Train outdoor pets to keep away from bird houses: Behavioral conditioning with a water hose is an effective method that can also be used on squirrels and other wildlife with enough patience and perseverance. Pets should be supervised when outdoors during the nesting season as well, since young birds leave the nest several days before they can fly, making them easy targets for curious pets. Be sure the bird house opening is the right size for the species you wish to attract: If the opening is too large, predators will have easy access to the nest and other bird species may take over. A very large opening may also be dangerous for growing chicks, which could tumble out of the hole. A small hole could cause birds to get stuck, or they won't use the house at all.
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.