Last updated: August 6, 2021

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Food and nesting sites are becoming scarcer. In addition, we humans are robbing the birds of their habitat. That's why birdhouses are a sensible way to help titmice, blackbirds, sparrows and the like through the winter. Are you interested in nature conservation or bird watching and would like to buy a bird house? Then you've come to the right place.

Whether hanging on the balcony or with a stand for your garden - we compare different types of birdhouses and show you which one is best for you. We explain how to set up your bird house correctly, where to hang your bird feeder, what to put in a nesting box and everything else you should consider.




Summary

  • Birdhouses can be placed in all kinds of places that are available to you outside
  • Important purchase criteria are whether you want to feed birds or help them breed, the size, the material, the equipment and the accessories
  • Birdhouses are available in a wide range of price categories. Good products are already available for a low price

The Best Birdhouse: Our Choices

In the following we have listed our favourites among the birdhouses. The information and reviews should help you find the right one for your needs.

Buying and evaluation criteria for birdhouses

In order to find the best bird house for you, we have listed some buying criteria that we think are important for making the right purchase. The following points should also make the comparison easier and enable you to make an objective and informed choice. Criteria to help you find the perfect bird house for you:

In the following, we will go into more detail about these criteria and explain what you should consider.

Size

Depending on which bird species you want to attract or observe, different sizes are suitable for you. If you want to feed small birds such as tits, sparrows or blackbirds, a small bird house for hanging or standing is sufficient. If you prefer to attract large wild birds, we recommend a larger bird house.

For birdhouses with holes and nesting boxes, the size of the entrance hole is most important. For example 30 mm for tree sparrows. House sparrows, great tits or nuthatches like to visit from a size of 32 mm. For special specimens such as owls, there are special specimens in DIY stores or on special websites.

Nest box vs. bird feeder

Once you have decided on your bird species of choice, you should ask yourself whether you want to feed the birds or offer them a nesting place. It may help to read up a little on birds. The right size and the right entrance hole are also important here. If you decide on a nesting box, it should have a base area of at least 12 by 12 cm. A high location is advantageous for nesting boxes. A bird house that can be hung or drilled is recommended.

Feeding houses, on the other hand, should offer a feeding place that is open all around and at least 30 by 15 cm in size. Although they are not suitable for breeding, they offer a nice plateau for bird watching. The higher the distance between the ground and the roof of the feeder, the more space there will be for small birds and large birds. If you have little or no outdoor space, you can alternatively get a feeding column and hang it on the window.

Location

Feeders and nesting boxes are available in all variations. Whether you choose a hanging bird feeder, one with a stand, one with a ground spike or one that can be drilled depends not only on the type of bird you want to feed, but also on your options. Depending on the bird species, you need a different type and a different location for the birds to find their way to you. If you decide on large birds, we recommend birdhouses with a size of 33 cm or more. These can be placed in the garden or on your terrace with a stand.

Depending on the bird species, you can also grow different plants. You can find out which plants attract which birds on the internet. If you can't find a sheltered spot, you can also buy bird feeders with weather protection on the side. If you don't have a garden or terrace, or if your balcony is too small, there are birdhouses specially designed for your window, window box or outside railing. Find out more about your bird species and its needs. Also make sure that there is no danger to the birds at the window. For example, stick cut-out birds on the window so that the birds do not fly against them and make sure that there are no sharp edges or other dangerous places.

Material

Not only the size and your location options are decisive factors for your choice. The material is also an important purchase criterion. Depending on the location you have chosen, you will need a different type of bird house. If you have chosen a nesting box in the garden, for example, we recommend one made of robust material to protect it from the weather and predators.

Suitable materials are, for example, wood concrete or thick wood. Plastic houses can also work, as long as you keep them sterile and clean. The same applies to your bird feeder. In principle, you can choose any material as long as it is weatherproof and keeps the food dry.

Design

If, in addition to conservation, you are interested in a beautiful garden, a modern patio or decorating, you should know that there are birdhouses for every interior design taste. Whether classic and simple, made of wood in a natural look, colourful and kitschy or modern and made of plastic - the market offers birdhouses for every type. In addition, the right design and accessories can be decisive in attracting birds even in less than ideal locations.

For example, a bird house with a natural design made of wood and decorated with branches is well suited for tits. In nature, tits usually find their food on branches. If you choose a modern bird house made of plastic, you should be aware that it is not very air-permeable and birds will take longer to recognise it as a feeding place. You should clean this type of bird house frequently to protect birds from infection and also place plants to attract your birds. If you prefer colourful and kitschy, we recommend green roofs with a natural look.

Accessories

In addition to size, material and design, the right accessories are also important. As already mentioned, twigs or certain plants next to your feeder are a useful invitation for your feathered friends. With the right plant in the corner, even the most secluded balcony will be discovered. Furthermore, you can protect your window feeder from fatal collapses by using cut-out templates, for example.

You should also have the right food ready. Basically, you can divide birds into grain eaters, soft food eaters and omnivores. Find out about your bird species and provide only the right food.

DIY options

Are you a real do-it-yourselfer or do you have children with whom you would like to build your own bird house? Then you can do it yourself. The advantage of building your own bird house is that you can put together your own individual bird house, depending on the set. This is a good idea if you have special wishes that are not available in the shops or if you want a combination of several components.

Do-it-yourself is also a good option for you if you value design. On the internet you can find all kinds of blogs and instructions for birdhouses of all kinds. For example, you can build an Asian birdhouse for your Feng Shui garden.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about birdhouses

In the following we would like to answer the most important questions about bird houses. This will give you an even deeper insight into the topic.

Which bird house is suitable for me?

The question of whether you are a birdhouse person is quickly answered. Do you like to watch birds? Are you into nature conservation or biodiversity? Or do you want to show our nature to children? Then a birdhouse is something we can only recommend to you.

Vogelhäuser -1

Unlike bird feeders, nesting houses have small entrance holes.
(Image source: unsplash.com/Tim Mossholder)

More important is the question of what exactly your intention is. If you don't want permanent boarders and have enough money left over for food, a bird feeder is a good idea. If, on the other hand, you don't want to constantly spend money on new food and have found out that your favourite birds are currently severely threatened?

Then a nesting box is worthwhile in order to propagate the species. You should also look at your possibilities. If you have a large garden, a terrace or a balcony, you can place all kinds of bird feeders. If you don't have a garden and less space, smaller nesting boxes or a hanging feeder will work well for you.

What types of birdhouses are there?

Depending on the type of bird and the purpose of your bird house, bird houses are available in a variety of materials and designs. The classic version made of solid wood or concrete is particularly suitable for nesting boxes or feeders that have to withstand the weather and predators. With plastic models, you should pay attention to the quality of the material and to keeping the house ventilated and the feeder silo sterile and dry.

Metal models and those hanging from your window should be injury-proof. If you have a garden, the market offers feeders with stands, ground spikes or hanging strings. If you only have a balcony railing, window or flower boxes, this is no problem either. Amazon, Fressnapf and Co. offer various smaller nesting boxes and feeders with special holders. In the end, the birds and their needs are decisive for your choice.

Feeding houses, for example, should be open all around and have a stable, overhanging roof. Nesting boxes should be made of thick wood or concrete and need different sizes of entrance holes depending on the bird species.

What does a bird house cost?

The price of a bird house varies depending on size, material and accessories. Below you will find the most important price categories.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (20 - 50 €) Mostly small birdhouses, simpler materials, no accessories
Medium-priced (50 - 150 €) Medium-sized birdhouses, more robust materials, accessories
High-priced (150 € and more) Large, multifunctional birdhouses, accessories, exclusive and personalised birdhouses

As you can see, there are birdhouses and nesting boxes for every budget. Even with little money, you can get high-quality birdhouses. Even construction sets are available for less than 50 euros.

How and when do I build a bird house?

How you should build your bird house depends on the bird species, your intention behind it and the location. If you have chosen a bird feeder with a stand, you should make sure it is stable. It is also important to have the right food and plants next to your bird feeder. The same applies to your balcony or terrace.

Once you have found out that tits prefer to eat from branches, you will soon realise that a few twigs around the outside won't hurt. Orientation is also important. A nest box should always be placed at least 3 metres from the ground to be protected from predators. It should also not be exposed to all weathers and especially not to permanent sunlight. When hanging your birdhouse, simply tilt it slightly forward and make sure it faces north-east - away from the weather.

Only place your bird house when winter sets in and it gets cold, and remove it again before spring. If you leave it all year round, there is a risk that the birds will forget how to forage for themselves.

What do I have to consider when using a bird house?

You have decided on a type of bird house or have finished building your kit and are now wondering what you have to pay attention to? Below we have summarised the most important points when it comes to the question of what you should pay attention to after your purchase or completion.

  • Protection from predators: Hang your nest box high. At least 3 metres is ideal.
  • Stands, poles & co.: Ensure stability and weather protection.
  • The right angle for hanging: Tilt your birdhouse slightly forward. This keeps the rain out and makes it more wind-resistant.
  • Protection from the weather: Point your house towards the north-east, away from the weather.
  • The right time: Place your bird house only in autumn, when it gets cold. Remove it again in spring.
  • Accident prevention: It is best not to place your bird house near glass panes or to mark them with stickers.
  • Sufficient distance: Make sure there is at least 2 metres between several birdhouses.
  • Food & accessories: Find out which bird species you want to attract and what exactly it eats. Suitable plants can also be crucial to attract the birds.

There are a lot of things to consider if you don't want your bird house to stand empty. In our opinion, however, all of the tips are feasible. If you follow these points, nothing should stand in the way of your birdhouse success.

Conclusion

When food and nesting sites become scarce in winter, wild birds need our help. Depending on how endangered your bird species is, a bird feeder or a nesting box is a good choice. Whether you have a large garden, a small balcony or just a few flower boxes under your window - as you could see, there is a suitable bird house for every need. When deciding which bird house to buy, always consider which birds you want to attract.

Check that the bird house and the place where it is erected are safe and weatherproof. Make sure you have the right food for your bird species and don't forget the right plants or other accessories. Make sure the material is sturdy. Whichever option you choose, birdhouses are a great way to contribute to wildlife and nature conservation and decorate your outdoor space at the same time.

(Cover photo: unsplash / Christian Linnemann)

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