Frequently Asked Questions

How do I place my order, and how is it shipped?

It's easy! We use safe, secure, and customer-friendly PayPal for all transactions. You can order specific products using the "Buy Now" button next to the item. Most of our items are one-of-a-kind, so please check the number in stock to see if we have more than one of an item.

We charge a sliding scale for shipping, starting at $15.00 for the first item. Please see our Ordering and Shipping Information page for more details about shipping rates. After your payment is posted, your order is promptly shipped via ground UPS. Please note: we only ship to locations within the United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.
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I don't know much about birds, but want to get started creating a bird-friendly backyard. Where do I start?

To learn which species live in your area, contact your local Audubon Society, or if someone in your neighborhood has a bird feeder or bird bath, ask them about the birds they've observed. Birding websites are another source of information. Borrow a bird identification guide from your local library, or buy a local one if available. Pay attention to what the book says about the habitats preferred by the birds you want to attract. Birds have specific needs, especially for food, water and nesting sites. Many birds build their own nests, but the cavity-nesters will use birdhouses if they are built to suit their needs. Just remember there's no sense in putting up a bluebird house in the middle of a city, but if your garden is adjacent to open fields or meadows, go for it.
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I'm buying a birdhouse as a gift for a friend who lives in another part of the U.S., but I don't know which birds live in her area. What to do you recommend?

To suit a wide range of birds, I'd recommend a house with a 1 ?" entry and a 4" x 4" nesting compartment. Depending on which birds are native to her part of the country, if your friend lives in a city or suburban neighborhood with established trees, or a rural area, this size house may attract a variety of cavity-nesting birds, including wrens, titmice, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and chickadees.
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Why is the size of the entry hole important?

The first thing I notice about many birdhouses I see on the market is that the entry holes aren't right. Sometimes I see bumblebee-sized entry holes, or huge ones a barn owl might use. The fact is, specific birds use specific-sized openings. The smallest wrens use a 1" hole; the larger wrens and chickadees will use a 1 1/8". A nuthatch, downy woodpecker or titmouse wants an entry that's 1 ?" in diameter. Most swallows and bluebirds like one that is 1 ?", while the larger woodpeckers prefer a 2", and so on. While many will nest in houses with entries that are larger than needed, there's no way they can squeeze their bodies through one that is too small, and so they will have no interest in the house. The tag on a purchased birdhouse should indicate either the entry size or which birds will use it.
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What are some of the features should I look for when buying a birdhouse?

It should have air vents (for ventilation), drainage holes in the floor (in case rain blows in) and a clean-out section. If there is a metal roof, it should be lined with wood so there isn't any heat build-up from the sun. You don't want to cook the eggs or baby birds! And the house should not have a perch.
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Why don't your birdhouses have perches?

They're not necessary. In fact, I've never put one on any of the hundreds of birdhouses I've built. Cavity-nesting birds don't have a perch under their tree hole in the woods, so they don't need one on a birdhouse. Perches allow birds such as house sparrows or starlings to land and use the house, or predators (like blue jays or even squirrels) to harass the native birds already in residence. Do the desirable birds a favor, and don't buy a birdhouse with a perch, or remove it before you put the house in the garden.
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I love the variety of birds that visit my garden, but I've read that I should try to discourage house sparrows and starlings from nesting in my birdhouse. Why?

Some consider them to be "weed" birds of the garden. They're alien species (the house sparrow, also known as the English sparrow, is actually a weaver finch from Africa) that were introduced to New York in the 1800s and rapidly spread across the continent. Both are aggressive and reproduce quickly, raising two or three broods per year. Because they crowd out and harass many of our native birds, many believe that these two really don't need any extra help. (While they both have a place in the natural world, so do Norway rats and house flies, and you won't find me building any homes for them, either?)

So when buying a birdhouse, keep in mind that house sparrows can fit through a 1 ?" entry, while starlings can get into a house with a 2" hole. If you buy a house for a bird that needs one of these larger entry holes, you'll need to watch for nesting activity from these unwanted guests, and remove their eggs/nesting materials to discourage them. Of course, if you don't mind having house sparrows or starlings take up residence, then entry size doesn't matter.
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How and where should I mount my birdhouse?

In general, try to place your birdhouse away from bird feeder activity or high-traffic areas around your house, with the entry facing away from the prevailing wind if possible. If you have more than one birdhouse, don't put them too close together, as most birds are territorial. Most birds prefer that the birdhouse be mounted between 8' and 20' from the ground; refer to the information listed on the individual birdhouse pages on this site for specific information, or consult a birding book or website. Houses should be in place by late winter (March 1st or so), before migrating birds return and start looking for nesting sites.

If your birdhouse is designed to be hung, use a short (6"-8") cord, chain or wire to hang it from a tree limb. The cord must be short, as no bird wants to live in a pendulum. For houses with a hole or slot on the back side, mount them on a nail on the side of a tree, fence or post. Other houses are made with a base that fits down over a 4 x 4 (3 ?" x 3 ?" true dimensions) post. If your site tends to be windy, it's a good idea to anchor these post-mounted houses with screws.
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Do I have to clean out my birdhouse every year?

It's best to do this task every year in late winter if possible, even if you have not had any birds use the house. (Sometimes nesting boxes are taken over by wasps or bumblebees, and you should remove the remaining debris.) Blow fly larvae, a common enemy of cavity-nesting birds, may overwinter in birdhouses, so cleaning the house out will reduce the population of this parasite. A quality birdhouse will have an access panel for cleaning, making this task easier.

Having said that, the birds may return and use the house even if you don't clean it out every year, as no one cleans out the materials if they nest in a pre-existing tree cavity. They may remove the old nesting material from the birdhouse themselves before they start to build the new nest.
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