owls and woodpeckers. Otherwise, it’d be best not to put anything in the birdhouse.

Place Nesting Materials Near the Birdhouse

Birds will find it convenient to be able to choose their own nesting materials. Many enthusiasts choose to place nesting materials somewhere near the birdhouse.

For example, you could have a few small piles of twigs in the yard that birds will be able to utilize. Birds that use mud as a nesting material might appreciate a small puddle.

You could even fill a small cage with materials such as string, cotton fibers, and even fur. All of these materials are appealing to different types of birds.

Instead of trying to build the birds a nest in the birdhouse, you’ll give them a chance to source their own materials. Make your yard a convenient spot where the birds can get what they need.

Do You Put Bird Feed in a Birdhouse?

No, a birdhouse is not a bird feeder. It is a good idea to have bird feeders on your property, but it’s not good to place feed inside of the birdhouse.

Placing bird feed in the birdhouse would attract many birds to the location. It’d turn it into a feeder rather than allowing it to stay as a nest.

It wouldn’t be a very good feeder either. Instead of doing this, it’d be best to put feeders somewhere nearby on the property. Often, enthusiasts will place feeders and birdbaths in their yards to help birds out.

If you have enough room, it’d be good to buy both a feeder and a birdbath. The birds will surely appreciate it, but they won’t use the birdhouse as a nesting location if you put feed in there.

Pick the Right Birdhouse

Picking the right birdhouse is imperative if you want to attract certain birds to your yard. Birds come in various different sizes.

Some birdhouses will have entrance holes that are too small for certain types of birds. As such, you’ll want to look up information about the preferred entrance hole size for the birds you want to attract.

Generally, the entrance holes on birdhouses will be circular. You’ll have to measure the diameter of the entrance hole to see if the bird you want to live in the birdhouse will fit.

You can easily look up the information that you need. Research the types of birds that are present in your area and how large they are so you can pick appropriate birdhouses.

Where Should You Put the Birdhouse?

Putting the birdhouse in a safe location is another thing that you should focus on. You want to protect the birds from predators such as snakes.

When you place a birdhouse in a tree or on a fence, it’s going to be susceptible to snakes. You want to put it somewhere that’s a lot safer and harder to reach.

To get the best results, put the birdhouse on a pole that is at least five feet tall. It’s easy to buy poles that are meant for hanging birdhouses and feeders.

It’s also possible to use a PVC pipe to make your own pole. Either way, you’ll have a better experience putting the birdhouse on a pole.

Many choose to further protect birdhouses by deterring snakes and making it harder for them to slither up the pole. Placing a Slinky toy around the pole will make it nearly impossible for the snake to reach the birdhouse.

Final Thoughts

It should be easier to put a birdhouse in your yard and get good results now. You know that adding nesting material to the birdhouse is generally not a good idea.

You can help the bird by placing nesting materials nearby. A pile of twigs or a little cage that contains materials that birds like for nesting will be appreciated.

So long as you put the birdhouse in a good spot, it should appeal to the local birds. You’ll be able to enjoy seeing the birds on your property this season, and new birds will likely come to use the birdhouse next year.


If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel

Share this post: