There are different bird house dimensions for different species.
To attract the species you desire you will need to construct your bird house with specific sizes for the box itself, entrance holes and the species desired height placement above ground.
Using the correct bird house dimensions will also help to exclude undesirable species, i.e. house sparrows and starlings.
The table below will give you the recommended bird house plans/nest box sizes for various species:
|SPECIES||FLOOR (IN)||HEIGHT (IN)||HOLE DIAMETER (IN)||HOLE ABOVE FLOOR (IN)||BOX ABOVE GROUND (FT)|
|Great Crested||6x6||8-12||1 3/4||6-10||5-15|
|24x24 platform||-||-||-||at least 14|
|Brown-headed, Pygmy & Red-breasted||4x4||8-10||1 1/4||6-8||5-15|
|White Breasted||4x4||8-10||1 3/8||6-8||5-15|
|Osprey*||48x48 platform||-||-||-||at least 15 over water**|
|Great Horned Owl*||24x24 platform||-||-||-||-|
|Phoebes*||6x6 nest shelf||6||-||-||8-12|
|Barn*||6x6 nest shelf||6||-||-||8-12|
|Purple Martin||6x6||6||2 1/4||1-2||6-20|
|Tree & Violet Green||5x5||6-8||1 1/2||4-6||6-15|
|American Robin*||7x8 nest shelf||8||-||-||6-15|
|Eastern Blue Bird||5x5||6-12||1 1/2||4-10||4-10|
|Western Blue Bird||5x5||6-12||1 1/2||4-10||4-10|
|Mtn Blue Bird||5x5||6-12||1 9/16||4-10||4-10|
*These species species use a nesting shelf (3 sides and an open front) or a platform instead of a closed-box design.
**If the Osprey platform is placed inland, the height should always exceed the height of any nearby trees or 20 feet whichever is greater.
Audubon Birdhouse Building Placing, and Maintaing Homes
Not only hole size, but the internal floor space and entrance height from the floor level also vary depending on the species.
Using the right dimensions for your bird house is a good start to attract certain species, but you will also want to do a little research as far as placement.
For example, if you install a bluebird house under trees as opposed to an open area, like a grassy meadow, your chances of having occupants will be greatly reduced.
If you follow the links below to specific bird house designs, there are more tips according to species.
The video below shows you how to build a bird house from scrap pieces of wood and offers some tips on construction. The ornithologist also explains why the decorative bird houses you buy from your local knickknack store isn't always best for the birds.
Below are some great books on bird house construction, bird house plans, building your own bird houses and bird feeders from beginning to advanced designs:
For more specific designs and step by step instructions, go to these pages:
One-board bluebird house plans plus other designs, including one that keeps nestlings cool in hot climates.
Purple Martin Bird House Plans
One and two levels designs with multiple rooms and how to attract purple martins.
How to make bird houses from dried gourds for bluebirds, woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, swallows, purple martins, how to grow and dry gourds, pre-made gourd birdhouses.
How to Build a Bird House - Hollow Wood Log
Step-by-step instructions of how to hollow out a log to make a bird house
Robins will not use bird houses to build their nests because they are not cavity nesters, like bluebirds, swallows, and wrens.
Instead, they build their nest in trees between branches and in shrubs, using grasses and mud.
If you want to attract robins to nest, you can provide a nesting platform or shelf.
American Kestrel Nest Box Plans
How to build a nest box with the correct dimensions for American Kestrels
Plans with hole size requirements for House Wrens, Carolina Wrens, Winter Wrens, and Bewick's Wrens.
And for tips on bird house construction and materials go to:
Making Bird Houses - Construction Tips
Using the correct wood, box size, roof type, placement and more.
Install a Bird House Hole Guard
Installing a birdhouse hole guard is important to keep predators out to protect the nestlings.
A winter roost box can help multiple birds shelter at night and keep warms when the weather is cold and snowy.
Free Bird House Plans Main Page
Plans for all species and constructions tips.
To keep starlings out of a bird house, the hole must be 1.5" or smaller.
If you are building a box for birds that require a larger size, such as wood ducks, kestrels, woodpeckers, etc.. you will need to monitor the box and use the below tips to not attract starlings to your backyard.
As mentioned before, not all birds use bird houses or nest boxes; only cavity nesters like chickadess, wrens, bluebirds, swallows, purple martins, woodpeckers, etc..
Often people contact use and say they cannot find the correct hole size for a hummingbird, robin, mockingbird, waxwing, catbirds, cardinals, etc. but that is because they build their nests between the branches of trees and shrubs and not inside a tree cavity or hole and therefore won't use a birdhouse.
Robin and Phoebe Nest Shelf Plans
Hummingibrds do not use bird houses since they are also not cavity nesters.
They build their tiny cup nests on the branches of trees and shrubs.
No, cardinals will not use bird houses. They build their nests in trees, dense shrubs, and within the tangles of thick vines.
Hope you enjoy building your bird house and its future occupants!
Birdhouse Dimensions Chart - US Fish & Wildlife Service Table
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