When building a birdhouse you should consider certain design specifications. To attract particular species it is important to build your birdhouse with their specific housing requirements. The design considerations are the floor size, the depth, how high the entrance hole is above the floor, the diameter of the hole and how high the birdhouse is above the ground. Each of these are specific to a bird type or a group of bird types.
The reason that these are important is that they attempt to match the natural habitat of the bird that you are hoping to attract. The hole size and the height of the entrance hole above the floor are extremely important as these ensure the safety of nesting birds so that unwanted species can enter and/or reach the housed bird’s eggs.
Birds can be choosy when searching for the right home so it may be better to give them several options. This way they can pick the home that makes them feel the most comfortable.
The Red-Tailed Hawk, Osprey and the Great Horned Owl prefer a platform and Robins, Barn Swallows and Phoebes prefer a nesting shelf.
The birdhouse size specification chart shown here is only a general guideline. Individual birds may use houses slightly larger or smaller than the size listed below.
(Click name to view)
|Bluebird – Eastern||5″ x 5″||8-12″||6-10″||1 1/2″||4-6′|
|Bluebird – Mountain||6″ x 6″||8-12″||6-10″||1 1/2″||4-6′|
|Brown Creeper||4 x 4″||8″||6″||1 3/8″||4-10′|
|Bluebird – Western||5.5 x 5.5″||8-12″||6-10″||1 1/2″||4-6′|
|Chickadee – Black-capped||4″ x 4″||8-10″||6-8″||1 1/8″||4-15′|
|Chickadee – Chestnut-backed||4″ x 4″||8-10″||6-8″||1 1/8″||4-15′|
|Chickadee – Mountain||4″ x 4″||8-10″||6-8″||1 1/8″||4-15′|
|Chickadee – Siberian||4″ x 4″||8-10″||6-8″||1 1/8″||4-15′|
|Duck – Barrow’s Goldeneye||8″ x 8″||12-15″||9-12″||3″||10-30′|
|Duck – Wood||10″ x 18″||10-24″||12-16″||4″||10-20′|
|Duck – Bufflehead||10″ x 18″||18-20″||16-18″||4″||10-20′|
|Finch – House||6″ x 6″||6″||4″||2″||8-12′|
|Flicker – Common||7″ x 7″||16-18″||14-16″||2 1/2″||6-20′|
|Flicker – Northern||7″ x 7″||16-18″||14-16″||2 1/2″||6-20′|
|Flycatcher – Crested||6″ x 6″||8-12″||6-10″||1 1/2″||5-15′|
|Grackle||7″ x 7″||16″||14″||2 1/2″||12+’|
|Hawk – Red-Tailed||24″ x 24″ Platform||14+’|
|Kestrel – American||8″ x 8″||12-15″||9-12″||3″||10-30′|
|Nuthatch – Brown-headed||4″ x 4″||8-10″||6-8″||1 1/8″||5-15′|
|Nuthatch – Red-Breasted||4″ x 4″||8-10″||6-8″||1 1/4″||5-15′|
|Nuthatch – Pygmy||4″ x 4″||8-10″||6-8″||1 1/8″||5-15′|
|Nuthatch – White-Breasted||4″ x 4″||9-11″||7-9″||1 1/4″||5-15′|
|Osprey||48″ x 48″ Platform||14+’|
|Owl – Barn||10″ x 18″||15-18″||4″||6″||12-18′|
|Owl – Great Horned||24″ x 24″ Platform||14+’|
|Owl – Pygmy||7″ x 7″||16″||14″||2 1/2″||12+’|
|Owl – Saw-whet||7″ x 7″||16″||14″||2 1/2″||12+’|
|Owl – Screech||8″ x 8″||12-15″||9-12″||3″||10-30′|
|Phoebes||6″ x 6″||6″||1+ Side Open||8-12′|
|Purple Martins||7″ x 11″||6″||1-2″||2″||10-15′|
|Robin – American||7″ x 8″||8″||1+ Side Open||6-15′|
|Snow Bunting||5″ x 5″||8″||6″||1 3/4||6-15′|
|Sparrow – House||5.5″ x 5.5″||9-12″||6-7″||1 1/2″||—|
|Swallow – Barn||6″ x 6″||6″||1+ Side Open||8-12′|
|Swallow – Violet-Green||5″ x 5″||6-8″||4-6″||1 1/2″||5-15′|
|Swallow – Tree||5″ x 5″||6-8″||4-6″||1 1/2″||5-15′|
|Woodpecker – Downy||4″ x 4″||8-10″||6-8″||1 1/4″||5-15′|
|Woodpecker – Hairy||6″ x 6″||12-15″||9-12″||1 1/2″||8-20′|
|Woodpecker – Lewis||7″ x 7″||16″||14″||2 1/2″||12+’|
|Woodpecker – Pileated||8″ x 8″||16-24″||12-20″||3×4″||15-25′|
|Woodpecker – Red-Bellied||6″ x 6″||12-15″||9-12″||2 1/2″||10-20′|
|Woodpecker – Red-Headed||6″ x 6″||12-15″||9-12″||2″||10-20′|
|Woodpecker – Sapsucker||5″ x 5″||12-15″||9-12″||1 1/2″||10-20′|
|Titmice||4″ x 4″||10-12″||6-10″||1 1/4″||5-15′|
|Warbler – Prothonotary||5″ x 5″||6″||4-5″||1 1/8″||4-8′|
|Wren – Bewicks||4″ x 4″||6-8″||4-6″||1 1/4″||5-10′|
|Wren – Carolina||4″ x 4″||6-8″||4-6″||1 1/4″||5-10′|
|Wren – House||4″ x 4″||6-8″||4-6″||1 1/4″||5-10′|
|Wren – Winter||4″ x 4″||6-8″||4-6″||1 1/4″||5-10′|
Some birdhouse building tips include:
- Many birds prefer the opening to be away from the prevailing winds.
- Never use paint or stain inside the birdhouse.
- Birds are territorial so you should not place different houses near each other.
- Do not put perches or platforms on your birdhouses. Birds don’t need them and they give predators the advantage of a place from which to ply their destruction.
- The wood you use to build your birdhouse should be at least 3/4″ thick. Anything less may allow heat to build up which would be detrimental to young birds. Use a naturally decay-resistant wood like cedar, redwood or a good grade of exterior plywood is best for building bird houses.
- To keep the nest and its contents dry you should provide proper drainage by having an ample overhang on the roof and small drain holes bored in each corner of the floor.
- Ventilation can be provided by drilling vent holes at the top of each side or with a gap between the roof and sides.
- Don’t put bird houses near bird feeders.
Back to the shop…
7 replies on “A Bird House Specification Chart“
about your no perch statement last 9 years I have built and sold almost 9000 houses 98% have hade perches I tell my cust if you don’t want it knoch it in with hammer. there is no way a bird like a crow can sit on a perch that is one inch or so below the hole and put his head into nest. I do craft shows in Oregon under the name just 4 the byrds and I have sold to or shipped to over 22 countries. good article .
Wow! That’s a lot of birdhouses! As for perches, yes, a personal choice. They do look good and folks do expect them. However, as we said, they are not needed. Thanks for the comment regarding.
A squirrel chewed my Bluebird house hole bigger than it was does this matter.
Quite possibly, depending how much damage was done and how much bigger the hole is 🙁
Because we have lots of squirrels in our area we got in the habit of putting “squirrel guards” on our birdhouses before we mount them. These are simply lids off tin cans that have the same size hole drilled in them. We paint them a complimentary colour and then tack them to the house.
In your case, you can do it now keeping your birdhouse functional and deter any future damage. Be careful working with the lid, the edges can be very sharp!
Hope this helps!
I have built many swallow nesting boxes, some with perches and some without. The nesting boxes with perches always get taken first. It seems that tree swallows, at least, prefer nesting boxes with a perch.
Living in the mountains, I have quite a few bird houses. Recently either a squirrel or a woodpecker damaged the openings to quite a few bird houses. What’s the easiest way to repair the openings without having to take each one down off the tree or having to redo the entire front face of the box?
Our solution was as stated above, squirrel guards made from the lids of tin cans 🙂