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25 Different Types of Birdhouses

Attract birds to nest in your garden by building a birdhouse. We'll show you the different types of birdhouses you can build for different types of birds.

Small wooden birdhouse with a green-colored roof.

Birdhouses existed in North America and Europe for hundreds of years. North Americans used birch barks as birdhouses while Europeans made baskets and clay pottery to shelter birds. It was the Turks, however, who made the first birdhouses sometime in the 15th and 16th century.

The first birdhouses were made of bricks, tiles, wood, stone, and mortar. These houses were integrated into the home or building exterior and were used to shelter sparrows and swallows.

A. Orientation

1. Post Mounted

A post-mounted birdhouse looking like a real house.

Source: Wayfair

A post mounted or freestanding birdhouse is a great way to include a birdhouse in your yard, even if you do not have a lot of trees or fence on which you can mount your new birdhouse. Because these birdhouses are usually very high in the air once they have been mounted, there is often a system that will allow you to lower them down the pole so that you can check for eggs and empty out any old nests, if necessary. If you do not buy a birdhouse that has this feature, then you will have to use a ladder in order to empty out the nest each season.

2. Wall Mounted

Five small wooden birdhouses of different colors, mounted to the wall.

Source: Hayneedle

When you have plenty of trees or a fence in your yard on which you can mount a birdhouse, then a wall mounted option is a great choice. These generally have a small hole or a hook in the back through which you can place a nail that you have nailed into the tree or the fence. They are very easy to lift down so that you can look inside at the nest or empty out in the fall, and they can be placed at varying heights in your yard for an attractive and interesting look.

3. Hanging

A small, wooden hanging birdhouse.

Source: Hayneedle

Hanging birdhouses are very popular as they can be hung not only from trees, but also from the roof overhang on your porch. This may entice birds to come closer to your home so that you can see them. It is important to make sure that the material used to hang your new birdhouse is sturdy, as natural fibers can tend to rot over time, putting your birds in danger. It is a good idea to make sure that you check the condition of the hanging material each year before birds nest in your birdhouse. Some people replace any natural fibers with a piece of metal because this will not break during the nesting season, and it will give you peace of mind.

B. Style

1. Purple Martin

A large birdhouse made of off-white aluminum.Source: Hayneedle

Purple Martins, unlike many other types of birds, prefer to nest in colonies. For these birds, buying a birdhouse that has a minimum of four entries and cavities is a good idea. Make sure that you can lower and raise the house easily so that you can remove nests from competing birds. Keep the birdhouse between 12 and 18 feet high, as this will decrease the likelihood of predators being able to kill the babies. Entrance holes are generally 2 1/ 8 inches in diameter and need to be placed so that the bottom of the whole is even with the compartment floor.

2. Bluebird

White birdhouse with a brown, cone-shaped roof.Source: Houzz

Bluebirds have very specific needs for their home. It is important for homeowners to take time when choosing a birdhouse if they want to attract this species of bird. Bluebirds need to feel safe in order to nest there. One important feature of a bluebird house is that the entrance hole is 1½ inches in diameter, which is large enough for these birds to enter but small enough to keep out other types of birds and predators.

The entrance to the birdhouse should be between six and ten inches from the floor of the birdhouse. This will ensure that fledglings can not tumble out of the opening by accident and that predators cannot easily reach inside and grab the babies. Unlike some types of birds who prefer to perch on the outside of their house, bluebirds do not want a place to perch outside of their entry, as this can make it easier for predators to get them.

The ideal floor space in a bluebird house is five by five inches, which allows enough room for all of the babies to spread out, and, at the same time, stay close enough together that they do not chill. Make sure that the house you choose is between eight and twelve inches tall, has a sloping roof for shade, covers over the entrance, and is properly located in your yard for bluebird use.

3. Duck

Brown, tall birdhouse made of wood and plastic.Source: Houzz

Many people do not realize that wood ducks prefer to nest in cavities, and they will readily nest in an available birdhouse. The entry hole needs to be four inches wide and three inches high, twenty inches above the floor, and the whole house need to be either three to five feet above the open water or twelve to forty feet high up on a nearby tree. These ducks prefer to have three to four inches of wood shavings located on the floor of their home for nesting purposes.

4. Owl

Wooden owl house with a dark green roof.Source: Hayneedle

It is easy to tell if you have roosting owls in your birdhouse as you can generally see them sitting in entrance of the house around dusk. Make sure that you mount your owl house on a tree trunk in a copse of mature trees so that your owls will feel safe enough to nest in your birdhouse. You can easily use the same birdhouse as you do for a wood duck to entice screech owls to your backyard. The main difference will be that wood ducks prefer to be near a body of water, and screech owls prefer to be located farther in the woods.

5. Wren/Chickadee

White birdhouse with a copper roof.Source: Houzz

Chickadees, titmice, and wrens will all use a birdhouse, provided that it is located in a safe place so that the bird will not feel in danger nesting in the birdhouse. The hole is smaller than those on other birdhouses, and it needs to be one and one-fourth inches in diameter and six inches above the floor of the house. Make sure that the birdhouse is placed between four and eight feet high on a tree located in a small thicket. Having multiple trees around will ensure that the smaller birds feel safe entering and exiting their birdhouse, and it will help to encourage them to nest here.

C. Entries

1. Single

A thick and durable, wooden birdhouse with one hole.Source: Home Depot

There are many types of birds that are very territorial, and using a birdhouse that only has one entry is the best idea for them. This type of birdhouse is generally what people envision when they talk about buying a birdhouse for their yard. They can come in many different styles and unique shapes, but since there is only a single entry, this type of birdhouse will only be able to house one family of birds each nesting season. For an interesting look, or to encourage communal birds to nest in your single entry homes, try grouping a number of them together.

2. Multiple

An enormous birdhouse with multiple holes, made of thick and solid wood.Source: Etsy

While there are many birds that prefer to nest by themselves and do not want any other birds nearby, some birds are more community oriented and will do well in a birdhouse that has multiple entries. If you want to be able to provide nesting space for many families of birds without having multiple birdhouses set up around your yard, then this is a great idea as it will allow many bird families to nest at the same time and in the same location around your home. While these types of birdhouses are generally much more expensive than ones that are designed for only a single family of birds at a time, homeowners who have them love that there are more birds coming in and out of the birdhouse during the day.

D. Material

1. Ceramic

A blue and brown, hanging ceramic birdhouse.Source: Wayfair

Made from stoneware, ceramic birdhouses are created from clay that has been baked and glazed. They are generally fired at incredibly high temperatures. This helps to reduce the possibility of water seeping through the outside of the birdhouse and getting into the nest, and it also ensures that the birdhouse will be able to stand up to extreme elements. Unfortunately, ceramic birdhouses can crack if they are left out in very cold weather, and they can also be damaged if you suffer from extreme temperature swings where you live. This means that it is best to bring these birdhouses in for the winter so that they will not be damaged by being left outside.

2. Plastic

Triple plastic birdhouse in grayish-brown and black.Source: Houzz

Plastic can be made to look like other materials, but it is generally significantly less expensive. Using this material can save you money when you are shopping for birdhouses. Unfortunately, plastic is not as durable or realistic as other materials are, and so you may have to replace your plastic birdhouse regularly because it can crack and break from either cold or something knocking into the birdhouse. These birdhouses are usually lighter than ones made from other materials, which is a huge asset if you are worried about the weight of your birdhouse accidentally breaking or damaging a branch in your tree.

3. Wood

Small, wooden birdhouse with a natural tone.Source: Etsy

The most common and popular type of material used in creating a birdhouse is wood, and there are a number of benefits to using this material. Not only does natural wood insulate very well so that your family and birds will not be subjected to extreme temperature swings, but wood is very durable, and it breathes. This means that your birds will be able to enjoy fresh air, and, as long as the wood is not painted, they will not have to deal with chemicals in their home.

While it can be very tempting to paint a birdhouse bright colors, it is best to abstain from doing so because this generally attracts unwanted attention to the birdhouse, and it can result in dangerous chemicals being close to developing eggs and babies. One problem with wood birdhouses is that squirrels are able to chew through the wood itself and enlarge the hole that the birds use for entry. When this happens it is very common for squirrels to kick the birds out of the nest and move in for themselves.

4. Metal

A distressed birdhouse made of metal.Source: Wayfair

While metal birdhouses are very attractive to look at and add an interesting rustic feel to your yard, it is important to strongly consider the type of metal that you are planning for your birdhouse, as well as where the house will be located. The main problem with metal is that the sun can heat these birdhouses up to extreme temperatures which can actually kill the birds inside. Additionally, if the metal is reflective, it is much more likely to attract predators to the nest. While squirrels are unable to chew their way into metal birdhouses, placing one in the hot sun can be very dangerous. Aluminum birdhouses do not come with the same number of concerns as ones made out of stainless steel or other metals.

5. Resin

A birdhouse painted with a sunflower and a house.Source: Houzz

Birdhouses that have been made of resin are not necessarily the most ecologically friendly type of birdhouse available on the market, but they are very durable and will last for a long time. They are also able to withstand temperature swings without being damaged, and they are so lightweight that you can usually hang them anywhere without worrying about whether not they will break the item on which you have hung them. Resin birdhouses can be molded and colored to look like different materials, so you can buy a one that is in your budget, but is still very attractive.

6. Fabric

Garden-themed, fabric birdhouse. Source: Amazon

Although it is not nearly as common as other types of materials for birdhouses, fabric is still a viable option, depending on the type of bird that you want to attract and where you are going to hang your birdhouse. If you want your fabric birdhouse to actually attract birds, then it is important that you hang it in an area where it will be protected from the elements; otherwise, it will get very wet quickly during rainstorms. The problem with either hanging a fabric birdhouse close to your home, or hanging it on your porch so it is protected by a roof, is that birds often do not want to come this close to a house. For this reason, fabric birdhouses are often used primarily for decoration instead of being a viable place for birds to live.

7. Gourd

Orange-toned, hanging birdhouses.Source: Etsy

While not everybody appreciates the appearance of a gourd birdhouse, this original birdhouse has a number of benefits that are sure to please any family looking to attract more birds to their backyard. Surprisingly, gourd birdhouse generally have a higher occupancy rate than other types of birdhouses do, and they attract birds significantly more quickly once you have placed this type of birdhouse in your yard.

They offer incredible insulation which means that you will not have to worry about your birds becoming too hot or too cold due to temperature swings. When purple martins nest in gourd birdhouses, it has been proven in many studies that they will have higher reproduction success than if they nested in wood or aluminum houses. These birds are able to lay larger clutches in a birdhouse that is made of gourds, and their young are able to fledge more successfully.

E. Feature

1. Post included

A red-orange birdhouse with a premium white roof.Source: Wayfair

If you want a freestanding birdhouse in your yard and need to have it put on a post, then it is a good idea to shop for one that comes with the post included. This makes it very easy to get your birdhouse installed right away with very minimal effort, and you can start attracting birds to your yard immediately. Otherwise, you will have to go to the store to buy a post and make sure that it will fit with your birdhouse.

2. Assembled

Black and brown birdhouse made out of an old high boot.Source: Etsy

Although some people love the challenge and the fun of assembling their birdhouse before they hang it up outside, if you want to make it as easy and fast as possible to attract new birds, then it is a good idea to opt for a birdhouse that is already assembled. This means that as soon as you receive your new birdhouse, you can install it outside, right away, without taking any time to assemble it. Additionally, this reduces the need to have specific tools on hand in order to be able to complete this work.

3. Drainage Holes

Traditional wooden birdhouse with a cute drainage.Source: Wayfair

Chances are very good that during extreme rainstorms water is going to get into your birdhouse. For this reason, looking for a birdhouse that has drainage holes is a good idea. This will help water easily drain out of the house so that the nest, eggs, and young are not in water. Being left in a wet or damp birdhouse can be very dangerous for young birds, and it can even cause death. Without this feature, you will need to make sure that your birdhouse is protected from rain.

4. Ventilation Holes

A wooden, cottage-type birdhouse with numerous holes.Source: Home Depot

While not all birdhouses offer ventilation holes, extreme heat can be very stifling and dangerous for families of birds. This is why it is a good idea to consider buying a birdhouse that has this feature. When you opt for a birdhouse with ventilation holes, then you will not have to worry about whether or not your birds are able to get fresh air during the day, as even the smallest breeze will be able to enter the birdhouse through these holes.

5. Roof Overhang

Wooden birdhouse with a black, over-hang roof. Source: Amazon

It is very common for birds to sit in the hole of their birdhouse or on a peg right outside of the hole so they can survey their territory and make sure that they are not in danger. When you opt for a birdhouse that has a roof overhang, then you will actually provide your family of birds a safe and dry place to sit under. Otherwise, your birds will be exposed to bad weather when they are sitting on their peg or in their entry hole, and this can be very dangerous.

6. Solid Wood

Gazebo birdhouse made of solid wood with a natural tone.Source: Etsy

Because wood is such a wonderful material for birdhouses to be made from, buying one that is made of solid wood is a great idea. You will enjoy all of the benefits of wood without having to worry about the dangers of other materials harming your birds. Additionally, wood will last for a very long time, so there is not any concern that part of your birdhouse will fall apart or need parts to be replaced. When you buy a solid wood birdhouse, it is important to remember that you very likely will spend more money than if you were to buy one made of a different material. However, due to the quality of these birdhouses, your investment should last for a long time.

7. Removable Clean Out Panel

Small, wooden birdhouse with a copper roof.Source: Wayfair

Each fall, when your birds migrate, it is a good idea to empty out the birdhouse and make sure that any bits of mess left behind are gone. This way, in the spring when they return, they will have a clean nesting box. While some people do not perform this action for their birds, neglecting to do so will result in your birds nesting in a dirty box. To make this process as easy as possible, it is a good idea to opt for a birdhouse that has a removable panel so you can easily reach in and clean out the birdhouse. Otherwise, it can be very difficult to complete this task and much easier to leave it undone, which will cause major problems in the spring, and may even cause birds not to nest in your birdhouse.

8. Handmade

Handcrafted birdhouse with a cylindrical body and a cone-shaped roof.Source: Etsy

It is very easy to buy commercially made birdhouses in in many locations, but if you want something that has been created with care and attention to detail, then it is a smart idea to look for one that is handmade. It is important to be prepared to spend a little bit more money for this type of birdhouse, but you will also be able to rest easy that it will likely last for a long period of time as there should not be any problems with the construction.

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