Some believe that it is too late to hang your birdhouses out because Spring is almost over, and Summer is coming but we disagree. I will agree that Spring is the most prevalent time for birds to build their first nest but there are many birds that will lay eggs several times during a nesting season. You may have missed the first round, but you can definitely catch one of the others.
Here are some simple tips to attract birds to your birdhouses. First thing you need to do is figure out what kind of birds you want to attract to your yard. Different birds require different things for their homes. Entrance holes are very important. Our gourd birdhouses come in two sizes, one with a 1 1/8” hole and one with a 1 ½” hole. The smaller hole will attract Nuthatches, Chickadees, Warblers and House Wrens where as the larger hole will attract Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, Swallows and Flycatchers.
Location, location, location is the next area to tackle. Most birds will choose a house that is away from the hustle and bustle of the homeowners and away from high concentrations of other birds. Once a secluded spot is chosen, make sure to know the proper height that your birds like their houses hung. On average, most houses should be hung about 8’ above the ground. Bluebirds prefer 5’-8’ above the ground, House Wrens like to be 6’-10’ and Chickadees are more likely to nest in houses 4’-8’ above the ground.
Lastly, to make your yard more inviting to our feathered friends, put out short pieces of fiber, string, yarn, dryer lint and animal hair in onion bags for nesting material. Continue to feed your birds during the spring and summer season which will keep the birds attracted to your yard and provide a bird bath, so it is easy for the adult birds to get a drink and cool off before going back to sit on the eggs. One of the hardest things to do is once you know birds are looking at your houses, to leave them alone. Don’t try and see if there is a nest or eggs or even baby birds. I know I am as much of a sucker to see baby birds as the next birder but try to restrain yourself.
Now, if you decide to use a natural gourd birdhouse, here are a few tips we have found to help maintain them. Gourd birdhouses will last 5-10 years without any care (This does not include the dye or paint). The dye and paint will be long gone before the gourd wears out unless you repaint or dye it in between. Put birdhouses outside only for the nesting season. We have found exposure to freezing and thawing temperatures can deteriorate the finish. Once a season, re-coat with an outside polyurethane which will help maintain the gourd. It is best to re-coat before the old poly begins to peel too much. Avoid hanging in direct sunlight which helps the gourd not to overheat. Last thing, remember birds really do not mind if your gourd becomes faded or even peels, they are only looking for the best house to have their little ones in.
Good luck birding and I hope your yard is filled with pretty, feathered friends and their wee ones.