Article Summary:

What to look for in the best bird house.

Choose the Best Bird House

What can you do to invite our feathered friends to make their homes near your outdoor living space?

1. DO look for durable construction in your birdhouse using such materials as cedar, cypress wood, pine, or exterior grade plywood that has been painted on the outside.

2. DON’T use oil-based paints on the outside, and never use stain, paint or any other finish on the inside of the house.

3. DON’T use a metal roof. It will absorb sunlight and heat the house to unusable temperatures. A wooden roof is best.

4. DO leave ventilation holes for air circulation and temperature control. Look for a 1" gap under the side eaves, or drill ¼"holes all around the top edge of the walls.

5. DON’T forget about drainage. Even the best-constructed houses can take in water during a storm. Either cut or drill ¼" holes in each corner and near the middle of the floor.

6. DON’T waste your time on fancy paint jobs – they make the house more attractive to you, but not as safe for the occupants. The best colors are tan, gray or sage green. Remember – don’t paint the inside!

7. DO give the occupants a foothold by either roughing up the wood surface, or carving grooves just below the entry (inside and out).

8. DON’T put a perch outside the entry hole – it just gives predators somewhere to wait for dinner.

9. DO rub the inside of the roof with bar soap to help prevent insect infestations.

10. DON’T put more than one birdhouse in an area less than 100 ft square, unless they are intended for different species. Birds like to keep a little privacy from their neighbors too!

Debbie Rodgers, the haven maven, owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Her latest how-to guide “Attracting Butterflies to Your Home and Garden” is now available on her web site. Visit her at and get a free report on “Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space”.

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