Best Birdhouses Reviewed & Rated for Quality

Many people enjoy watching birds right in their own backyard, enticing them in by putting up feeders and birdbaths. While these actions will contribute to the amount of activity in your backyard, there is another item that will help lure in some birds as well. In the spring, some birds will already be searching out the perfect place for their nests. You can assist them in their search by strategically placing birdhouses in your yard. Birdhouses, when placed properly, give your nesting birds the security they need to raise their family.

Now your task at hand is finding one that is both visually pleasing to you, yet functional for the birds. Many people believe that there is nothing to picking out birdhouses, which couldn’t be any more wrong. Birds can be picky when it comes to where they will nest after all the safety of their young ones depends on their nesting place.

So before you rush out to purchase a birdhouse, put a little thought into which one the birds will use. Doing so will ensure you see some bird activity in your yard. We have taken the time to gather some information for you, to create a list of better birdhouses that can be purchased. Lists, such as this one, will better inform you of what you are getting before you make your purchase.

Last Updated: September 20, 2018
By Glenda Wagner:

The Backyard Lover Bluebird House included in the top three is the result of 30 years of studying the right attractiveness, materials, and dimensions to invite bluebirds to an area. Also new to the list are the Audubon Traditional birdhouse and the 2-Piece Deluxe Purple Martin Gourd. All Amazon links take you directly to the product.

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10 Best Birdhouses

 

1. Woodlink

1. Woodlink
First on our list is a birdhouse great for attracting bluebirds. Made from materials to ensure durability for nesting seasons to come. Once this birdhouse is hung in the proper location all you have to do is watch your birds for years to come.
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Materials
This birdhouse is built to last, using red cedar, for its weather resistance. Red cedar is also known for repelling those pesky insects as well, which gives the birds a more relaxing atmosphere.

Easy Access
The front panel opens to allow access to the inside of the box. Once your residents have left for the season, you can easily get into the inside to clean up after them. Doing so will continue to attract new birds each season.

Cost and Value
This birdhouse can be of great value to the bluebird population in your yard. At not that much cost to you, you get a birdhouse that can be used for years to come when properly cleaned.
Pros
  • Made from red cedar
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Venting at the top for circulation
Cons
  • Tags on the birdhouse are difficult to remove
  • Complaints that this birdhouse is difficult to hang

2. Cartman

2. Cartman
A birdhouse such as this is visually pleasing to you while fully functional to the birds that choose to use it. This birdhouse will look great hanging in either your front or backyard.
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Looks
Some people prefer to have a birdhouse that is visually pleasing to themselves. Dressing up their yard versus a plain birdhouse with no sense of style. This one was designed to look like a smaller farmhouse, giving the birdhouse a little curb appeal.

Functional
The amount of interior space provided, with the size of the opening, makes this birdhouse fully functional for a smaller sized bird. There is also a panel in the back that will allow you to be able to clean up at the end of the nesting season.

Cost and Value
A birdhouse like this one allows you to dress up your yard should you choose to do so. The size of the inside and entrance hole ensure that this birdhouse remains fully functional to smaller types of birds.
Pros
  • Looks cute
  • Made from both wood and metal
  • Panel in the back for cleaning
  • Good for smaller birds
Cons
  • Not weather resistant

3. Backyard Bird Lover Bluebird House

3. Backyard Bird Lover Bluebird House
Bluebird experts have used this bluebird house for years. You can bring the song and beauty of colorful birds to your yard. Wrens and chickadees like this birdhouse too. The Backyard Lover Bluebird House is the most proven design money can buy.
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Construction

The birdhouse is handcrafted by Amish woodworkers who love bluebirds and other backyard birds. The nesting box is an innovative design that has a nesting cavity that is smaller than many conventional birdhouses for bluebirds.

It is meant to dissuade sparrows that are not fond of smaller spaces. Many other small bird species like it. The PVC birdhouse has two parts - the roof and the body. Birds seem to like imitation tree cavity design.

How It Works

The body hangs from the roof using two wide-head steel screws. Support for the birdhouse is provided by a pole that fits into a pre-drilled recess hole on the back of the roof. A simple ½-inch electrical conduit pole is recommended.

You can also mount the box by affixing it to the pole with a flange attached to the underside of the body. By squeezing the birdhouse body to elongate it slightly, you can check the nest box. Reverse the process to put the body back.

Cost and Value

The white color makes it cool on hot days. Steve Gilbertson has tinkered with birdhouse attractiveness, materials, and dimensions for 30 years to make them just right for bluebirds.

The long-lasting floor and roof are made of western red cedar. Stainless steel screws that do not rust are used. Durable PVC plastic is nearly impervious to damage from animals is used for the body. The cost of the birdhouse falls in the medium price range.

Pros

Easy to mount

Highly proven design

Lasts a long time

Lightweight

Cons

Sparrows have invaded some of these birdhouses

4. Audubon Traditional Wren House

4. Audubon Traditional Wren House
The Audubon Traditional Wren House is specifically designed for wrens. It is a traditional style that has an entrance hole that measures 11/8 inches. Wrens and chickadees find the birdhouse especially attractive.
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Design

There is no perch which is a feature that discourages sparrows. The entrance hole is specifically designed to dissuade other unwanted species from nesting area invasion. The roof is slightly sloped and projects over the entry to provide some shelter.

Other Features

Drainage slots on the bottom and a gap at the top provide air ventilation. The well-made birdhouse is easy to clean. It should be cleaned out in the winter in preparation for the next spring. This natural wood birdhouse is popular with people who are not fond of metal or plastic birdhouses.

The bird house comes fully assembled. Hanging from a sturdy strap on small hooks or branches is easy. People who have purchased the birdhouse are impressed with how quickly wrens claim a piece of ‘real estate.’

Cost and Value

Anything with the name Audubon is expected to be high-quality. Customers feel the birdhouse is reasonably priced, even referring to it as inexpensive. The birdhouse is of high-quality artistry. The way it is made makes it worth the price.

One person described it as the ‘rambler’ for middle-income families of birds. The birdhouse can withstand extreme weather conditions. Directions about where and why to hang the birdhouse are included with the purchase. The birdhouse provides an opportunity to learn about the habits of wrens,

Pros

Air ventilation

Fully assembled

Hole sole specific to wrens

Screwed construction

Cons

Unfinished wood may need to be sealed

5. Audubon Coppertop

5. Audubon Coppertop
Great for various types of birds, this house has a unique style all it's own. Protecting the family of birds with the design style of the roof. You can be sure that all different types of birds will enjoy this home.
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Protection
The dimensions of the roof leave enough material hanging over the front. This extra material serves as a form of protection against predators. By blocking the reach of larger birds into the entrance hole.

Unique Style
Made from a quality wood, this birdhouse offers dependability, while looking sharp. The roof of the birdhouse is what sets this one apart from the rest, made from a chunk of copper. Giving the birdhouse a little-added style to the design.

Cost and Value
This is a less expensive version of some of the other choices on our list. With the unique stylish design of the birdhouse, you can hang this one where everyone can see it. Added protection will keep the birds safe from harm's way.
Pros
  • Made from wood
  • Has predator guard
  • Easy to clean
  • Copper roof
Cons
  • Stickers on the panels are hard to remove

6. Esschert

6. Esschert
Made to be beautiful and functional, you can use this birdhouse to dress up your yard decor. Perfect for smaller birds like wrens, you can be sure to be entertained right in your own backyard.
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Easy to Clean
There is a door on the side panel that will open up. This will allow you access to the inside of the birdhouse. You can carefully check on the young wren of the season, then when they have vacated the birdhouse, you can use that door to clean the birdhouse.

Beautiful
One great aspect of this birdhouse is the already weathered appearance, this is both pleasing to the birds and the human that sets it up. With it's one of a kind beauty, this birdhouse will freshen up your yard with a brand new look.

Cost and Value
This is one of the lowest on the list where cost is concerned but is definitely not low on our list for potential. Great for smaller birds, the opening will not allow larger birds into the house. Keep your yard looking great from year to year while maintaining the population of birds in your yard.
Pros
  • Made from wood
  • Easy to clean
  • Decorative
  • Good for small birds
Cons
  • Copper on the roof tend to hold heat

7. Nature's Way

7. Nature's Way
Another great choice for those looking to attract bluebirds or even sometimes sparrows. Made to be durable, with several mounting options, this birdhouse has plenty of potential for all your nesting seasons.
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Durable
Made from cedar, this birdhouse has a natural resistance to both insects and weather. It has also been treated with a water-based stain, to add to the lifetime of the birdhouse.

Mounting
This birdhouse can be attached to a pole for higher elevation, or mounted flush to your front yard tree. Where and how high you mount this birdhouse will depend on the type of birds you want to attract.

Cost and Value
With the potential to last for years to come, this birdhouse has a durable construction. Natural defenses against the weather and insects make this perfect in any weather conditions.
Pros
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean out
  • Several mounting options
  • Has air vents
Cons
  • Complaints of missing parts and damage upon delivery

8. 2-Piece Easy Clean Deluxe Purple Martin Gourd

8.  2-Piece Easy Clean Deluxe Purple Martin Gourd
The Heath Purple Martin Gourd is made of lightweight poly. It is ideal for hosting Purple Martins. The off-white of this lightweight plastic gourd reflects heat which keeps Purple Martins cool The entrance hole is starling resistant to prevent them from nesting. The gourds are available in four-, six-, and eight-packs. They can be paired with Purple Martin houses or used alone.
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Construction

Plastic gourds are parasite and rot resistant. The package includes hardware and mounting instructions. Rain reflectors are molded on the entryways. Drainage holes that help prevent water buildup are in the base. The deluxe, large gourd, two-piece design is easy to clean.

The gourd shape is suitable for small migratory species of birds. The birdhouses slide on a pole. They have a clip that keeps them from slipping and a plastic cup to prevent it from sliding off the pole.

Maintenance

Clean the birdhouses in the winter and return them to the same place. Mature birds return to a successful location from the prior year. Young birds populate newly installed birdhouses by arriving later. Do not tamper with the opening. It prevents predators from entering the birdhouse.

Cost and Value

The gourds are a long-lasting value. There is no worry about slippery floors that can cause chick leg deformation. Water that gets inside drains out of the bottom immediately. The birdhouse is a good value for the price.

The plastic does not become brittle in the heat. The birdhouses are easy to take down and disassemble for cleaning. Many people reorder these birdhouses to replace the same product that lasted for years. The basic simple gourd is well worth the cost. It meets the expectations for the price.
Pros

Easy one-screw assembly

Opens easily for cleaning

Starling resistant opening

Value for the price

Cons

Two halves sometimes present a challenge to interlock

9. WildBird

9. WildBird
This birdhouse was designed with smaller birds in mind, keeping them safe from larger birds and predators. The design plan for this house allows for easy clean up as well as draining excess water during rainy periods.
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Small Birds
Since this birdhouse is smaller in size, it is more compatible with smaller sized birds like the wren. The entrance hole is cut to size so that the larger sized birds cannot enter the birdhouse.

Hanging
A steel cable comes added to the design of the birdhouse, making hang up a breeze. This birdhouse comes completely assembled, so all you need to do is decide on a place to hang it.

Cost and Value
These birdhouses are smaller in size yet affordable, so you can feel free to hang more than one to satisfy the nesting needs of the birds in your yard. Since these are a no assembly required birdhouse, simply hang and you are ready to go.
Pros
  • No assembly required
  • Easy to clean
  • Venting and draining holes
  • Weather resistant
Cons
  • Complaints that craftsmanship is sloppy
  • Complaints that product was received damaged

10. Toysmith

10. Toysmith
This one was added to our list for those with children or grandchildren. This is a kit that will allow children to build their own birdhouse form the ground up. There truly is no more rewarding feeling, than watching a child reap their rewards of a successful build.
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Building
The kit for this includes all the materials you will need to build one smaller birdhouse, which will attract smaller species of birds. Included in the kit are four different colors of paint, as well as a chain to hang the birdhouse.

Size
Although this birdhouse comes in a smaller size, your child or grandchild will enjoy watching their hard work become successful. This house should attract smaller birds like the wren or even sparrows, highly active birds to keep the architect proud.

Cost and Value
These are very low in cost, so you can feel free to order several of these. Watching the glimmer in a child's eyes once they have finished the project and it is successful is priceless.
Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comes with chain to hang
  • Good for smaller birds
  • Great project for kids
Cons
  • Only good for one use
  • Can be difficult to assemble

After going over our list of birdhouses, you should be sure to continue with reading this review. Doing so will give you the information you need to choose a suitable location for your birdhouse. As we have stated earlier, birds can get very picky when it comes to choosing a place to nest.

The next section of this review brings us to the criteria we used to compile our list, as well as some questions that are frequently asked about birdhouses. This information can come in handy if you still are unsure of which birdhouse will work best for your yard.

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Birdhouses

Choosing your birdhouse

Since not all species of birds like the same things when looking for a nesting location, it is best to consider what type of birds you are getting the birdhouse for. You will need to consider several factors for the bird of your choice, before settling on the birdhouse you feel is the best fit. Birds are picky creatures of habit, so you will need to consider the size, shape, and entrance of your birdhouse.

Sizing

Depending on the type of bird you are accommodating, the size of the actual birdhouse will vary. For example, when choosing a birdhouse for a purple martin, you will need a space that has multiple “rooms” for many birds.

Martins prefer to live in a communal setting. Bluebirds tend to be the complete opposite. For these birds, you will need housing to accommodate one family of birds. A good rule to keep in mind when looking at birdhouses, smaller birds will require less space on the inside of the house, than a larger type of bird.

Design

The actual design of the birdhouse will vary according to the type of bird it will be housing. For instance, a martin will need an “apartment” style house, which allows for more of a community style living. Other birds, such as the wren, like to nest in a single space birdhouse away from other wrens. There are a few things that each birdhouse will have in common. Each birdhouse should be well ventilated at the top.

With holes in the flooring for drainage, as not to allow for flooding during rainy periods. Should you choose to paint or stain your birdhouse, choose colors that will blend with the surroundings. Be sure not to paint or stain the interior of the birdhouse. The fumes can be potentially dangerous to the birds.

The entrance

A key feature of your birdhouse that is often not considered, the opening to the house, or entrance hole. Smaller birds, like wrens, will need a smaller in diameter entrance hole. A small diameter helps protect them from larger birds, as the hole will be too small for them to enter the birdhouse. A larger species of bird will need a larger diameter hole to enter, make sure your entrance hole isn’t too large. If the hole is too large, it allows larger predators to enter the birdhouse.

Placing your birdhouse

Another aspect of a successful birdhouse is placing it in the right location. Location varies by the type of bird that will use the house for nesting. Bluebirds will prefer a more open space for placing their birdhouse since they feed mainly on insects this placement works out better for them. On the opposite end of the spectrum chickadees, they like to be surrounded by trees or bushes.

Height

A properly placed birdhouse will also need to be set at different heights accordingly. Some bird species like to be higher in the air, like 15 to 20 feet up. Others will want to be lower to the ground more like 5 to 8 feet above the ground. It is not recommended to go any lower than 5 feet; this will prevent predators from entering the birdhouse. A good trick for deterring predators, use a piece of stove pipe to wrap around the pole or tree trunk. The stovepipe will prevent the predator from attempting to climb up to the birdhouse.

Hanging the birdhouse

As far as to hang your birdhouse, some birds like to have their accommodations hung right on the trunk of a tree. It is best to attach your birdhouses to a sturdy pole or post to eliminate the number of predators.

In some areas weather can be a significant factor in placing your birdhouse, you want to hang the birdhouse so that the young birds inside have protection from the elements. Protection requires setting the opening in the right direction, away from the wind. Doing this will prevent the wind and rains from harming nay young hatch-lings inside of the birdhouse.

Food for thought

Even though you have followed the recommendations set forth for the type of bird you are looking to house, it doesn’t mean that the birds will use the houses you have hung. Birds prefer houses that are weathered, rather than ones made from newer materials.

You may need to leave a more modern house out in the elements for the first year before you see any activity. To increase your chances for bird activity, try to offer several different kinds of houses, this will provide homes to different types of birds.

Maintaining your birdhouse

Caring for your birdhouses after the tenants have departed is also very important for the next upcoming nesting season. Your birdhouse should have an access panel for you to get inside of the birdhouse. Before accessing the interior of your birdhouse, be sure that the nesting birds and their young have left the birdhouse.

Clean out the birdhouse, by removing any materials the birds have used to create their nest. Cleaning will keep the mice out during the “off” season, but will also leave the house open for birds who have more than one hatching period. A clean house makes for more and happy tenants.

Types of Songbirds and how to attract them

Songbirds are one of the more invigorating species of birds to watch. They are smaller, with a higher energy level than some of the larger birds. Luring them into your yard can be a feat all on its own, many people get frustrated by this, but knowing what these birds like, will help reduce the stress.

  • Bluebirds: Bluebirds will like to be at the outskirts of your yard, since sparrows and bluebird like the same style houses, hanging two can come in handy. Be sure to hang the birdhouses at least 25 or 30 feet away from each other. The height gives the birds some much-needed space. The best height for a bluebird house is 4 to 6 feet in the air. The height can be achieved on a pole or tree trunk.
  • Purple Martins: Purple martins are somewhat loner birds, they like open space, with little to no trees in the area. By recommendation, there should be no trees within 60 feet of the birdhouse you place for them. Make sure you place the birdhouse far away from your own. The recommended height for a purple martin house is 10 to 15 feet high.
  • Wrens: Wrens will make their homes almost anywhere, including in places you may not want them. To try to restore order to your yard, place a birdhouse for the wrens on a post that will allow you to place the house at least 10 feet up. Keep a small pile of nesting materials, like leaves or leftover brush, near the wren house. Doing so will entice the wrens into using the birdhouse

What to do for winter

Although during the winter many birds will migrate, some will stick out the cold and stick around. Breeding season will be long over with, but your birdhouses need to be maintained. Some will leave them out, transforming them into what is known as a roosting box. Others will choose to remove the birdhouses from their yard. They will place them into storage for the winter. No matter which you choose, you need to know how to achieve this goal.

Getting ready for storage

Now is the time to give your birdhouses a thorough cleaning, this will remove any debris and bacteria from the birdhouse. It is also the time for which to inspect your birdhouse, as some of them will require repairs to be ready for the next nesting cycle. After you have finished this process follow these simple steps to store your birdhouses:

  1. To prevent mold from growing, bring your birdhouses inside for some drying time. It is best to do this for a few days, to be sure that all the moisture has been removed from the birdhouse.
  2. Gather some larger sized storage bags, placing the birdhouse in the bags will lock out additional moisture during storage. It will also keep any unwanted guest, such as insects from entering your birdhouses.
  3. Put the birdhouses in an area that is dry, that will accommodate the number of birdhouses you have. Stacking your birdhouses isn’t recommended, as they could topple over, causing them to be damaged.

Making the birdhouse into a roosting box

There are birdhouses available designed to be both a house and a roosting box. Should you choose to go with one of those types of birdhouses, follow the directions giving for changing over the birdhouse. For those looking to try to switch the birdhouse over themselves, be sure you are not trying to do this with those fancier birdhouses. For those with a basic birdhouse follow these simple steps to change your house into a roosting box:

  1. Remove the piece with the entrance, turn it upside down, so that the entrance is now at the bottom. Doing this will help keep the heat inside of the roosting box.
  2. Now you want to seal up the birdhouse, this will mean that you need to plug the drainage holes and fill the ventilation at the top. Cutting foam to fit is found to be the easiest way to achieve this. Use silicone to fill any cracks or seams, once you have this done the roosting box can hold in heat.
  3. Give the birds a place to rest by putting plenty of perches inside the box, remember the birds will cram into the box to stay warm. Line the bottom with wood chips or sawdust, this makes cleaning after winter much easier. Not to mention it adds further insulation to the box.
  4. Cover the roof in a darker shade material, such as shingles, this will give the box added warmth. When placing the roosting box, make sure it is faced away from the direction the wind typically comes. The placement will keep the birds safe from the elements. When choosing the location for the roosting box, try to find a place in your yard that gets exposure to the sun in the afternoon. Afternoon sun will heat the box as well, keeping the birds warmer at night too.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best natural birdhouse available?

A: The most natural form of birdhouse you can get is a gourd. You have to create your entrance hole according to the bird type you are looking to attract. Then clean the inside of the gourd, so that it is free of both the seeds and pulp fibers. Make sure you drill a smaller hole or two for drainage into the bottom of the gourd. These can be hung from hooks, branches or attached to a pole if necessary.

Q: What types of birds use birdhouses?

A: There are at least thirty known species of birds that are known to use birdhouses. These types of birds are called cavity nesters. They will include bluebirds, house wrens, chickadees, purple martins, tree swallows and house sparrows.

In some cases, birdhouses are even known to entice wood ducks, screech-owls, woodpeckers, and nuthatches. Placing several different types of houses, in different places will increase your chances of bird activity.

Q: In what direction should a birdhouse face?

A: The entrance hole to your birdhouse should face away from the direction the wind in your area typically comes. Preventing the elements from entering your birdhouse will lead to a successful nesting season for the birds that use the house. For example, if the wind comes typically from the west in your area, you should place the birdhouse so that it faces east.

Q: What is the best material for a birdhouse?

A: In recent studies, wood has been found to be the best material to construct birdhouses. This is due to wood, such as cedar or redwood, having resistance to weather and decay. It has been found that wood offers the most durability, and is the most breathable material. After all, a rotted birdhouse won’t be as attractive to the birds.

Q: Is it safe to paint a birdhouse?

A: It is a fact that birds do not care what the birdhouse looks like visually, but an untreated birdhouse will see more activity than one that is stained or painted. Should you choose to paint or stain your birdhouse, select materials that are non-toxic.

As well as avoiding painting the interior of the birdhouse, fumes from the materials can potentially harm the birds using the space. Try to prevent darker colors, as those colors will retain heat, making the space unusable to the birds.

Q: Do I have to clean my birdhouses?

A: If you want the birdhouse to be visited by birds again then cleaning the birdhouse is a must. In some cases, birdhouses that aren’t cleaned out have been known to attract mice. First be sure that the birds that were in the birdhouse have indeed moved on.

Next, locate the access panel for the birdhouse, this is either on the side, or the top will open. Remove any leftover nesting materials, much like people; the birds won’t want to deal with the previous tenant’s mess. One all the debris is removed, close the access panel, your birdhouse is now ready for new tenants.

Sources

  1. Bird House Supply, How to Choose a Birdhouse: Location Matters for Bird Nesting Boxes
  2. Wild Bird Watching, Birdhouses-Tips to Choosing, Cleaning, and Maintaining
  3. Birds and Blooms, Attracting Nesting Birds with Better Birdhouses
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