The Size of a Bluebird House


Bluebirds nest in hollow tree cavities near open woodland areas. As habitats disappear, suitable nesting areas become limited. Bluebirds only nest in tree cavities or other enclosed spaces. A bluebird house provides a nesting area for the adult birds to raise their young. Put a bluebird house close to a window were you can watch unobserved as the young birds learn to fly.

Bluebird House Floorplan

  • A house suitable for a bluebird house has an oblong shape with a sloping roof and a round entrance hole. Make the floor dimension 4 to 5 inches square and the front panel 10 inches tall. A back wall 1 to 2 inches taller than the front wall allows for an angled roof that will keep the rain out. Create a 1- to 2-inch overhang to keep the hole dry and protected. Most bluebird houses have a hinged roof to allow for seasonal cleaning and nest removal.

Alternate Designs

  • Some bluebird houses slope down in the front, creating a house that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. This design retains the square, sloping hinged roof, but instead of a floor the bluebirds build their nest in the crevice between the sloping front wall and the straight back panel. Round houses, made from a hollow tree branch or a hollow round piece of wood, have a 4- to 5-inch diameter and a sloping hinged roof.

The Entrance Hole

  • Bluebird houses have a round hole in the front panel 5 to 8 inches above the floor. Make the hole 1 1/2 inches wide to attract bluebirds. Entrance holes larger than 1 1/2 inches invite competition for nesting space from larger birds and encourage winged and pawed predators. A good birdhouse has the smallest possible hole for the intended kind of bird. Bluebirds do not require a perch outside the entrance; placing one there will only make it easier for predators to get in and encourage unwanted species. Two 1/- to 1/2-inch round vent holes just under the roofline provide fresh air and circulation inside the house.

Wood Selection and Color

  • Use bluebird houses made from clean, untreated wood. Cedar wood has natural oils that slow decay from water and insects. Pine wood makes a good material for bluebird house construction. Leave the outside unpainted or use a light color. Gray, tan or light blue blend well with the natural surroundings. Don't use dark colors if you paint; a dark birdhouse heats up in the sun and can cook the baby birds in their nest, warns the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

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