Bird Watcher's General Store

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Feng Shui for Birdhouses

Dear Bird Folks,

Someone told me that for best results, birdhouse openings should face east. Is that for real, a fairy tale or perhaps for Feng Shui?

– Rick, Boston


What Rick,

Feng Shui? Huh? Oh, is he that little guy who used to be on the TV show “Fantasy Island?” I didn’t know he liked birds. It’s nice to get a question from the big city of Boston. I thought you Globe readers would eventualy look to a real newspaper to learn about the important issues of the day. After all, how many times can anyone read about the “Big Dig” or the “governor’s twins?” I knew sooner or later you city folks would rise up to seek greater knowledge. It looks like today is the day. And what better way to start this new age of enlightenment than with a question about the placement of birdhouse holes.

We get this question about birdhouse placement a lot, but to my knowledge there has never been a study that supports any one direction being better than another. The rule of thumb is to mount your nest box so that the hole faces away from the prevailing winds and thus away from oncoming storms. But predicting which way the wind blows around here is like trying to guess how long the new Red Sox manager will keep his job.

Here on the East Coast we get storms from all directions. Raw spring rains seem to blow in off the water from the east, warm heavy rains come up the coast from the south and in the summer we get lots of thunderstorms from the west. Then, of course, we get those wacky Nor’Easters that come from two directions at once. Don’t ask me to explain that.

I have nest boxes that face every direction of the compass and most of them have had birds nesting in them. My more successful boxes face west. But most of my boxes face west for no other reason than that is where I can see them better. One of the main reasons many of us put up a nest box is to watch the parents flying in and out feeding their young birds.

My advice is to place your birdhouses where you can see the opening the best. Mount it so you can see it from your kitchen window, back deck or your penthouse on the 50th floor overlooking Copley Square.