Watching wild birds is one of life’s simple pleasures. Placing a bird house in your yard helps make up for some of the loss of habitat that native birds encounter, providing a nesting spot that could bring families of birds back to your yard year after year. Not only is it important for your local bird population, but it also encourages more birds to your yard and means you might catch a glimpse of some baby birds and fledglings.
We reviewed dozens of bird houses to identify the best of the best, comparing a range of features, including material, size, quality of construction, longevity, and average customer reviews.
After careful consideration, the Wood Smith USA Bird House stood out as our best overall. This no-nonsense wooden bird house is made from naturally weather-resistant red cedar and is built to last!
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Bird Houses
|Best Overall||Wood Smith USA Bird House||4.6|
|Best Metal Bird House||Birds Choice Purple Martin House||4.1|
|Best Budget Buy||Perky-Pet Wren Home||4.3|
|Best Wooden Bird House||Audubon Coppertop Cedar Wood Bluebird House||4.5|
|Best Bird House Feeder||Tenforie Bird Feeder House||4.7|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Bird House Overall: Wood Smith USA Bird House
Thanks to its sturdy weatherproof and truly bird-friendly design, our favorite bird house is the Wood Smith USA Bird House. The natural red cedar doesn’t require any stains or wood treatments to stand up to the elements, some of which can be toxic to birds. It will discolor over time but weathers gracefully. It’s suitable for a wide range of native North American birds, including finches, wrens, bluebirds, chickadees, and small woodpeckers.
The bird house is well ventilated with a drain at the base to help maintain a healthy environment inside. The front also opens up for easy cleaning once the nesting season is over (but you should never open it up while birds are still using it). It costs roughly $30, which is more expensive than some similar bird houses but good value considering its quality.
Wood Smith USA Bird House Key Features:
- Made in the USA by professional carpenters
- Arrives fully assembled
- Easy to mount using included hardware
Best Metal Bird House: Birds Choice Purple Martin House
If you want to get a closer look at majestic purple martins, placing the Birds Choice Purple Martin House in your yard is a great first step. Once martins start to nest here, you’ll see a large number of these elegant birds going about their daily lives. This three-story martin home has 12 compartments, so up to 12 martin families can nest inside. The holes are specially designed so that starlings can’t get inside, destroying eggs and stressing your martin colony.
This bird house requires assembly upon arrival. While it isn’t difficult, as such, the instructions leave a little to be desired and it can take up to a few hours to fully assemble. Once you’ve put it together, you need to mount it on a telescoping pole, which is sold separately. It might sound like a hassle, but once it’s all set up and some martins have moved in, you’ll soon forget about any issues you had with assembly. Retailing at $110, it isn’t the cheapest bird house out there but it’s reasonably priced for a martin house of its size.
Birds Choice Purple Martin House Key Features:
- Made from lightweight yet durable aluminum
- Top perch provides a spot for martins to gather
Best Budget Bird House: Perky-Pet Wren Home
You don’t need to spend a huge amount to get a decent bird house; the Perky-Pet Wren Home is proof of that. It’s made of fir wood, which is naturally weather-resistant and repels bugs. The attractive Dutch-style roof lifts off completely for easy cleaning when the bird house is empty. A hanging rope is included, so you can easily hang it on a nail in a fence or wall, or even on a sturdy branch.
If you’re hoping to attract wrens, the only drawback is that the entrance hole has a 1.5-inch diameter, which is large enough for other birds (such as finches, sparrows, and bluebirds) to fit inside. A true wren house should have an entry hole with a 1.25-inch diameter. However, if you’d be happy for any small bird to nest in your bird house, the diameter issue shouldn’t be a problem. This is the budget pick, after all, so the price is important, and at less than $13, you really can’t complain!
Perky-Pet Wren Home Key Features:
- Roof vents for proper airflow
- Made from non-endangered wood only
- No harmful chemical treatments
Best Wooden Bird House: Audubon Coppertop Cedar Wood Bluebird House
The Audubon Coppertop Cedar Wood Bluebird House comes from the National Audubon Society, a bird conservation charity, so you can be sure it’s designed to fully meet the needs of the birds who will inhabit it. The 1.56-inch entry hole is just the right size for bluebirds, plus it’s fitted with a predator guard to keep out creatures who might disturb the nest. This bird house is handmade in the USA from cedar, which is naturally weather-resistant so it should last for years to come. The layer of copper on the roof improves longevity and helps stop squirrels from gnawing their way inside.
The front opens up to give decent access for cleaning out the bird house once nesting season is over. All in all, it feels sturdy and better made than less expensive options, which is why we think it’s worth spending out the $35 that this bird house costs.
Audubon Coppertop Cedar Wood Bluebird House Key Features:
- Plenty of ventilation to prevent overheating
- Designed for bluebirds, though other birds of similar size can nest in it
- Durable construction
Best Bird House Feeder: Tenforie Bird Feeder House
Want a two-in-one solution to both house and feed birds? The Tenforie Bird Feeder House is a compact bird house with a feeder area outside that you can fill with birdseed. This means your bird house will get more use year-round, rather than just at nesting season. However, we would suggest discontinuing use as a feeder as spring approaches, as you wouldn’t want to encourage other birds into the area where a family is nesting. Thanks to the rope on top, it’s easy to hang in a convenient location, such as on a tree or fence.
It’s nicely painted and has floral detailing, so it looks good as well as being functional. You can choose from three color schemes so you should find one that you love. Retailing at about $22, it offers good value for a bird house feeder, though the fact is it may attract more birds as a feeder than as a bird house.
Tenforie Bird Feeder House Key Features:
- Holds a small amount of seed in the exterior tray
- Attractive shingled roof
- Suitable for a variety of small birds, such as goldfinches and warblers
Who Should Buy a Bird House
Anyone who likes birds should buy a bird house. Since bird houses provide a safe spot for birds to nest, they’re beneficial to the bird population, which will make any keen bird-lover happy. From a purely selfish perspective, a bird house will also give you the pleasure of seeing more bird activity in your garden, watching the parents busily feeding their babies. And, should all go well, you might see the little ones fledge, too.
Ultimately, if you enjoy bird watching and want to provide a secure nesting spot for local birds, you should purchase a bird house.
Important Features to Consider
A bird house should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a bird house:
- Material. Wood is the most common material for bird houses, but you can also find metal, ceramic, resin, and woven bird houses. If you live in a hot climate, metal, ceramic, and resin can build up too much heat, so wood is the safest bet. However, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue if the bird house is well ventilated and positioned in a shady spot.
- Bird house size. Most common backyard birds like bird houses to measure around 4 to 6 inches square at the base and between 6 and 12 inches tall. This size will suit birds such as wrens, finches, nuthatches, chickadees, downy woodpeckers, and others of a similar size.
- Entrance size. You should generally look for a bird house with an entrance of around 1.5 inches in diameter. A smaller 1.25-inch diameter is best for wrens, however. Anything larger than 1.5 inches is susceptible to starlings entering, posing a threat to eggs and baby birds.
- Assembly. The majority of bird boxes come fully assembled, but some larger options (such as purple martin houses) may require DIY assembly.
- Mounting. Some bird houses come with a string for hanging, but most must be mounted onto a tree, fence post, or similar. The necessary hardware should be included.
- Ease of cleaning. Choose a bird box that opens up so you can easily clean it out. Though you shouldn’t access it while birds are still nesting, once all the babies have fledged, you’ll need to clean it out to make it safe and hygienic for next year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of birds use bird houses?
Any “cavity nesting” birds are likely to use a bird box if available (as opposed to tree nesting or ground-nesting birds). The exact species vary by region, but generally include chickadees, wrens, finches, and nuthatches. Larger birds, such as owls and wood ducks will also nest in specialist nest boxes but won’t fit in your average bird house.
What colors attract birds to bird houses?
For the most part, birds are more likely to nest in earth-tone bird houses, such as brown and green, since these are “safe” colors that are similar to the trees and bushes birds spend much of their time in and around. However, some birds may be attracted to certain colors. For instance, red is said to attract woodpeckers and yellow is said to attract goldfinches.
Do birds use bird houses in the winter?
While bird houses are primarily used for nesting in the spring and summer, some birds may roost (sleep or rest) in bird boxes in the winter, particular in very cold or wet weather.
Do birds like hanging bird houses?
Birds generally prefer nesting in boxes that don’t sway too much in the wind, so mounted bird houses are better than hanging options. If you must hang your bird box instead of mounting it, it will sway less if hung with its back flat against a wall or fence.
Other Bird Houses We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other bird houses. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best bird houses list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for the wild birds in your area. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Wooden Bird Houses
A taller than average bird house with two entrance holes and an attractive weathered appearance.
- Panel opens up at the back for easy cleaning
- Well ventilated
- Easy to hang
Some of the more attractive bird houses can give you style over substance, but you certainly get both with this offering.
- Front panel opens fully for easy cleaning
- Opening around 1.25 inches in diameter so ideal for wrens and other small birds
- Made in the USA
If you fancy housing birds a little larger than your average finch or nuthatch, this bird house is designed for screech owls or saw-whet owls to nest in.
- Handmade in the USA
- Constructed from cedar wood
- Opens up for easy cleaning
This adorable bird house looks great with its vintage shop design and is perfectly sized for the smallest birds, such as wrens, but it isn’t as practical as some more basic-looking options.
- Entrance around 1.2 inches in diameter
- Cute retro design
The solid construction of this top notch bird house means it will last for many nesting seasons to come. The predator guard helps keep residents safe.
- Just the right size for bluebirds
- All metal hardware is rust-resistant
- Elevated mesh floor
Thanks to its compact size and small entrance hole, this bird house is ideal from wrens, while keeping larger birds out.
- Clean-out door provides easy access
- Made from naturally weather-resistant cedar
- Rust-free hardware
Designed by ornithologists, this is a practical and reliable bird house that’s perfect for bluebirds and other birds of a similar size.
- Made from reforested red cedar
- 1.5-inch entry hole
- Front opens for cleaning
Ceramic Bird Houses
This attractive ceramic bird house is the right size for small songbirds to nest in. It’s available in three colors.
- Small 1.12-inch opening
- Bottom unscrews to clean out old nests
- Durable non-toxic glaze
This beautifully designed ceramic bird house makes a stunning addition to any garden while being practical, too.
- Small hole in the base for drainage
- Three color choices
- Removable plug makes cleaning easier
Choose between three adorable compact bird houses in either red, turquoise, or yellow.
- The 1.5-inch opening is suitable for a range of songbirds
- Small plug on the base helps with cleaning
- Stands up to all weather
This attractive cylindrical bird house combines a ceramic body with a wooden roof.
- 1.25-inch opening is ideal for small birds
- Durable design
- Comes with hanger, but this could be improved upon
Metal Bird Houses
The perfect home to attract purple martins to your garden with room for 24 families to move in.
- Made from aluminum
- Includes decoys to help attract martins
- Must be pole mounted (pole not included)
If you want a real showstopper of a bird house, look no further. The ornate roof design makes this one stand out from the crowd.
- Suitable for pole mounting
- Two color choices
Cost: $73 to $86
With its vintage milk can style, this bird house looks great, but it’s more decorative than practical. That said, some buyers have had nesting success.
- Mounting hardware included
- Back opens up for cleaning
- Lower entrance area for seeds
Thanks to its unusual watering can design, it’s as much of a decorative piece as it is a bird house, but it is a good size for small birds to nest in.
- Easy to mount
- Attractive vintage style
- 1.75-inch entry hole
Other Bird Houses
An adorable resin bird house that’s shaped like a toadstool and features hand-painted flowers and butterflies.
- The 1.25-inch opening suits small birds such as wrens
- Eye-catching design
- Polyresin is durable and weather resistant
The plastic resin construction makes this bird house stand up to all kinds of weather conditions, plus it makes a great decorative piece.
- Entrance hole as a diameter of around 1.5 inches
- Small removable plug to aid cleaning inside
- Hand-painted design
A similar option to the one above from the same manufacturer but with a different shape and design.
- Made from polyresin
- Removable clean-out plug in the base
- Small perch below entrance hole
This two-pack of natural woven bird houses is an affordable option but isn’t as practical as a simple wooden bird house.
- Made from dried hibiscus grass
- Entrance hole measures approximately 1.6 by 1.8 inches
- Easy to hang
With it’s small entrance hole, this is the perfect size to let small birds like wrens and chickadees in while keeping larger birds out.
- Made from eco-friendly recycled plastic poly-lumber
- Crafted in Pennsylvania
- Five color choices