Weekend Challenge

Weekend Challenge: Install a birdhouse

It’s time again for your weekend challenge. This week’s challenge: install a birdhouse somewhere in your yard. If you’ve read my blog over the years, or even in the past month, you’ll know how much I love my feathered friends of the sky. Once you’re done reading this post, check out these related posts.

Note: This post is best viewed on my website. Click the title at the start of this post to be redirected to my website.

Three reasons to put up a birdhouse in the spring

Installing a birdhouse is an inexpensive and fun weekend project. It benefits the birds, environment, and you. Here are some reasons why you should put up a birdhouse:

  1. Provide a nesting habitat: One of the primary reasons to put up a birdhouse is to provide a safe, secure nesting habitat for birds. By doing so, you give birds a greater chance at raising successful young. Different types of birds prefer different types of houses, so it’s important to select the appropriate type of birdhouse.
  2. Attract birds to your yard: Putting up a birdhouse can help attract birds to your yard. This will allow amateur birdwatching for you and your family. Birdwatching and birdsong are scientifically proven to lower stress and anxiety.
  3. Control pest population: Insects plays an important role in nature. One of those roles is filling up the bellies of backyard birds. Aphids, mosquitoes, beetles, flies, and spiders et al can be reduced to a more desirable level (without toxic insect sprays!) by providing birds with a nesting habitat. Here’s a list of common backyard birds and their preferred bug delicacy of choice.
Life on the inside of a chickadee birdhouse. Courtesy: Lesley the Bird Nerd. YouTube.

Types of birdhouses

  1. Bluebird house: These birdhouses are designed specifically for Eastern bluebirds and have an entrance hole of 1.5 inches. They should be placed in open areas with a clear line of sight and at least 5 feet off the ground.
  2. Wren house: Wren houses have a small entrance hole of 1 inch and should be placed in shrubs, trees, or other vegetation about 5 to 10 feet off the ground.
  3. Chickadee house: These birdhouses have a 1.125-inch entrance hole and should be placed in wooded areas, about 6 to 15 feet off the ground.

Learn more about other types of birdhouses, including shelter for purple martin colonies and nest shelves for robins, cardinals, and blue jays at “Best bird houses for different types of birds.” If you’re handy with wood and want to make your own birdhouse, you can find instructions on how to make a variety of birdhouses at NestWatch.

Where to place birdhouses

The location of your birdhouse is just as important as the type of birdhouse. Here are some general guidelines for where to install a birdhouse:

  1. Place birdhouses in a quiet area away from human traffic.
  2. Make sure the birdhouse is not exposed to direct sunlight, which can overheat the interior. Remember: baby birds will be born here.
  3. Keep birdhouses away from predators such as cats and raccoons. Outdoor cats are the #1 threat to birds and kill an estimated 2.4 billion birds every year. I love cats. I had a cat named Gus for 24 years. But remember how much Sylvester wanted to eat Tweety when grandma wasn’t looking?
  4. Make sure the birdhouse is easily accessible for cleaning and maintenance. Do not clean the birdhouse while birds are nesting — only long after the season and they have left.
  5. Consider the height and distance from the nearest tree or bush for birds to perch or fly out of the birdhouse. Do not place near heavy squirrel activity. Squirrels, yes squirrels, will sometimes eat bird eggs and baby birds.

Where to buy a birdhouse

  1. Buy local. I’m a fan of Wild Birds Unlimited and we have a store here in Charlottesville. You can find your nearest Wild Birds Unlimited using this link. Support your locally-owned business whenever possible. One of my buddies back home, Dwayne, runs a feed supply store: Hall’s Farm Supply. I can’t say for sure if they have birdhouses but you can ask. I know they have bird seed. If you have a similar family-owned business in your area or Southern States co-op, support them before you look elsewhere.
  2. Buy on Amazon. I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising revenues by advertising and linking to This program is at no cost to you and keeps me from having to plaster pop-ups and banner ads on this site which is annoying as all get out and, is quite frankly, a terrible user experience. I’ve included a link to birdhouses you can order from Amazon here.

Sharing your weekend challenge

If you do this challenge, snap a photo of your freshly installed birdhouse and share it on social media as #weekendchallenge and link to this post. You can even preemptively share it on social media and invite others to join the challenge. Lastly, if you do the challenge and want to let me know, scroll down to the comments and drop your social media or blog link in where it says, “Website.” Alternately, you can contact me here.