HomeBackyard Bird SanctuaryThe Perfect Hiding Hole: Nest Boxes

Nesting Boxes


So, what are nesting boxes? Nesting boxes are simply birdhouses without all of the decoration and fuss. Functional nesting boxes for birds are vital to keeping those beautiful feathered friends safe and sound all year long. Over 80 different types of birds require nest boxes for shelter, warmth, and a place to have their young. If you have owls, blue jays, song birds, or kestrels, you might want to consider adding nesting boxes to your backyard sanctuary!

Nest Sites

Nesting sites vary from geographical location to geographical location. However, there are several commonalities no matter where you decide to put your nesting boxes. Most birds prefer to be higher than 5 feet from the ground and have their nest box “hidden” from predators. Placing your nest box near native plants in a standing tree (dead or alive) will provide a natural location for your feathered friends.If you want to attract woodpeckers or BlueJays, be sure to use a dead or older, sturdy tree and place the nest box where it looks like a “cave”, as these birds prefer darker, more recessed areas.

Hint: You can put a baffle under the nesting box to prevent squirrels from taking over the nesting box.

Nesting Materials

You can make your own nesting boxes or purchase ready made nesting boxes for your backyard bird sanctuary.

Be sure that you follow these guidelines from the Cornell Lab of Orinthology when choosing or building a nestbox:

You can make your own nest boxes or purchase them ready made. Look for these design features:

  • untreated wood (pine, fir, or cedar)
  • overhanging, sloped roof
  • drainage holes (not too large for eggs or nesting materials to fall through)
  • ventilation holes
  • easy access for monitoring and cleaning (at least 5 feet for most birds – Owls require at least 10 feet  😉
  • sturdy construction (no sharp edges or nails inside the box)
  • no outside perches

Hint: I prefer raw materials over finished materials. Cedar smells good but pine is more economical 🙂

If you are a DIY kind of person, building a nest box is quite easy. Click Here for the Dimensions for the type of bird you want to attract.

Nest Box Maintenance

Be sure you are a good caregiver if you put up a nest box for birds. Nest box maintenance is vital for our feathered friends safety and well being. If you put it up and forget it, two species of birds will bogart the nest box and destroy eggs of your precious songbirds and woodpeckers. House Sparrows and Starlings are aggressive and will take over unmonitored nest boxes.

At the end of each winter, be sure to take out all of the nesting material and make sure it is ready for a new season of little bird babies!

Ready to Spoil Your Little Birds?

If you are just getting started or need to add to your sanctuary,  I have listed a few nesting boxes that I have found to be favorites for my backyard beauties.

Woodlink Wooden Bluebird House

Retail Price: 26.99

Types of Birds: Bluebirds

Materials: Red Cedar

This is an affordable nesting box that is great for smaller birds. It is made of cedar (a great nest box material) and the perfect hole to protect birds and their babies!

Songbird Essentials Screech Owl House Nest Box

Retail Price: 58.00

Types of Birds: Owls, Song Birds, Kestrels and Flickers

Materials: Unfinished, natural, wood

While a bit more pricey, it is a great next box for different types of birds. The front pivots down for easy cleaning (a BIG plus!). It is sturdy and can be mounted 10ft high with ease.

Do you have pictures of your nesting boxes? Want to share your nest box stories? Please feel free to comment below. We would LOVE to hear from you!

Happy Birding 🙂

Ginger & Lori


The Perfect Hiding Hole: Nest Boxes — 7 Comments

  1. What a great way to protect your birds.

    We love sitting in the living room and watching the birds. We just have a simple feeding station but have to consider one of these nest boxes.

    Finally spring is getting closer and you here more birds, love it.

    Thanks for a well written good article on this topic,


  2. Pingback: Spring Has Sprung! - Backyard Bird Sanctuary

    • Mike,
      I agree, Raccoons can be quite a problem! Have you tried a baffle? The baffles that are tubes that fit over the pole tend to work the best. Also be sure that your feeders are mounted on a pole with a small diameter.
      The baffles that fit over the bird feeders do not work with Raccoons (or squirrels). Duncraft sells great baffles that attach to the pole. Hope this helps!
      Happy Birding,
      Ginger & Lori

  3. My fiancée’s mother was always a great lover of birds before she passed away, I’m sure when we get our own home we’ll want to invest in a quality nesting box and now I know just where to find some great info on which one to buy! I’ll be keeping an eye on your site for when we need to buy one, I’m adding it to my bookmarks now!

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