About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Building bird houses

I purchased a great book on how to build bird houses at your Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing store and I am about to assemble the pieces on my first house. The plans don’t include a stick for the birds to land on below the door. Should I add a place for the birds to perch before they enter the house? ~ Webberville, Michigan

I don’t recommend perches on bird houses. Natural cavities such as tree trunks do not have perches, so birds that use nest boxes don't need a perch either. A perch might also invite predators or other birds to attack or bother the parents and babies inside.

There are many different styles of nesting boxes, including those that are decorative and bird-specific. All bird houses should meet these six requirements:

1) Correct size – Entrance hole size, and house length, width, and depth need to be designed for specific species.
2) Ventilation holes - Air vents prevent heat build-up and keep baby birds safe.
3) Cleaned easily – Cleaning the house after each nesting helps deter parasite infestation and a predator’s ability disturb a nest that is built on top of old nests making it closer to the entrance hole.
4) Mounted or hung easily - Wild Birds Unlimited has APS birdhouse poles or hanging chains for houses.
5) Durable - Bird houses should be made with material that will protect the birds and withstand several seasons. A baby ladder inside is also nice.
6) Drainage holes - In order to keep babies dry and safe, drainage holes should be placed in the bottom of the house.

Of course not all birds use nest boxes and you can encourage other birds to nest in your yard by providing nesting material and an attractive habitat. Good luck on your bird house project.

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