Mar 27, 2019 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, April 2019

Which Birds Use Nest Boxes?

Bluebirds number among the species that readily take to human-provided nest boxes.
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Don't expect a jay or hummingbird to use a birdhouse you provide. Only "cavity nesters"—bird species that naturally nest in hollow trees or similar secluded shelters—will select a human-provided nest box. And not all cavity nesters readily adopt boxes. Here's a list of some of the birds that commonly use "bird houses":

  • Some ducks, including wood duck
  • Some owls, including barred and screech-owls
  • Some woodpeckers, including downy and northern flicker
  • American kestrel
  • Some flycatchers, including great crested and ash-throated
  • Some swallows, including tree, violet-green, barn, and purple martin
  • Titmice
  • Chickadees
  • Nuthatches
  • Some wren species
  • Bluebirds
  • Phoebes, including eastern and Say's
  • Prothonotary and Lucy's warblers


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  • I've been feeding the birds at my home for over 20 years and have multiple bird houses all over. I'm getting old and I'm worried more about the poor birds that occupy the bird houses and where they will go when I'm gone and someone else buys my house and takes down all the bird houses.
    by Linda DiPierro, Sun, 01 Dec 2019
  • i live in watauga county nc and bluejays left our area on tuesday aug 20 2019! About twenty came in for their feed of peanuts, then left. It has been so quiet since they left. The gold finches are busy feeding.
    by Rhoda Buffalo, Thu, 22 Aug 2019
  • Really?! I have two (2) feeders that hold just over a pound each of Safflower seeds (I weighed) and I have to fill them up EVERY day. The small birds absolutely love these seeds!
    by David John Repischak, Mon, 05 Aug 2019
  • I use frisbees for umbrellas. Sometimes I get them free at events. I use red over hummingbird feeders. Helps to attract them.
    by wnyfalconfan, Mon, 05 Aug 2019
  • I recently were given two new bird feeders. Both have not been touched by any birds. Its been nearly 6 month, why is this? One is like a larger orange Hazel nut with an open front & the other is a yellow honey comb with 3 sides open.Is it the colour which scares the birds? I have the same feed in them as in my old feeder, which I need to refill regularly. Many thanks. Doreen
    by Doreen Atkins, Mon, 29 Jul 2019