Provide a hinged side or roof so you can easily clean the house each spring early March is a good time. Use rust-proof hinges to make this task easier. Keep in mind that raccoons can open a hook and eye!
If bluebirds have been seen in your area, try putting up a bluebird house to attract them. Although houses are mainly used in the spring, autumn is a wonderful time to build the houses since bluebirds are early nesters, sometimes beginning as early as February. Also in very cold winter weather, houses will be used to shield these birds from the bitter cold winds and for them to roost together, sharing body heat to keep warm.
Bluebirds are cavity dwellers that use existing holes in trees, sometimes made by woodpeckers or other birds. Forested habitats have been destroyed in recent years, leaving the bluebirds with no where to nest. The decline in the population of these gentle beautiful birds caused alarm in many people. Bluebird houses, replacing the natural or woodpecker holes, have been built and erected throughout the continent. Bluebirds have happily adopted these new homes, many of which are along "bluebird trails," on golf courses and wildlife areas. The numbers of bluebirds being reported are once again on the increase.
Always face the house so that it looks out onto open areas - it seems that bluebirds love it this way. If you are putting up more than one house, space them apart about 100 feet. Be sure to monitor your house, checking inside on a regular basis to make sure that House Sparrows or other birds have not moved in.
Symbols of Love, hope and good fortune, bluebirds are excellent birds to attract to your garden. They are beautiful songbirds and are also beneficial to gardens because they dine on many insects that are destructive to flowers and vegetables.
Bluebirds prefer houses that are placed on poles, protected from squirrels, or in trees that grow on the edge of a clearing. Though bluebirds can be difficult to entice, once you have won them over, they will thrive and add a new dimension to your garden.
Allow about one acre of property for each bluebird house. Install the house in early spring before the birds have arrived for summer. After the birds leave in the fall, clean out (wearing gloves) and nesting material, dirt, or broken eggs.
Most houses should be attached to a post, building or tree. Bluebird boxes should not be placed on trees because of cats and raccoons.
Drill at least four ¼-inch drain holes in the bottom of every house, and two 5/8-inch ventilation holes near the top of each side of the house.
Provide a roof with at least a two-inch overhang on the front to protect the entrance hole from wind-driven rain, and to prevent cats from reaching in from above
The sides of the house should enclose the floor to keep rain from seeping into the house and nest. Recess the floor ¼ inch up from the bottom to further prevent rotting caused by moisture.
Other animals may take up residence in your boxes, including mice, squirrels, bees and wasps. If unwanted, remove them (be very careful not to get stung!), otherwise put up a few extra boxes to make room for both the expected and unexpected tenants.
Dont put perches on any bird house. (Take them off houses that you purchase.) The only birds that prefer them are starlings and house sparrows.
Do not use tin cans, milk cartons or metal for nest boxes. They can overheat and kill the eggs and young birds.
Wood is the best material to use. Avoid pressure-treated lumber because when it gets wet it can give off vapors that are poisonous to birds. Preservatives, such as paint or stain, can be used on the outside of the box, especially the back, but not on the inside. Avoid using creosote as a preservative.
Space next boxes at least 25 feet apart (300 feet for bluebird houses) to reduce conflicts. Most birds are territorial and protect the area around their nest.