9 Proven Tips to Attract Nesting Birds

Learn how to attract nesting birds to visit your backyard, including robins, bluebirds and wrens, with these helpful tips from readers.

attract nesting birds, house wrenCourtesy Sandy Martin
House wrens

Offer Several Birdhouses

To attract nesting birds, set up several birdhouses throughout your yard. Be sure to use different-size entrance holes so different species of birds, such as wrens and woodpeckers, can find a house to use. —Gary Clark, Knowlton, Quebec

Psst—check out our helpful chart with birdhouse guidelines.

Choose Birdhouses That Attract Multiple Species

Chickadees and wrens use the same kind of birdhouse. If it says “wren house,” it’ll work for both species. —Rob Ripma

Attract Friendly Nesting Neighbors

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 bully birds like house sparrows stay away. —Shirley Barribeau, Goodman, Wisconsin

Learn the best place to put a bluebird house.

Hang Up Baskets

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

Robins often nest in the woven baskets we mount outside. Turn the baskets on their sides and attach them to a wall with a few screws. Mount them under an overhang to protect the birds from the elements. —Connie Moore Medway, Ohio

Hatchling robins in a nestCOURTESY SCOTT MILROY
Hatchling robins in a nest

Add a Birdbath and Berry Bushes

The secret to attracting lots of nesting birds is offering variety. Plant different kinds of flowers, berry bushes and trees, and keep your birdbath sparkling clean. —Audrey Anderson Boyceville, Wisconsin

Cardinals like to nest in low shrubs and bushes. Check out 6 proven ways to attract cardinals.

Try Birdhouse Gourds

Paint purple martin gourd birdhouses 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

Learn how to turn a gourd into a birdhouse.

Keep Nest Boxes Clean

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 

Next, check out super cute photos of baby birds you need to see.

Secure Birdhouses to Trees

I secure nest boxes to trees by wrapping bungee cords around the trunks. It looks nice, holds firmly and doesn’t damage the tree the way nails do. Once nesting season is over, I can remove the boxes and store them until next year. — Clyde Keeler Lanesville, Indiana

Here’s how to attract birds to a birdhouse.

Set Out Nesting Material

Leave clusters of dried leaves, grass clippings, small dead twigs, or pine needles throughout your yard for nesting birds.

Psst—mourning doves are the fastest nest builders. Learn more about mourning dove nests.

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