How to Hang a Birdhouse and Mount a Nesting Box

With a well-placed birdhouse, you can attract beautiful, fascinating birds into your yard. Hanging and mounting a nesting box properly ensures that birds will safely raise their young. Follow these steps for successfully installing birdhouses and nesting boxes in optimal locations.

Choose the Right Location

Choosing an appropriate spot is the most important step for mounting your birdhouse. Consider these factors when deciding where to place your nesting box:


Hang your birdhouse 4-12 feet off the ground. This keeps predators away while still allowing easy access for adult birds. Place boxes for smaller birds like chickadees and wrens closer to the minimum height. Mount larger boxes for species like woodpeckers and barn owls nearer the maximum height.


Birds prefer protected spots that offer cover from weather and concealment from predators. Place nest boxes in areas sheltered by tree branches or shrubs. Avoid wide open areas.


Face the entrance hole toward an open area away from prevailing winds. The east is best. Avoid north-facing entrances.


Do not mount boxes directly on tree trunks. Squirrels and other animals can access boxes on trees. Hang birdhouses on a metal pole or mount on a tree limb 6 feet from the trunk.


Pick an area away from high-traffic zones where birds won’t be disturbed. But make sure you can still monitor the box.

With the location picked, it’s time to hang or mount the birdhouse.

Hang a Birdhouse

Hanging is a popular way to mount a birdhouse. Here’s how to do it properly:

Use a Pole

Place a metal pole in the ground and attach the birdhouse at the desired height using chains, cables, or rods.

  • Use poles with predator guards to prevent animals from climbing up.
  • Choose galvanized steel, aluminum, or a weather-resistant PVC pole. Wooden poles rot over time.
  • Pound the pole 2-3 feet deep into the ground or use concrete to anchor it.

Pick Durable Hanging Materials

Select hanging materials that are sturdy and weatherproof:

  • Chains – Use galvanized steel or zinc-plated chains. Avoid lightweight jewelry chains.
  • Wire – Stainless steel wire works well. Make sure it’s coated to prevent corrosion.
  • Cables – Braided steel cables are very durable outdoors. Look for vinyl-coated cables.
  • Rods – Galvanized steel threaded rods hold up well outside.

Install a Pole Hanger

Pole hangers provide a simple way to mount a birdhouse to a pole.

  • Choose a hanger made of durable galvanized steel or powder-coated aluminum.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions to securely fasten the hanger to the pole at the desired height.
  • Attach the birdhouse to the hanger using screws or metal hose clamps.

Use an Eye Hook

Eye hooks screw into the birdhouse and allow it to hang from a chain or cable.

  • Use galvanized steel or zinc-plated eye hooks. Plastic and brass hooks can break down.
  • Pre-drill pilot holes to avoid splitting the wood when screwing in hooks.
  • Secure hooks with washers and nuts on the interior to reinforce the connection.

Prevent Swinging

Stop empty birdhouses from swinging in the wind with a wooden dowel or stick placed through the hole and wedged firmly into the ground. Remove the dowel when birds start nesting.

Regularly check hanging birdhouses to make sure all materials remain in good condition and securely fastened. Replace any chains, cables, or eye hooks that show signs of wear.

Mount a Birdhouse on a Post

Setting a birdhouse atop a wooden post is another sturdy mounting method. Follow these tips:

Use Durable Posts

Select posts made of weather-resistant cedar, cypress, or treated pine lumber. Embedded portions should have extra protection from moisture damage.

Set Posts Deeply

Bury posts 2-3 feet into the ground to give them stability. Pouring concrete into the hole provides even more strength.

Check Height

Ensure the post extends high enough off the ground to meet the desired mounting height for the species of bird.

Cap Posts

Cap the top of wooden posts with aluminum to prevent water from entering the interior. Attach the cap with exterior-rated screws.

Allow Space Between Post and Birdhouse

Do not attach nest boxes flush to posts. Leave a 1-2 inch gap to allow airflow behind the box.

Reinforce the Platform

Add horizontal strips of wood to give the platform where the birdhouse sits extra support.

Use Hardware Cloth to Deter Predators

Wrap galvanized hardware cloth around wooden posts to make it harder for animals to climb up.

Maintaining your post involves checking it yearly for rot or instability. Repair or replace posts that become weak or damaged.

Mount a Birdhouse to a Building

Houses and outbuildings also provide good spots for hanging or mounting birdhouses. Here’s how:

Use Wall Anchors

When hanging a birdhouse on a wall, properly anchor eye hooks or wall mounts into wall studs or use heavy-duty wall anchors. This prevents the house from falling.

Pick Protected Areas

Mount boxes under overhangs or near rain gutters to shelter them from severe weather. Northern and eastern walls work well.

Allow Access

Make sure you can still easily monitor and clean out the birdhouse. Use a ladder to reach high wall-mounted boxes.

Prevent Damage to Structure

Place a spacer made of wood or plastic between the birdhouse and wall. This protects the wall from damage.

Match Surroundings

For a natural look, choose a house with colors and materials that complement your home’s exterior.

Deter Predators

Discourage predators by mounting houses away from trees, pipes, fences, or overhangs that give animals access.

Regularly check wall attachments for stability. Tighten or replace loose eye hooks, wall mounts, or wall anchors as needed.

Mount a Birdhouse on a Tree

Trees make tricky spots for nesting boxes. It can be hard to deter predators. But you can be successful by following these guidelines:

Pick Large Diameter Trees

Look for mature trees wider than 15 inches. Squirrels can jump to boxes on slimmer trunks.

Extend House Away from Trunk

Mount the birdhouse on a wooden block attached to a tree limb 6 feet or more from the trunk.

Use a Predator Baffle

Place a cage or baffle on the tree trunk to prevent animals from climbing up to the nesting box.

Keep Clear of Limbs Above

Position the house where squirrels cannot jump down onto it from branches overhead.

Use Extra Reinforcement

Reinforce the mounting block with loops of steel wire along the underside and back.

Provide Protection from Weather

Face the entrance away from prevailing winds and intense sun. Mount near the trunk on the east side for shade.

Allow Accessibility

Make sure you can inspect and clean out the box. Prune obstructing branches as needed.

Regularly check for limb growth or weak anchors. Reinforce attachments and trim back vegetation to maintain access.

Use the Right Birdhouse Style

Picking an appropriate birdhouse style and size for your desired species is key. Follow these tips:

Check Dimensions

Ensure the interior floor dimensions match the preferred nest box size for the target bird species. Dimensions are based on body size and average clutch size.

Look for Appropriate Hole Size

The entrance hole diameter should allow the adult birds to enter but exclude larger species. Larger holes may allow invasive house sparrows.

Include Ventilation Holes

Proper air ventilation keeps baby birds healthy. Look for birdhouses with ventilation holes near the top.

Seek Weather Resistance

Select durable birdhouses made of weatherproof materials like cedar, redwood, cypress, or exterior-grade plywood.

Favor Simple Boxes

Basic rectangular houses with sloped roofs offer the most versatility for multiple species. Avoid decorative houses.

Check for Removable Floor

A removable bottom makes monitoring and cleaning out old nesting material each season easier.

Include Drainage Holes

Small holes in the floor allow rainwater to drain out instead of pooling inside.

Look for Deep Boxes

Cavities at least 8 inches deep allow species like bluebirds to build an appropriately sized nest.

Properly Prepare and Maintain Birdhouses

Getting your birdhouse ready for nature and keeping it in top shape are important:

Block Starling Use

European starlings outcompete many native birds for nesting sites. Limit starling entry by using an entrance hole 1-1/4 inches or smaller.

Apply Non-Lead Paint (if needed)

Use a non-lead exterior grade paint if applying color. Lead paint can harm birds and wildlife.

Leave Natural Wood Where Possible

It’s best not to paint the interior or entrance hole surround. The natural wood offers better grip for birds.

Clear Old Nesting Material

Before each nesting season, clean out sticks and other debris from abandoned nests using gloves and a wire brush.

Check for Damage

Inspect birdhouses in fall and early spring. Look for leaks, cracked wood, and damaged openings. Perform repairs right away so birds have a usable box during nesting season.

Use Birdhouse Hygiene

Prevent disease by washing boxes with a 10% bleach solution before hanging them up for the season. Rinse and let dry completely.

Monitor Nestboxes

Keep watch over boxes during nesting season. Remove invasive house sparrow nests as soon as they appear complete but before eggs are laid.

Avoid Disturbing Active Nests

Prevent nest abandonment by not opening occupied boxes for monitoring. Wait for fledging. Exceptions can be made for research purposes.


How high should I hang a birdhouse?

Hang birdhouses between 4 to 12 feet high. Place smaller boxes for chickadees and wrens near the lower end and larger boxes for woodpeckers and owls closer to 12 feet.

What direction should the birdhouse entrance face?

The entrance hole should face away from prevailing winds and rain. An eastward direction works best for most regions. Avoid facing the hole north.

How do I mount a birdhouse on a wall?

Use sturdy wall anchors rated for the birdhouse’s weight. Pre-drill pilot holes and secure eye hooks or wall mounts into wall studs if possible. Leave a 1-2 inch gap between the wall and birdhouse using spacers.

Should I paint or stain a birdhouse?

Apply an exterior grade, non-lead paint or stain if desired, but avoid coating the interior cavity or entrance hole surround. Natural unfinished wood provides better grip.

How do I keep squirrels out of birdhouses?

Use predator baffles on poles and trees. Hang birdhouses at least 6 feet away from trees, fences, and wires squirrels can jump from. Face entrances over open space.

How often should I clean out birdhouses?

Clean out old nesting materials and droppings from birdhouses before each nesting season using gloves and wire brushes. Be sure to wash with a mild bleach solution and rinse thoroughly.


By properly hanging or mounting birdhouses in optimal spots, you can successfully attract beautiful, fascinating birds to your yard. Use sturdy installation materials that will hold up over time. Choose birdhouses suited for your target species in design, dimensions, and ventilation. Maintain clean, undamaged houses. With good placement and preparation, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of gorgeous birds raising their young in your nesting boxes for years to come. The flutter of wings and songs of baby birds will brighten your outdoor space as you enjoy the nature right outside your door.