Bob Vila Radio: Planning Birdhouses

If you'd like your backyard to play host to birds next spring, now is the time to build them a place to live.

By Roseann Foley Henry | Updated Oct 4, 2013 10:49 AM

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It’s one of life’s true pleasures to watch birds as they nest in the spring. If you’d like to encourage birds to build their nests in your backyard next year, now is the time to create the right home for them.


Listen to BOB VILA ON PLANNING BIRDHOUSES or read the text below:

Planning Bird Houses


Building a birdhouse is not only a simple and satisfying DIY project—and a great starter project for kids—it’s also a way to put out the welcome mat for next spring’s nesters. Many birds scope out their future nesting sites in the fall and winter, so building a birdhouse now can get you on their house tour.

Related: How To: Make a Birdhouse

The most important thing to remember is that not all birds nest in cavities like birdhouses. Robins, cardinals, and jays, for example, prefer open nests that they build in trees. Bluebirds, wrens, nuthatches and woodpeckers prefer to build in cavities, so your birdhouse should be designed for them.

You can get a materials list and instructions for a basic birdhouse on—and it takes only a four-foot length of one-by-eight-inch cedar board to make one.

The opening in the birdhouse helps determine what bird will call it home—and the smaller the hole, the fewer the species that can use it. A round opening of one and a quarter inch will accommodate most of the species you’d want in your yard while keeping out most predators. Make sure your birdhouse can be opened up at least once a year, after nesting season is over, so you can clean it out for next year’s tenants.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.