Where is the Best Place for a Bluebird House?

What is the best bluebird house location? The bird experts answer the question to help birders attract nesting bluebirds.

“What is the best bluebird house placement to attract bluebirds to nest in my backyard?” asks Liza Peniston of Augusta, Kansas.

Place nest boxes in the sunniest, most open area possible, away from your house or deep shade. Bluebirds prefer large expanses of short grass with a clear flight path, ideally facing a field. Try not to place the house too close to feeders. Make sure it is mounted 5 to 10 feet off the ground. Bluebirds do not tolerate swaying birdhouses, so anchor the nest box firmly to a smooth round pipe.

Here’s how to build a DIY bluebird house.

“Our bluebird house had eggs and babies for many years. One year there were four eggs to start, then three were gone and the fourth had been opened. What happened,” asks Pauline Kelly of Homewood, Alabama.

House Wrens in Bluebird House

This sounds like the work of a house wren. While small and cute, house wrens can be hostile during nesting season. If they set up house in your yard and encounter other cavity nesters they deem too close for comfort, they’ll pierce the eggs of other species and carry them off. So we have to learn to love them in spite of their behavior. The best way to protect your bluebirds is to make sure the nest box is a fair distance away from the dense cover preferred by house wrens, and to install another box a good distance away from your existing box.

Learn more ways to attract bluebirds and how to monitor bluebirds.

Each month, Birds & Blooms readers send in their burning questions to birding experts, Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman, who are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world.

Got a bird question for Kenn and Kimberly? Submit your questions here! They may appear here or in a future issue of the magazine.

Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard. Fascinated with the natural world since the age of 6, Kenn has traveled to observe birds on all seven continents, and has authored or coauthored 14 books about birds and nature, including include seven titles in his own series, Kaufman Field Guides, designed to encourage beginners by making the first steps in nature study as easy as possible. His next book, The Birds That Audubon Missed, is scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2024. Kenn is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, and has received the American Birding Association’s lifetime achievement award twice. Kimberly is the Executive Director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) in northwest Ohio. She became the Education Director in 2005 and Executive Director in 2009. As the Education Director, Kimberly played a key role in building BSBO’s school programs, as well as the highly successful Ohio Young Birders Club, a group for teenagers that has served as a model for youth birding programs. Kimberly is also the co-founder of The Biggest Week In American Birding, the largest birding festival in the U.S. Under Kimberly’s leadership, BSBO developed a birding tourism season in northwest Ohio that brings an annual economic impact of more than $40 million to the local economy. She is a contributing editor to Birds & Blooms Magazine, and coauthor of the Kaufman Field Guides to Nature of New England and Nature of the Midwest. Accolades to her credit include the Chandler Robbins Award, given by the American Birding Association to an individual who has made significant contributions to education and/or bird conservation. In 2017, she received a prestigious Milestone Award from the Toledo Area YWCA. Kimberly serves on the boards of Shores and Islands Ohio and the American Bird Conservancy.
Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines at a time, and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds and attended various festivals, including the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, the Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, and the Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing, and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.