Choosing bird houses best for your birds (and you).
A bird house is one of the three simple elements that make a habitat. However, with the wide variety and multitude of bird houses available, choosing the right bird houses may not seem so simple. We do our best to keep things simple at The Backyard Naturalist! That’s why we’ve done the research for you and offer our best advice (always free!) on how to choose the bird house that’s right for you and your backyard birds.
First thing to know: Bird houses are not created equal!
Good bird houses offer nesting opportunities during the spring and summer, as well as shelter in the winter. But, THE BEST bird houses provide protection for baby birds. Many bird houses do not! With a few careful considerations when buying a bird house, you can offer generations of wild birds a more secure (and healthy!) place to raise families.
How do you know which bird house is best?
Simply put, The Backyard Naturalist selects and recommends bird houses that are both functional (species appropriate) and fun for you (nice to look at and easy to maintain).
The best houses are designed to be species-specific!
When a bird house is ‘species-specific’, it’s designed to meet the specific needs of the intended occupants. This is very important. For an example, here’s just one aspect of an “anatomically-correct” bird house that is critical in making a nest secure: Hole Size. Hole Size Matters!
The best bird houses are durable and easy to maintain.
The best-designed bird houses are built to withstand all kinds of weather and are constructed with quality materials. Your bird house will be the best if it is also convenient for you, with easy access for maintenance. In our Bird House resources we also include advice covering the next steps after choosing a bird house: placement and ongoing seasonal maintenance. Both are also very important to your success as a wild bird ‘landlord’.
The very best bird houses bring you joy!
While you watch generations of your backyard birds make use of it, season after season, your bird house will be a source of unlimited joy for you! The Backyard Naturalist team will help you find the best bird house for your neighborhood birds, but also find one that meets your situation, time and budget. Our selection may vary due to availability and demand, but our advice is always available… and always free!
Finding the best bird house for you and your birds.
Whether you hope to host Wrens and Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, Screech Owls and more, we have recommendations. See just a few of our favorites below.
Wren / Chickadee Houses
If you’re looking for a whimsical, handmade bird house that’s also very practical and durable see our Decorated Bird Houses here.
Bluebird Nest Boxes
Want to host Eastern Bluebirds? See our special advice and recommendations for Eastern Bluebird Nest Boxes here.
Screech Owl House
Specifically designed for the Eastern Screech Owl & Northern Saw-whet Owl.
Screech owls have tough competition from other birds because they are so small. This house provides an appropriate, more secure cavity for them. Comes with nesting material (wood chips).
Downy Woodpecker House
A home for America’s smallest woodpecker!
Downy Woodpeckers are friendly little birds that seem to enjoy being around people. No wonder they’re a backyard favorite!
A Downy Woodpecker will roost in a nest box to escape winter cold, so there’s no better time to put one of these up than NOW! Comes standard with slate squirrel guard and wood chips.
Want to offer Robins, Swallows and other ledge dwellers a place to nest other than your porch ledge? Try this all cedar nest shelf. If you live where there are few trees, this nesting platform could offer a Mama Robin her next best choice.
Need Help Choosing Bird Houses?
See The Backyard Naturalist’s Guide to Wild Bird Houses and Recommended Resources for more detailed information.
How to Choose the Right Bird House
- From design and construction to species specifics, The Backyard Naturalist has some simple guidelines for buying a bird house.
- General tips about maintaining bird houses and where to place bird houses in your backyard for increased opportunities to host nesting birds.
- A short list of strategies in managing House Sparrows, with resource links to more extensive information.