I know it sounds silly, but somehow I feel like I’m a better person for having bluebirds nesting in my yard. If these brilliant icons of spring opt to spend time in my landscape, then I must be doing something right. If you, too, want to enjoy their company (and benefit from the penchant for munching on garden insect pests) it’s time to set up some bluebird houses.

Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when constructing or purchasing a bluebird house.

  • The hole should be 1-1/2 inches in diameter. (No, bluebirds can’t measure, but larger holes will invite bluebird competitors.)
  • The birdhouse — also known as a nesting box — should open easily for cleaning.
  • It should have a waterproof roof and small holes in the bottom for drainage and air circulation.
  • Boxes should not have perches. The bluebirds don’t need them, and perches invite predator birds that damage eggs and hatchlings.
  • Wooden nesting boxes may be left unfinished. You can paint the outside if you like, but leave the wood bare on the inside.

Install the box on a 4- to 5-foot-tall post in an area with low-growing ground cover or mown grass. Ideally, it should be near a tree, so newly fledged birds have a place to perch. Mount the box on a predator-resistant post if you live in areas with raccoons or cats.

Suzanne DeJohn