Cranmer Earth Design
In Season
indexIn SeasonProductsInformationshopContact
Birdhouse Comparisons - Pros and Cons of Birdhouse Designs
Highlighted below are the advantages and disadvantages to some of the many birdhouses available for smaller songbirds. When wrens are nesting, an adult house wren needs to collect over 30 grams/day (wet mass) of insects to maintain itself and its nestlings during peak nestling food demands. This is extremely valuable in a home garden environment where many insect pests are targeted by house wrens.

With this in mind, these birdhouses are compared based on how well they would work as a birdhouse for wrens and other smaller songbirds such as chickadees, titmice and nuthatches.

Wooden Simple Box

Wooden Simple Box Birdhouse
Pros
  • Wood provides insulation in extreme cold and warm weather
  • Post (t-bar) makes it difficult for predators to reach the birdhouse
Cons
  • Screwdriver needed to clean
  • Bird nest disturbed to view interior of birdhouse
  • Difficult to mount and take down to clean
  • Interior dimensions are large and unfavourable for small songbirds
  • Large openings near roof provide too much ventilation for cool spring weather
Addional Comments
  • Mounted by metal bracket on T-bar
  • Most likely intended for swallows or larger birds

Wooden Asphalt Roof

Wooden Asphalt Roof Birdhouse
Pros
  • Asphalt creates waterproof roof
  • Entrance hole cannot be made larger by predators with predator guard and extra plywood
Cons
  • Screwdriver needed to clean
  • Bird nest disturbed to view interior of birdhouse
  • Difficult to mount and take down to clean
  • Asphalt may heat up in summer heat
Addional Comments
  • Mounted with two screws in back wall above roof

Wooden Slanted Roof

Wooden Slanted Roof Birdhouse
Pros
  • Wood provides insulation in extreme cold and warm weather
Cons
  • Unable to clean out old nests
  • Dificult to mount
  • Hole too large for smaller songbirdse
  • Without the ability to clean the house out and the improper deminsions and hole size, this is more of a decorative birdhouse
Addional Comments
  • Mounted 1 m (3 feet) from ground is not ideal

Concrete with Metal Roof

Concrete birdhouse with Metal Roof
Pros
  • Will not rot like wood
  • Entrance hole cannot be made larger by predators
Cons
  • Metal roof becomes hot in direct sun
  • Screwdriver needed to clean
  • Bird nest disturbed to view interior of birdhouse
  • Difficult to mount and take down to clean
  • May crack if dropped
Addional Comments
  • Mounted by wire from top of birdhouse to screw on tree

Composite Bluebird

All Composite Bluebird birdhouse
Pros
  • Composite recycled plastic will not deteriorate over time
  • Entrance hole cannot be made larger by predators
  • Baffle below ensures squirrels are unable to climb to the house
  • Latch does not require screwdriver to clean
Cons
  • Plastic may not be completely non-toxic
Addional Comments
  • Size of hole and larger interior volume indicates birdhouse is intended for bluebirds

Cedar

Cedar Birdhosue
Pros
  • Wood provides insulation in extreme cold and warm weather
  • Cedar is rot resistant and deters insects
  • Entrance hole size can be changed with different insert
Cons
  • The smell of cedar is overpowering for the birds
  • Difficult to mount
  • Plyers are needed to clean out old nests
  • Interior can not be viewed without disturbing the nest
Addional Comments
  • Mounted with one screw on the thin back board

Wooden Simple Box

Pine Birdhouse with large perch
Pros
  • Wood provides insulation in extreme cold and warm weather
  • Birdhouse has appropiate inner volume for wrens
  • Non-toxic finish
  • Ideal size for wrens
Cons
  • Single screw on lid must be removed to clean out nest
  • Difficult to mount and maintain
Addional Comments
  • Mounted with two screws to barn board siding of a shed

Wooden Asymmetrical

Red Painted Birdhouse in Cedar
Pros
  • Wood provides insulation in extreme cold and warm weather
Cons
  • Birdhouse inner dimensions slightly too large
  • Difficult to open to clean nests
  • Paint may be toxic to birds
Addional Comments
  • Mounted with one screw on back board

Wooden Symmetrical

Painted birdhouse that is too small for birds
Pros
  • Wood provides insulation in extreme cold and warm weather
Cons
  • Birdhouse inner dimensions too small
  • Cannot be opened to clean nests
  • Entrance hole too large for internal dimensions
  • Paint may be toxic to birds
Addional Comments
  • Mounted with one screw on back board

Decorative Multi-compartment

Decorative Multi-compartment Purple Martin Birdhouse
Pros
  • Aesthetically pleasing
Cons
  • Difficult to near impossible to clean out nests
  • Interior volume in compartments too large
  • Hole size too large for purple martins
  • Paint may be toxic
  • Metal roof unfavourable heating up inside compartements
Addional Comments
  • Not mounted high enough for birds to occupy

Birdhouse Feature Summary

After researching many designs and reading many scientific journal articles it has become apparent that there are many flaws in current birdhouse models on the market for small songbirds such as chickadees and wrens. The aim is to provide birdhouses with as many favourable attributes as possible to give the birds a better chance, and make it easier for the care taker.

The table below shows attributes to look for if a birdhouse for chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and wrens desired for.

Feature

Favourable

Unfavourable

Body Material Pine
Spruce
Composite
Non-toxic hardwoods
Cedar
Metal
Pressure treated wood
Squash
Roof Material Pine
Spruce
Composite
Non-toxic hardwoods
Metal
Asphalt shingle
Preservative Non-toxic waterproof urethane
Tung oil
Linseed oil
Paint
Urethane
Drainage Holes 3+ < 3
Interior Volume 780-900 cm3 900+ cm3
Interior Depth
Nest Clean-out Bracket with removable lid Hinged side
Hinged roof
Removable back panel
Bottom board
Observation Method Removal of lid
Hinged roof
No observation method
Pexiglass walls
Mounting Method Removable bracket Screws in back wall mounting birdhouse
Birdhouse Placement Predator-free area Within 5 m from bird feeder
Hanging from branch
Placement Height
With these features in mind, we have come up with two birdhouse designs that addresses these strengths and limit these unfavourable weaknesses. Cranmer Earth Design hexagonal birdhouse and turned birdhouse (below) are functional, easy to maintain and are aesthetically pleasing.

While many of the birdhouses on the market are said to be the perfect demensions for these birds, only these two designs have the solution to easy nest removal.

Wooden Hexagonal

Hexagonal Pine Birdhouse
Pros
  • Entire birdhouse comes off bracket without screwdriver
  • Lid comes off easily to remove nest, clean or view without a screwdriver
  • Coated with non-toxic PolyWhey urethane
  • Interior volume is too small for squirrels to try to occupy and but favourable for wrens
Cons
  • Pine will deteriorate faster than hardwoods
Addional Comments
  • Made in Canada
  • Learn more here

Turned Hardwood

Turned Birdhouse with 14 sides
Pros
  • Entire birdhouse comes off bracket without screwdriver
  • Lid comes off easily to remove nest, clean or view without a screwdriver
  • Oak hardwood
  • Coated with non-toxic PolyWhey urethane
  • Interior volume is too small for squirrels to try to occupy and but favourable for wrens
Cons
  • Small interior may limit fledgling size for chickadees
Addional Comments
  • Made in Canada
  • Learn more here


Return to the table of contents
Continue reading
Bird Resources and Information
Birdhouse Placement and Mounting Methods


Sitemap | In Season | Products | Information | Store | Contact Us

© Cranmer Earth Design