Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 7 – Tips for Placing Nest Boxes

Finding the best spot to hang your new nest box can be tricky. Which direction? How far from other boxes? Birds & Beasleys owner, Sandy Shull, is here with tips for ideal nest box placement so your backyard birds will feel right at home! Check out Let’s Ask Sandy: Episode 7 – Tips for Placing Nest Boxes.

Hi! I’m Sandy with Birds & Beasleys. People ask us this time of year, how do I put up my birdhouse and what is the best location to do it? So, I can’t tell you exactly why a bird will want to move into your house, but I can tell you three easy things that will help you get it more attractive to a bird. So, today we will be talking about bluebirds and swallows which are mainly who use these houses.

So in the Helena area, it is location, it is where can the male bird see the entrance to the hole, and where is your house in comparison. In Helena, typically the weather comes from the southwest, so you would want to point your house with the hole north to east, so you have this 45-degree range here of where you would want to put the birdhouse, so that’s one thing to think about.

You want to think about where to put it in your yard. And then you want to see where the birds are perching. So a male bluebird or a male swallow will take two or three perches, you will see them on a wire, a fence post, on your car mirror, they’ll take about three spots, they’ll bounce back and forth. So, you will say the male is perching here, here, and here, this is north, this is east, I want the bird to look this way. Then you think okay, then I am going to point it so the male can look at the entrance and protect it from other intruders. But then you say, my house is over here, then you want to tweak it just a little bit maybe so you can see it from your house.

Another thing to think about is let’s say you have two bluebirds in your yard, one male bluebird is perching here, here, and here, and this one is perching here, here, and here. You don’t want to put the house right here because they will both try to protect it. So, what you want to do it point it towards that male or that male and that will help them do it.

Also, think about, if you have a swallow, the same kind of concept, but if you have a swallow in the yard and a male bluebird in the yard, you might want to put the houses back to back or side to side so those males can’t see both entrances of the house from their perch.

So I can’t tell you it’s a magic way to do it, but it will certainly help them pick your spot. But remember, it is not a done deal until the female is in the house. You might see a male bluebird take a couple houses and she comes in and gets to pick. So, until you see her, it is not a done deal. Thanks for checking in with Birds & Beasleys.

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