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What to Put Inside a Birdhouse (7 Great Options)

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man holding birdhouse
Image Credit: Gleb Usovich, Shutterstock

If you want to put a birdhouse in your yard, you likely have many questions, like how to build it, where to put it, and what to put inside to help make your visitors more comfortable. Unfortunately, there is not too much that you should add to the birdhouse for several reasons. Keep reading while we discuss what items you can use and why.

The 7 Things to Put Inside or Around Your Birdhouse:

1. Trail Camera

Photo Credit: Aleksei Kochev, Shutterstock

When putting up a new birdhouse, consider also installing a trail camera. Many of these devices have hands-free operation once you get them set up, so the birds won’t know that you are watching them. The camera will provide you with amazing pictures, especially once the babies are born.

2. Vents

If you are building your birdhouse from scratch or even purchasing a commercial unit, it’s important to look over it carefully to determine if there will be enough ventilation inside. If not, you will need to add ventilation holes to the side or top of the house.

3. Water (Nearby!)

robin bird in bird bath
Photo Credit: ieuan, Shutterstock

All species of birds need plenty of water. If a new family of birds is moving in, they will need to stay hydrated. You can’t place water directly in the house. However, you can ensure that plenty is nearby by putting a birdbath as close as possible to the home and changing the water frequently to keep it fresh.

4. A Clean Floor

If a family of birds lived in the house last season but didn’t seem to return, one of the best ways to prepare for a new family is to clean out the house and remove any old nesting materials. These materials can contain bird droppings, mold, and insects, which will not be too inviting to a new family, so ensure that you wash the house well with soap and water.

5. Food

Another thing that a new family of birds will likely need is plenty of food. You won’t be able to store any seeds inside the house, but you can make sure there is plenty of food nearby by installing a backyard feeder if you don’t already have one. Most baby birds eat insects during their first few weeks, but many adult birds will make use of the seeds throughout the year.

6. Protection

wren birdhouse
Image Credit: Danny Korves, Shutterstock

Birds like their houses to be in protected areas so they can hide from predators. The best way to accomplish that for your birds is to place the house near trees with plenty of branches that can provide cover.

7. Nesting Material (on the ground but not inside the house!)

Birds are extremely picky about the materials that they use for nesting, but they need to work quickly to finish it before the babies come. To help out the birds, you can leave your grass clippings on the ground. If you have pine trees nearby, rake up pine needles into a pile, place them near the house, and do the same with twigs. If you have a pet, you can place their clean shed fur inside a suet cage with pulled-apart cotton fibers and hang it in the yard to ensure that the birds have plenty of materials to build a nest.

Why Can’t I Place Objects Directly in the House?

Birds Choose Their Own Materials

Each kind of bird creates its nests from different materials, and the one thing that all birds have in common is that they are extremely meticulous. Most birds will prefer a clean and empty home where they can build a fresh nest instead of a house filled with clutter. If the bird likes the house, it will likely pick out everything that you placed inside, which can waste its valuable time, or it will move on to another location instead.

Birds Don’t Like Human Scent

Another reason that you want to avoid putting anything in the home or even going near it is that birds don’t like the scent of humans, especially when babies are concerned. They may abandon the home and even their family if there is too strong of a human scent around.

bluebird perching in birdhouse
Image Credit: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, the answer to what you should put inside a birdhouse is nothing. If there were previous tenants, a good cleaning will help get it ready for the next family, but any attempts at making the bird’s life easier by adding nesting material or other objects will likely backfire, causing the bird to move on to another location. Even in a best-case scenario, the bird will clean out the house before it gets started building. The best way to help is by strategically placing important items, like water and nesting materials, around your property where the bird can see them and choose to use what it finds.

Featured Image Credit: Gleb Usovich, Shutterstock

About the Author Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.