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.
Don't overcrowd an area with nest boxes. Most cavity_nesting birds defend territories, so don't overcrowd an area with nest boxes for a single species. Usually, nest boxes should be placed 50 feet or more apart. Swallows, however, will tolerate neighbors and will sometimes nest in “apartment” birdhouses. Build your nest box so that it is easily maintained: Construct the birdhouse with a roof or floor that can be easily removed so that you can reach inside to clean it. Maintain your nestboxes: Nest boxes should be cleaned out each spring and disinfected to prevent the spread of avian diseases. Be sure to dry the inside and (if necessary) add fresh, dry sawdust or woodchips.