Attracting Nesting Birds

Attract more nesting birds to your backyard with these reader tips.

Set up several birdhouses throughout your yard. Be sure to use different-size entrance holes so different species of birds can find a house to use. (See the “Build a Birdhouse” chart.) —Gary Clark, Knowlton, Quebec

Many species of birds will not nest next to each other. But bluebirds and tree swallows are a different story. I place two bluebird houses 15 feet away from each other. That way bluebirds get one nest box and tree swallows often willingly inhabit the other. They coexist harmoniously, yet other “pests” like house sparrows stay away. —Shirley Barribeau, Goodman, Wisconsin

We’ve increased the number of house finches nesting in our yard by wiring small strawberry baskets in the corners of the awnings on our house. We put up four baskets one year and watched 38 house finch fledge from the nests. During winter, some finches even roost in them. —Doris Bartel, Hillsboro, Kansas

Paint purple martin houses white because it reflects the sun’s rays and keeps the houses cooler. I also place the entrance holes in different locations in each gourd so the martins can determine which house is theirs. —Victor Stoll, Finger, Tennessee

To attract nesting bluebirds, keep plenty of clean water in a birdbath nearby. They also appreciate a host of berry trees and shrubs. Because bluebirds build new nests for each brood, clean out the old one after the young leave. This encourages a second and third nest in the same house during a single nesting season. —Bernice Maddux, Weatherford, Texas