How to Choose the Perfect Chickadee Nest Box

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Learn the correct dimensions and essential features to look for in a chickadee nest box to give nesting chickadee families a happy home.

There’s something heartwarming about hearing that familiar chick-a-dee call ringing through your backyard. Chickadees are known for their friendly demeanor and perky personalities, so it’s no surprise many birders want to encourage these beloved cavity nesters to stay awhile and raise a family of baby chickadees with a chickadee nest box.

Find out what the perfect nest box should look like to attract chickadees, and what features you should be on the lookout for when you consider purchasing or building one.

Here’s how to choose the best birdhouses to attract more birds.

Chickadee Nest Box Dimensions

Chickadees typically use nest boxes that are smaller than the standard size. The opening must be 1-1/8 in. in diameter (rather than the 1-¼ in. diameter hole seen on bluebird houses). The height should be about 8 in., and the width and length should be around 5 ½ in.

For more guidelines, check out this helpful birdhouse hole size chart.

What Should (and Shouldn’t) be in a Chickadee Nest Box

FOUR BABY BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES IN NEST BOXKeithSzafranski/Getty Images
Four baby black-capped chickadees huddle together in a nest box

There are also several basic requirements for any nest box that you should make sure yours fulfills. All nest boxes should have a drainage hole in case of rain, so the young birds stay dry in bad weather, and they should have gaps between the walls and the roof in case of extreme heat.

There’s no need for your box to have a perch. Chickadees don’t require one, and perches make nests more accessible to predators. (Psst—if you catch house sparrows at your bluebird house, here’s what to do.)

It’s best if nest boxes are made of natural wood, and they should never be painted on the inside; fumes from the paint could negatively impact the birds.

Meet the adorable black-capped chickadee.

Where (and When) Should I Hang the Box?

chickadee feeding chicksfreebilly/Getty Images

Once you have the right kind of nest box, it’s essential to mount it at the correct height for these adorable black-and-white fliers. They typically nest between 4 and 15 feet off the ground, since they typically build homes in old stumps or tree cavities.

Try mounting the box on a tree trunk about 6 feet off the ground or above a thicket, facing away from prevailing winds. You can also provide nesting materials for the birds to use inside the house. Chickadees seem to prefer homes with soft nesting material inside over an empty box.

Put the birdhouse out starting at the end of March, as some chickadees begin nesting in early to mid-April. When should I clean out my birdhouses?

Learn how to identify and attract a Carolina chickadee and a mountain chickadee.

Where Can I Buy a Chickadee Nest Box?

chickadee birdhouseVia Amazon.com

Wren and Chickadee Birdhouse

If you’re looking to attract nesting birds into your yard, you can try this natural wood wren and chickadee birdhouse. The hole size is 1 1/8 inches, which is ideal for these small songbirds.

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Junco vs chickadee: Learn how to tell the difference.

chickadee nest boxVia Etsy.com

Chickadee and Wren Nest Box

We also found this handmade chickadee nest box from Etsy.com that features the proper dimensions for nesting chickadees.

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If you’re handy, you can also build your own chickadee nest box. Construction project plans are available online from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Nestwatch program.

Next, you won’t want to miss these incredibly cute chickadee pictures.

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Emily Hannemann
Emily Hannemann is an associate digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in magazine writing from the University of Missouri - Columbia. When she’s not writing and editing, you’ll find her swimming, running, or hiking. She knows blue jays are controversial, but she loves them anyway.