Some birds naturally nest in snags. They are called cavity nesters. But when snags (dead trees) are cut down in yards, streets, parks and forests, the cavity nesters have nowhere to raise their young or find protection for the winter. We can help by putting up nest boxes (birdhouses).
Nest Boxes Size Specifications
Many cavity nesting birds prefer certain specifications in their nesting sites. Below the box dimensions needed by various species of birds are given to help you choose what size you need.
- size of nest box
- how tall the box is
- how high the entrance hole is from the bottom of the box
- the size of the entrance hole
- and high high up from the ground the box is placed
Some of these specifications are to help guard against predators. Others are to keep invasive species such as Starlings or House Sparrows from taking over a nest box.
Where to Pace a Nest Box
- the nest boxes should be placed sheltered form the rain
- out of the direct sun
- out of the reach of predators
These guidelines are useful for making nest boxes but for buying nest boxes, too.
And remember, not all birds will nest in a box. Only the birds that naturally nest in tree cavity or other enclosed spaces will.
Nest Box Dimensions for Specific Bird Species
Nest Box Dimensions
|American Robin*||7 x 8||8||—||—|
|Eastern & Western Bluebirds||5 x 5||8 – 12||6 – 10||1 ½||4 – 6|
|Mountain Bluebirds||5 x 5||8 – 12||6 – 10||1 ½||4 – 6|
|Chickadee||4 x 4||8 – 10||6 – 8||1 1/8||4 – 15|
|Titmouse||4 x 4||10 – 12||6 – 10||1 ¼||5 – 15|
|Ash-throated Flycatcher||6 x 6||8 – 12||6 – 10||1 ½||5 – 15|
|Great CrestedFlycatcher||6 x 6||8 – 12||6 – 10||1 ¾||5 – 15|
|Phoebe*||6 x 6||6||—||—||8 – 12|
|Brown-headed/Pygmy/Red-breasted Nuthatch||4 x 4||8 – 10||6 – 8||1 ¼||5 – 15|
|White-breasted Nuthatch||4 x 4||8 – 10||6 – 8||1 3/8||5 – 15|
|Prothonotary Warbler||5 x 5||6||4 – 5||1 1/8||4 – 8|
|Barn Swallow*||6 x 6||6||—||—||8 – 12|
|Purple Martin||6 x 6||6||1 – 2||2 ¼||6 – 20|
|Tree and Violet-green Swallows||5 x 5||6 – 8||4 – 6||1 ½||5 – 15|
|*Use nesting shelf, platform with three sides and an open front|
Purchasing Ready Made Birdhouses
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route many birdhouses are readily available to buy. Some sets include the posts to place the in the ground and baffles to prevent predators from raiding bird eggs.
Before buying a birdhouse read my interview with Rob Carter of LoveNest Birdhouses on choosing and maintaining birdhouses. I am an affiliate of LoveNest Birdhouses and receive a commision when you use the links on this website.
Further Information on Providing Places to Raise Young
Cavity Nesters: Birds Who Use Holes in Trees (these birds use nest boxes or birdhouses)