Thirty or more bird species are known to nest in birdhouses. But birds are choosey and no single birdhouse appeals to them all. From a bird’s perspective, no matter how fancy and richly detailed it may be, a birdhouse, also called a nest or nesting box, appears to be just an opening in a tree. They’ll assess it for correct overall dimensions, the depth from the opening to the floor, the surrounding vegetation and its safety from predators.
Birds are particular about the placement, too. You’ll see on the chart below that some birds want to nest only a few feet off the ground, while others require very high locations. The guidelines below show the optimal placement of birdhouses. But, you may find that a bit of variance works. With some species, a “tree trunk” might successfully be replaced with a post, the siding on your house or a birdhouse hanging from a limb. But, in general, the more exacting you are, the better your odds of attracting the birds you want.
BIRDHOUSE PLACEMENT CHART
Note: Some nesting boxes listed below call for wood chips. Avoid using treated wood. If you don't have wood chips on hand, animal bedding made from wood chips is readily available at pet supply stores. Don't use sawdust, unless it's extremely coarse.
*Top photo: Adam Greig / Flickr; cc by-sa 2.0