A decorative birdhouse adds a whimsical charm to any garden, but it's important to consider a few factors whether you are choosing one or several birdhouses. For the safety of your wild feathered friends and for long lasting functionality, choose your birdhouse or nesting box carefully. If you're a first time buyer, here are a few dos and don'ts you might want to consider:
1. DO Check the Hardware on the Birdhouse
A quality birdhouse will not have loose or plastic fasteners, nor will it be held together with staples. Any of these may injure a bird. It's best to choose a birdhouse that is held together with screws rather than nails, as you can easily remove the screws if you need to disassemble the birdhouse for maintenance. Also, be sure the screws are galvanized, which means they are treated with a protective zinc coating. If the screws are not galvanized, heat, rain, and humidity may cause rust or corrosion.
2. DON'T Forget an Easy Access Door
Whether your birdhouse/nest box is homemade or store-bought, the side door should be a major consideration. For easy access when cleaning, choose a hinged door model. It will also provide easy access when monitoring inside during breeding season. Before buying the birdhouse, check the mechanism on the hinge. Does it appear sturdy and open and close with ease?
3. DO Examine the Birdhouse Roof, Walls, and Interior Floor
It is best to choose a birdhouse that does not have a flat roof. Instead, choose a birdhouse with a slanted roof. Why is this important? Slanted roofs prevent rain from entering inside, and you will want to keep your feathered friends dry.
If you are building a birdhouse, pay attention to the walls. The walls should include a few ventilation holes. Next, consider the floor of the structure. The floor should include several drainage holes to allow moisture to drain. If the birdhouse does not have these drainage holes, simply cut a small section of wood from all four corners of the floor.
4. DON'T Build or Purchase a Birdhouse That Is Made With Wood Treated With Chemicals
The wood used for your birdhouse should be untreated. Varnish or other chemicals may cause illness in birds if ingested. Also, be certain the wood has not been pressurized. Pressurized wood may be treated with a fungicide or pesticide that can potentially harm a bird. Play it safe and decorate your garden with a birdhouse or nest box that is made from untreated and non-pressurized cedar or pine wood.
Remember, although you may be buying a birdhouse as decorative garden decor, it serves a distinct purpose. Be responsible and do your best to safeguard your feathered friends.