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What Birds Use Birdhouses: Guide to Nesting Preferences

Did you know that over 50 species of birds in North America use birdhouses for nesting? That’s right, these small structures play a vital role in providing shelter and protection for our feathered friends.

In this article, we will guide you through the nesting preferences of some popular birds that use birdhouses.

First up, we have the bluebirds. These beautiful creatures prefer open areas with few trees, making them perfect candidates for birdhouses placed in spacious fields or gardens.

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Next, we have the chickadees, known for their cheerful songs. These tiny birds love cozy, well-insulated birdhouses that are placed at a height of 5 to 15 feet above the ground.

Wrens, on the other hand, are known for their energetic nature and melodious tunes. They prefer birdhouses with small openings and ample cover, such as those surrounded by shrubs or trees.

Purple martins, with their dazzling purple feathers, are communal nesters and require large, multi-compartment birdhouses.

Lastly, woodpeckers, with their unique drumming sounds, prefer birdhouses made of natural materials like wood, with a small entrance hole and proper ventilation.

By understanding the nesting preferences of these birds, you can create the perfect environment to attract and support their nesting needs.

So, let’s dive into the fascinating world of birdhouses and discover which ones will make your backyard a haven for our feathered friends.

Key Takeaways

– Birdhouse placement is crucial for attracting desired birds, such as purple martins, bluebirds, and woodpeckers.
– Woodpeckers have specific nesting preferences, including excavating nest cavities in dead or decaying trees.
– To attract woodpeckers, it is important to provide birdhouses made of natural materials that mimic their natural nesting sites.
– Bluebirds prefer open, grassy areas with scattered trees, while purple martins prefer large, multi-compartment birdhouses located in open areas near water.


If you want to attract bluebirds to your yard, you’ll need to provide them with a cozy birdhouse to call home! Bluebirds are known for their vibrant blue feathers and cheerful melodies. They are insectivores, meaning their diet consists mainly of insects such as beetles, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. By providing a birdhouse, you can create a welcoming environment for bluebirds to nest and thrive.

Bluebirds have interesting migration patterns. In the colder months, they migrate to warmer regions in search of food. They can travel long distances, sometimes up to hundreds of miles, to find suitable wintering grounds. When spring arrives, they return to their breeding grounds to find a mate and raise their young.

To attract bluebirds, it’s important to choose the right type of birdhouse. Bluebirds prefer houses with a small entrance hole, typically around 1.5 inches in diameter. This helps to deter larger birds and predators from entering. The birdhouse should also be placed in an open area, away from dense vegetation, as bluebirds prefer open spaces for hunting insects.

Now that you have learned about bluebirds and their nesting preferences, let’s move on to the next section about chickadees.


Chickadees absolutely love cozy little homes where they can build their nests. These tiny birds have specific nesting habits that make them quite unique.

Chickadees prefer to nest in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes or natural tree cavities. They also readily accept man-made birdhouses, as long as they meet their specific requirements.

When it comes to Chickadee birdhouse designs, there are a few key factors to consider. First, the entrance hole should be about 1-1/8 inches in diameter, as this is the perfect size for Chickadees to enter and exit comfortably. The house itself should have a small nesting cavity, typically around 4-6 inches deep, with a rough surface to help the birds grip. Adding a hinged door or side panel for easy cleaning and monitoring is also a great idea.

Chickadees are known for their diligent nest-building habits. They construct their nests using a variety of materials, including moss, leaves, grass, and even animal fur. These nests are often lined with soft materials like feathers and plant down, providing a cozy and warm environment for their eggs and chicks.

Now, let’s move on to the next section where we will explore the nesting preferences of wrens.


To attract wrens, you’ll want to create a cozy and inviting nesting space with a small entrance hole and a rough interior surface for gripping. Wrens are small, lively birds that prefer to nest in cavities. They are known for their exquisite singing and their ability to build intricate nests. When it comes to nesting habits, wrens are very particular. They prefer to nest in natural cavities, such as tree holes or old woodpecker nests. However, they readily accept man-made birdhouses as long as they meet their requirements.

To make your birdhouse wren-friendly, here are some key considerations:

– Entrance hole size: Wrens like small entrance holes, typically around 1.125 inches in diameter. This helps deter larger birds and predators.

– Nesting materials: Wrens prefer soft materials like grass, feathers, moss, and leaves. Providing these materials nearby can help attract them to your birdhouse.

– Nest placement: Wrens like their nests to be hidden and sheltered. Place your birdhouse in a dense shrub or among the branches of a tree.

– Nest height: Wrens tend to prefer nesting at heights between 3 and 15 feet above the ground.

Creating a suitable nesting environment for wrens will increase your chances of attracting these delightful birds to your backyard.

Now, let’s move on to the next topic: purple martins.

Purple Martins

If you’re interested in attracting Purple Martins to your birdhouse, it’s important to understand their nesting preferences. Purple Martins prefer nesting in large, multi-compartment birdhouses that are specifically designed for them.

These birdhouses should be placed in open areas, at least 30 feet from trees and buildings, and should be mounted on a pole or post at a height of 10-15 feet.

To attract Purple Martins, it’s also important to provide them with ample space and protection from predators, such as installing predator guards and regularly monitoring the birdhouse for any signs of disturbance.

Nesting Preferences of Purple Martins

When you think of Purple Martins, imagine a vibrant community of birds nesting in specially designed birdhouses. These beautiful birds are known for their unique migration patterns, traveling all the way from South America to North America during the spring and summer months. They prefer to nest in areas near water, such as lakes or rivers, where they can find an abundant supply of insects, their preferred diet.

Purple Martins are skilled hunters, catching their prey on the wing with their agile flight and sharp beaks. To attract these fascinating birds to your backyard, it is important to provide them with the right type of birdhouse. Purple Martins prefer multi-roomed birdhouses that are located high off the ground, providing them with a safe and secure place to raise their young.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about the types of birdhouses preferred by purple martins, it is essential to consider their nesting preferences.

Types of Birdhouses Preferred by Purple Martins

Purple martins have specific nesting habits that can be accommodated by certain birdhouse designs. To attract these beautiful birds, it is important to provide them with an ideal purple martin birdhouse.

These birdhouses are typically made of lightweight materials such as aluminum, gourds, or plastic, which help to keep the interior temperature cool. The entrance holes are usually large and spacious, measuring around 2.25 inches in diameter, to allow easy access for the martins.

Additionally, the birdhouses should have multiple compartments to accommodate the social nature of purple martins, as they prefer to live in colonies. Providing these ideal purple martin birdhouse designs will greatly increase the chances of attracting these birds to your backyard.

With the right setup, you can create a welcoming environment that will entice purple martins to make your birdhouse their nesting site. Let’s explore some tips for attracting purple martins to your birdhouse.

Tips for Attracting Purple Martins to Your Birdhouse

To increase your chances of attracting purple martins to your birdhouse, try incorporating these simple tips into your setup.

– Provide multiple compartments: Purple martins are social birds and prefer to nest in groups. By having multiple compartments in your birdhouse, you can accommodate their preference for communal nesting.

– Use the right size entrance holes: Purple martins prefer larger entrance holes, typically around 2 ¼ inches in diameter. This allows them to easily enter and exit the birdhouse.

– Offer proper ventilation: Purple martins prefer well-ventilated birdhouses to regulate the temperature inside. Make sure your birdhouse has ventilation holes or gaps to ensure air circulation.

– Install predator guards: Purple martins are susceptible to predators such as snakes and raccoons. Use predator guards to protect the birdhouse and ensure the safety of the nesting martins.

– Provide a suitable location: Purple martins prefer open areas with clear flyways. Place your birdhouse in an open space, away from trees and buildings, to attract these birds.

By implementing these tips, you can not only attract purple martins but also increase your chances of attracting bluebirds and woodpeckers to your birdhouse. These birds have specific nesting preferences, and providing the right conditions will make your birdhouse more appealing to them.


Woodpeckers bring life and rhythm to your backyard with their lively drumming on trees. They are fascinating creatures known for their unique behavior and nesting habits. There are over 200 species of woodpeckers worldwide, each with its own preferences when it comes to nesting.

Woodpeckers typically excavate their own nest cavities in trees, using their strong beaks and powerful neck muscles. They prefer dead or decaying trees, as the wood is softer and easier to drill into. The entrance hole is usually small and round, just big enough for the woodpecker to squeeze through. Inside, the cavity is deep and narrow, providing a safe and cozy space for the woodpecker and its eggs.

To attract woodpeckers to your birdhouse, consider using natural materials such as wood or bark. The birdhouse should be mounted securely on a tree trunk or post, at a height that mimics their natural nesting sites. It’s also important to provide enough space between multiple birdhouses, as woodpeckers are territorial and prefer their own nesting area.

By providing a suitable birdhouse, you can invite woodpeckers to make your backyard their home. Not only will you enjoy their lively drumming, but you’ll also have the pleasure of observing their unique behavior up close. So get ready to welcome these fascinating birds to your backyard and enjoy the vibrant life they bring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the recommended dimensions for a birdhouse to attract bluebirds?

To attract bluebirds to your backyard, use a birdhouse with dimensions of 5.5 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep, and 9-10 inches high. Place the house in an open area, facing east or north. Use a 1.5-inch entrance hole and proper ventilation.

How can I prevent predators from accessing the birdhouse and harming the chickadee nest?

To deter predators from birdhouses and protect bird nests, there are several tips you can follow. Install predator guards on the entrance, avoid placing birdhouses near trees or other structures that predators can climb, and regularly clean the birdhouse to prevent attracting predators with food or scent.

Are there any special materials or features that wrens prefer in their birdhouses?

To attract wrens, use cedar or pine for their birdhouses, as they prefer the natural scent. Opt for a 1 1/8-inch entrance hole and a depth of 6-8 inches. Remember, “birds of a feather flock together!”

Can purple martins use birdhouses that are already occupied by other bird species?

Yes, purple martins can use birdhouses that are already occupied by other bird species. Birds can use birdhouses made from natural materials, and there are specific colors that attract them to birdhouses.

Do woodpeckers prefer birdhouses that are mounted on trees or free-standing poles?

Woodpeckers prefer birdhouses with roofs as it provides protection from the elements. While they are not particularly attracted to different colored birdhouses, they do prefer birdhouses mounted on trees rather than free-standing poles.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
Meet the BirdingPro Team: Passionate Bird Enthusiasts Guiding You to Discover the Avian World Through In-Depth Guides and Expertise!
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