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What are Some Different Types of Birdhouses?

By N. Phipps
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many different types of birdhouses — swinging birdhouses, single-unit nest boxes, birdhouses, garden birdhouses, gourd birdhouses, decorative birdhouses, and more. The list goes on and on. Some can be easily constructed while others must be purchased. Some birdhouses are made of wood, and others are made from metal or plastic. There are even birdhouses made from gourds and everyday household items. It’s important to note that each specific bird species prefers a different type of birdhouse.

No one type of birdhouse is suitable to all birds, as different birds like different types of birdhouses. They also have particular preferences regarding the locations of their birdhouses. For instance, wrens are usually attracted to small, enclosed houses near shrubs or brush. Bluebirds enjoy larger, single-unit birdhouses in more open areas of the landscape. Some bird species find the swinging types of birdhouses to be quite comfortable. Purple martins, for example, are content hanging out in a gourd birdhouse.

Unless a birdhouse is used strictly for decoration, most types of birdhouses in the garden should remain free of paint, glamor, and glitz. Of course, some birds may still make a surprise visit even in the fanciest of decorative birdhouses. For the most part, however, they prefer something plain and obscure. The best types of birdhouses offer birds sanctuary — a relaxing place to both feed and raise their young, free from lurking predators.

In addition to keeping birdhouses located out of reach from predators, the types of birdhouses with guards or baffles can help minimize the entry of any predators. Placing birdhouses on poles rather than trees is also preferable. Birdhouses should also provide adequate protection from unfavorable weather. They need to provide drainage during wet, windy conditions. The birdhouses should also provide suitable ventilation so birds can breathe easily.

Even birds are prone to getting hot, especially in the heat of summer. Therefore, metal birdhouses should be used with caution. These can get quite hot during summer and should be located in shade when used. They need to provide plenty of air circulation as well. Likewise, metal birdhouses can get cold in winter, and should be relocated in a warm, sheltered location.

Cleaning is the only other aspect to consider when choosing from the many types of birdhouses available. Regardless of the type or style, birdhouses should be thoroughly cleaned annually, once the bird occupants have moved out. All nesting materials should be removed beforehand and disposed of. Then the birdhouses need to be cleaned with bleach and water to disinfect the birdhouses and minimize diseases.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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