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.
Position the bird house far enough away from brush so predators cannot stage an ambush, but close enough to plants so parent birds can easily scout the area. Five to eight feet of distance is sufficient for most bird houses. Similarly, keep bird houses away from popular feeding areas to prevent territorial conflicts between feeding birds and nesting parents. Choose natural colors so the bird house will blend into the surroundings: Browns and dark shades of green are the most suitable choices and will be the most attractive to birds. If desired, decorate the house with natural materials to keep it concealed but still an ornamental focal point in the yard.