Many birders enjoy having bird houses in their backyard to watch bird families as eggs are laid, chicks are hatched and fledglings are raised. It can be devastating, however, when tragedy befalls those feathered families, and hazards can come in many forms. Predators, poor climate and illness are just a few threats can all take a toll on backyard bird populations. These dozen tips for safer bird house designs can help turn the odds in favor of nesting birds’ survival by minimizing the greatest risks.
Snags with old woodpecker holes provide homes for swallows, chickadees, nuthatches, bluebirds, owls, and other cavity_nesting birds that are rarely able to excavate their own nest sites. Snags provide ideal hunting perches for Red_tailed and Rough_legged Hawks, Bald Eagles, Hawk Owls, Great_horned Owls, and other raptors. Snags provide "songposts" to a wide variety of birds. Many small birds use songposts sticking above other vegetation to sing (to attract mates and proclaim nesting territory boundaries) and to perch on when looking out for predators and/or other birds.