Meeting Your Birds' Nesting Needs

Eastern BluebirdA new generation of birds will soon be entering the world, and the food and housing we provide can make a significant difference on how well they will thrive and survive in our own backyards.

Recent research studies show that birds with access to bird feeders often lay their eggs earlier than those without feeders. This is significant because earlier broods typically have better rates of survival and fledging success than later ones.

Feeders also allow breeding females to spend less time searching for food and more time selecting better nesting sites and constructing higher quality nests. The adults will also have more time available for protecting their nest, eggs, and young from predators.

When abundant food is accessible to parent birds it means that more food is provided to their chicks. Studies have shown that this extra nutrition reduces aggression among nest siblings and increases their rate of growth.

But food is not the only key to helping birds to nest successfully in your yard.

A properly designed and installed nesting box can make a significant improvement in nesting success, especially during extreme periods of cold and damp weather.


Make sure that any house you have has ventilation (usually near the roof) and drainage on the bottom for any moisture that does get inside. Some other features that make a great house are rough walls or a fledgling ladder (grooves, mesh, or raw rough wood on the inside under the entry hole to help young birds climb out of the nest when the time is right). And as weird as it seems to us humans birds don't need perches to enter their homes, in fact, perches are a great way for predators to get inside.