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.

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 am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021