For the Birds
For the Birds - Your Guide to Attracting Birds in Your Backyard
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The Right Bird House in the Right Place Will Help Create a Bird Sanctuary in Your Own Yard

If you want to make your home a haven for birds, one of the best things you can do is to put up a bird house or bird shelf. They will particularly need them towards the end of winter when they are preparing to mate and nest.

If there's a certain species of bird you'd like to attract, then you'll want to get a house in which that type of bird prefers to live, because different kinds of birds prefer different kinds of houses. Here is a little guide on different kinds of aviary habitats and the birds that prefer them:

Enclosed houses

Wrens, bluebirds and tree swallows like single, enclosed birdhouses the best. Bluebirds and tree swallows will stay in a house in a fairly open area, but wrens prefer enclosed houses surrounded by some sort of shrubbery.

Bird shelves

Robins and phoebes will not stay in an enclosed house, so if you want to attract these species, putting up a bird shelf would be your best bet.

When looking for the house, first and foremost, make sure that it will be safe for the birds. It should definitely have holes on the top and bottom for ventilation and drainage. Also, it's best to pick a house that does not have a perch by the entrance, since this can attract cats. Also make sure that you don't place the house near predators, for instance, you wouldn't want to place one in a yard with outside cats or dogs.

Placement plays an important role in other ways as well. The entrance hole should be facing the north or east to prevent overheating during hot summers. You should also place no more than one house per tree for the same species, have no more than four nest boxes per acre for any one species of small bird (wrens, chickadees), and place no more than one house per acre for any one kind of larger bird (like robins).

It is also best to place houses on metal poles rather than wooden ones; this will help keep predators away. You want a place where the birds can safely build their homes, and if you take these precautions, you're likely to have the most delightful aviary sanctuary on the block.

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