Bird Watcher's General Store

“A Cape Cod Destination Icon For 40 Years”

The Right Height for a Birdhouse


Dear Bird Folks,

Is there a specific height to mount a birdhouse? I’ve heard that 8 feet is the best height.

– Allison, Orleans


Well, Allison,

You heard wrong. Eight feet is not the best height. Although birds will certainly use a nest box that is 8 feet high, the best height is the height that will allow you to clean and maintain your box. I see way too many boxes on the tops of trees that are neglected because people are too lazy to drag out the ladder to climb up and clean them out.

I think the best height is “head height.” I’m talking your head height (unless you are that little Feng Shui guy). That way you can easily maintain the box without having to balance on a ladder or bar stool.

Nest box placement is not as critical as most people think. I’ve seen chickadees nesting a foot off the ground and swallows nesting 16 feet high. But both species would be happy to nest in boxes 5 feet high. And that’s where I suggest you mount your boxes. We’ll let the ridiculously high boxes be put up by basketball players, giraffes and that guy who lives in the penthouse overlooking Copley Square.