Dress The Yard Blog

How to choose the best Birdhouse, Birdfeeder or Bat House


“Give me shelter" may be what birds might tell homeowners, if they were able to speak. Because birds cannot speak, here’s a guide to buying the ideal birdhouse to guard your winged creatures.

Kinds of Birdhouses

As it’ll come to settling into a home, birds are almost as picky as humans in their preferences. However, there is good reason for this: Birds utilize their nesting grounds to guard their young and their eggs -- and themselves. Plus, a well-made birdhouse which adapts to these specific needs may be a safe haven for the most desirable winged creatures. Consider the kinds of birds you wish to attract, then assess the kinds of available houses: decorative, wren, finch, cardinal, hummingbird, purple martin, and bluebird. Use the following guide to assist you.

Below are the primary kinds of birdhouses to think about:

Bluebird Houses

Such houses specially are made to protect and attract the endangered species. The hole is extremely small to keep predatory birds from making use of the structure, and a slanting, large roof will cover the enclosed area.

Purple Martin Houses

Such houses are known for many things: They’re usually painted white or very pale color to appeal to the birds, and they’re grouped with each other to encourage purple martin colonies to nest.

Hummingbird Houses

The ideal hummingbird houses duplicate a natural nesting experience for the fragile birds. This will include a cupped nest which feels safe in the branch of a tree, as well as some type of cover -- like a faux leaf -- to offer protection.

Cardinal Birdhouses

A cardinal isn’t attracted to a typical birdhouse. Because they’ll nest inside the open in shrubs or thickets, they need a similar structure, like a platform which is minimally enclosed or open.

Finch Birdhouses

As with bluebird houses, a smaller hole -- usually around 1-1/2” wide -- distinguishes finch birdhouses; the size will protect them from any predatory birds. Also, size to nest and drainage are critical.

Wren Birdhouses

Wrens will nest nearer to the ground than the majority of birds; their extremely small birdhouses will be distinguished by small entrance holes -- fewer than 1-1/4” -- which prevent sparrows from getting inside.


Most birdhouses are solely decorative in nature and aren’t made to appeal to a certain kind of bird. Remember that, with "open" nesting policies, you might discover the birdhouse infiltrated by species that are undesirable.

Birdhouses aren’t merely decorative. The amenities -- for the birds and you -- may make a huge difference in how long the birdhouse lasts, whether it’ll serve the birds it is meant for, and how glad you are with the purchase. For instance, all birdhouses require routine cleaning; the ones which come apart with difficulty and will be difficult to clean might be less enjoyable to you than better-designed, other pieces. Assess cleaning, as well as hanging/mounting, material mechanism, as well as accessories, as you select the ideal birdhouse for your birds and your landscape.

Below are the primary purchase considerations to take into account:


Many birdhouses are built of wood; some, like sculpted hummingbird houses, are designed of metal. All materials must be free of anything which may harm the birds or leach out.

Mounting/Hanging Mechanism

Most birdhouses are mounted to the side of a building or a pole to offer stability for nesting birds. Be certain yours may be firmly secured to the structure.


Birdhouses that require occasional inspection and cleaning to ensure predators don’t invade. Be certain the lid easily opens, or its sides swing out, to allow you to completely clean the structure.


Different birdhouse accessories might assist you in protecting the species your structure is meant to attract and enhance its upkeep. These include entry-hole protectors, squirrel guards, small brushes, and decoys, like faux owls, meant to scare predators away.

Buying Guide for Bird Feeders

Winged species bring delight both to friends and family. Plus, the simplest method of ensuring a broad array of birds will come and stay awhile in the yard is to offer food. Here’s the range of bird feeders you can select from.

Kinds of Bird Feeders

Watching birds includes an excellent method of observing the natural world inside your own yard. Plus, as birds are drawn to any area which provides shelter within trees and food within plants, you may increase your chances of drawing a diverse batch of winged creatures by providing them seed and additional nutrients inside bird feeders. Like most things meant for the garden, various bird feeders achieve various goals and draw various birds. When you look for the ideal areas for bird feeders, think about these kinds: specialty, peanut, nectar, suet, nyjer, tube, house/hopper and tray/platform. Here is a brief guide.

Below are the primary kinds of bird feeders to take into consideration:


A platform or tray feeder usually hangs from a chain or rests on a post. It has a flat, large surface for birds to eat and sit, and additionally has a big covered roof to guard both the food you provide and your winged friends. But, those feeders require drainage holes to keep food from spoiling, and they easily can be raided by additional animals -- like squirrels -- if you do not deter them.


A hopper or house feeder will resemble a platform or tray or platform feeder, with a single big difference: It’ll have enclosed walls. Feed is loaded via a removable roof, and the winged friends eat through openings at its base. Its walls guard the birdseed from the weather, as well as permit you to add more food at one time.


Tube feeders are long cylinders that have periodically spaced perches and holes for birds to eat and rest. Also, it has a tray at its base to catch additional food and offer more room for the winged creatures to sit.


Thistle seed or nyjer is a fave of most desirable bird species, like finches; nyjers have smaller, specially-sized holes which dispense the seed and assist in attracting the birds.


Typically, suet cages are rectangular, small wire boxes that are sized to hold a suet cake. The suet holder’s wire pieces offer spaces for birds to grab a hold of while eating.


Utilized to attract hummingbirds, these feeders have tubes that are filled with a mix of water and sugar; small tubes or holes dispense the mix to them.


Extremely simplistic in design, wire-mesh peanut feeders often are cylindrical in shape and offer holes large enough for the birds to get shelled peanuts.


A few specially designed bird feeders achieve the same tasks as other ones -- dispensing certain types of bird food -- yet do it with unusual accents or whimsical elements.

For the most part, bird feeders are straightforward elements that add to the landscape: Buy feed, buy feeder; fill feeder, then repeat.  However, specific purchase considerations help the bird feeder endure everything the outdoors are able to toss at it, and ensure you do your best in order to make the best of your purchase and capability of attracting and maintaining an interesting population of birds. These buying points involve mounting/stand, cleaning, perch, size, squirrel protection, and water deflection. Here is a fast overview to get you up and running.

Below are the primary purchase considerations to take into consideration:

Water Deflection

Most bird feeders contain built-in components which shield the feed from water. If the bird feeder doesn’t deflect water, you might have to spend money on an accessory made to guard the seed from becoming moist.

Squirrel Protection

A squirrel is the bane of a bird feeder. Without enough deterrence, a squirrel will sit on a feeder and eat the seed meant for the birds. Squirrel baffles might prevent them from going to the feeder from below or above.


The size of the seed tube or tray or the size of the openings mostly will determine what types of birds you’ll attract and how long they’ll remain. Additionally, a bird feeder that has a bigger seed tube must be filled up less often.


Every bird feeder should contain elements enabling birds to eat and cling to it. Birds are able to eat upside down; therefore, even the suet cage wire pieces are okay.


Every bird feeder should regularly be cleaned; some must be cleaned more consistently than other ones. Be certain yours is simple to disassemble and take down.


A bird feeder is able to hang from a pole mounted inside the ground or it can be suspended from tree branches. Some might mount to a structure, whereas other ones hang from chains.

Buying Guide for Bat Houses

What should you be looking for in a bat house?

All bat houses aren’t created equal! There will include various available bat houses on a commercial basis with online retailers, like Dress the Yard, and in some big box stores. However, you must have the ability to “weed out” those bat houses which will not be a productive habitat for the bats. A bat house which does not house bats is nothing more than a yard decoration. There are two primary elements which are going to make or break whether the bat house is going to appeal to the most bats possible. Become familiar with those and you will not fail to make a productive habitat for your bat.

Design of the bat house

Most bat houses in the marketplace aren’t constructed with extensive know-how about how the bats colonize and what they search for in the way of shelter. Below are important design specs to search for in a well-made bat house:

  • Outside height of at least 24-inches
  • Inside chambers must have dimensions of a minimum of 20-inches tall and 14-inche wide. The wider and taller its chambers are, the better...and more chambers, also the better!
  • The internal chambers’ depth must be between ¾-inch and 1-inch and must have roughened surfaces for bats to cling to. A plastic mesh connected with its landing spaces is an excellent method of giving bats a surface to cling to upon the inside chamber walls.
  • There must be a landing space (it is similar to a front porch for the bat house!) that is at the minimum of 3-inches to 6-inches. It’ll provide the bats an easy and inviting entrance into their home. Would you desire a home which was difficult to enter and uncomfortable?

Construction of the bat house

The selected materials and construction in building the bat house are as important as its design component. Not only will the longevity and durability of the bat house be directly dependent upon the materials utilized in construction, yet so is the health and comfort of the bats occupying it.

Placement Guide for the bat house

You now have your bat-friendly, new bat house and require a little direction about putting it up. Great! Correct care must be taken concerning the installation of the bat house for optimal use. What good will the best bat house within the world be if the bat never locates it? As with real estate within the human world, the 3 most critical things to think about while searching for an area to put the bat house are always: location, location, location. Follow the below tips and the new bat house is going to be the best bat house within your community!

General Area

As bats live on a diet of insects, spaces robust with vegetation and bodies of water are perfect. Most bat colonies remain within 1/4 of a mile from lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams because of the consistent food supply. Areas in which bats are already occupying structures, of course, are ideal locations for a bat house. It makes sense, right? Therefore, do you have any space in mind for the bat house? If the answer is yes, let us discuss specifics of how and where you should place it.


There are many great choices for spaces to mount the new bat house. Usually, anywhere within the direct vicinity of the space which bats are presently roosting is your best bet.

Allow these five variables to serve as a guideline to becoming a successful keeper of bats.


Because bats consume insects, it is only natural that they generally nest nearer to bodies of water, in which insects live. It is recommended that you put the bat house within one-quarter mile of a body of water. If that is not possible there isn’t any need to be concerned, as there are an abundance of additional things to do to boost the occupancy of the bat house. One simple one includes paying close attention to the usual flight pattern of bats inside your region and put one there. Plus, having a big bird bath, pool or vegetation close by would also help.


You’ll have a greater likelihood of occupancy if you place on a building or pole, opposed to a tree. Fifteen to twenty feet off of the ground and exposed to six hours of sunlight each day is ideal. Though, it is recommended that they not be exposed to man-made light resources like streetlights. Additionally, remember that while it might be simplest to mount it to a tree, it might make the bats more prone to predators (blue jays, hawks, and owls) who roost inside trees.


One of the more crucial factors inside the bat houses’ success is its temperature. The perfect temperature for a female bat to raise their babies is from 80° to 100° F. One way to regulate this is by making sure that your bat house is installed in an area which will offer it at least six hours of light exposure. That means that colder climate regions could lend themselves to a southern exposure, as well as hotter climate regions to east/west exposure. If the average July temperatures inside your locality go beyond 85° F, it’d be better served to buy a bat house that is vented.


You can mount the box during any time of the year. A bat house mounted within the spring often is occupied more rapidly than the ones placed during other times. If you’re evicting a bat colony from a building, a box must be mounted several weeks before the eviction. Understand that bats have very strong homing instincts, and as they’re located to a bat house, are going to try to go back to their previous home. In summary, physically putting bats inside a bat house usually is for nothing and isn’t suggested. One general rule of thumb is that if the bat house stays unoccupied after 2 years, think about modifying or re-positioning the house.

Construction of the Bat House

While it isn’t necessary to paint your bat house, doing this often can assist in temperature regulation inside the bat house. A bat house in hotter climates, like the southern U.S., might benefit from a light-colored paint. Colder climates, like Canada and the northern United States, might benefit from a darker shade to assist in absorbing more warmth from the sunlight.

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