How to Snake Proof a Bluebird House

Bluebirds are popular songbirds that tend to look for hollowed-out spaces for nesting, making birdhouses ideal. Unfortunately, predators have a fondness for bird nests, and snakes in particular seem able to climb up most any pole. Snakes can eat eggs and curl up inside the house, causing considerable alarm for the birds upon returning home. With a few additional procedures when installing, you can help prevent snakes from gaining access to a bluebird house.

Things You'll Need

  • 6-foot PVC pipe, 1/2-inch in diameter
  • 1/2-inch hardware cloth
  • 8-inch diameter stovepipe, 2 feet long
  • Tin snips
  • Drill with 1/4-inch metal bit
  • 3 feet of bailing wire or 14-gauge steel wire
  • Pliers
  • Electrical tape
  • Birdhouse
  • Petroleum jelly or carnauba wax

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Plant the pole so the house entrance will face a nearby perch. This will allow the birds to peer inside before going in and also give hatchlings a visible destination for their first flight. Make sure the pole is slim and made of PVC to make it more difficult for snakes to climb.

Assemble the hardware cloth and stovepipe into a baffle. Hold a section of the hardware cloth, also called wire mesh, over the opening of the stovepipe. With tin snips, fashion a rough circle around the stovepipe opening, with about a 2-inch overlay. Snip the wire in the middle of the circle to fashion an opening for the PVC pole. Bend the edges of the circle inward and press into the stovepipe opening, about 2 inches from the top.

Cut four tabs on the end of the stovepipe. Using tin snips, cut 2-inch tabs at equal distances around the circle. Bend the tabs downward to rest on top of the hardware cloth. This will help prevent snakes from pushing it out.

Drill two small holes in the stovepipe, about 1 inch below opposing tabs and below the hardware cloth. Thread 3 feet of bailing wire through both holes, leaving the ends at an equal distance.

Place the open end of the stovepipe over the top of the pole and gently work it down until the top goes through the small opening in the center of the wire mesh. Continue lowering the baffle until it is about 8 inches from the top of the pole. Wrap the ends of the hanging wire around the post, tightening each end in opposite directions. Tighten the final knot gently with pliers. With electrical tape, wrap the wire and affix it even more firmly to the post.

Smear petroleum jelly or carnauba wax on the pole to make it even more slippery for snakes and also help prevent ants from climbing the pole.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check often to make sure the birdhouse remains snake-free and reapply wax or jelly as needed.
  • Keep grass and branches trimmed around the pole.

References

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