Everything You Need To Know About Size Hole For Bird Box

by Victor
Size Hole For Bird Box

Bird boxes, also known as nest boxes or birdhouses, are artificial structures designed to provide shelter and nesting sites for various bird species. These boxes play a crucial role in supporting bird populations, especially in urban areas where natural nesting sites may be limited. When constructing or purchasing a bird box, one important consideration is the size of the hole. The size of the hole determines which bird species can access and utilize the box effectively. In this article, we will explore the significance of choosing the right size hole for a bird box and how it can impact the success of nesting attempts.

Understanding Bird Box Design

Bird boxes come in various shapes and sizes, but they all share a common purpose: to provide a safe and suitable environment for birds to raise their young. The design a bird box includes factors such as material, ventilation, drainage, and most importantly, the size of the entrance hole. The size of the hole is critical because it determines which bird species can enter the box while keeping out unwanted visitors like predators or larger birds that may harm the occupants.

Matching Hole Size to Target Species

Different bird species have specific requirements when it comes to the size of the entrance hole. A small hole may exclude larger birds, while a large hole may attract unwanted species or predators. Researching the target bird species and understanding their preferences is essential for selecting the appropriate hole size. For example, bluebirds typically prefer a 1.5-inch (3.8 cm) entrance hole, while chickadees may require a slightly smaller hole of around 1.25 inches (3.2). By tailoring the hole size to the target species, you increase the chances of attracting the desired occupants.

Preventing Unwanted Occupants

Choosing the correct hole size not only ensures that the intended bird species can access the box but also helps prevent unwanted occupants. Some bird species, such as house sparrows or European starlings, are known to compete with native birds for nesting sites. These invasive species can take over bird boxes and even harm or kill the original occupants. By selecting a hole size that is too small for these unwanted species, you can discourage their entry and protect the habitat for native birds.

Protecting Nestlings from Predators

Predation is a significant threat to nesting birds and their young. Larger predators, such as raccoons or snakes, can reach into a bird box with a large entrance hole and prey on the eggs or nestlings inside. By choosing a smaller hole size, you can reduce the risk of predation and provide a safer environment for the nesting birds and their offspring. The smaller hole makes it more challenging for predators to access the contents of the box, increasing the chances of successful fledging.

Adapting Hole Size for Different Bird Species

In some cases, you may want to attract multiple bird species to your garden or property. To accommodate different species, you can consider using bird boxes with interchangeable entrance hole plates. These plates allow you to adjust the hole size according to the target species. This flexibility enables you to cater to the needs of various birds and maximize the utilization of the bird boxes throughout the breeding season.

Bird Box Size FAQs

1. What Size Hole for a Swallow Bird House?

The recommended hole size for a swallow birdhouse is approximately 1 ½ inches in diameter. This allows the swallows to easily access and utilize the nesting box for breeding and rearing their young. Different species have different preferences for hole sizes. Here are some general guidelines:

Barn Swallow: A circular entrance hole with a diameter of about 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) is suitable for attracting barn swallows.

Tree Swallow: Tree swallows prefer slightly smaller entrance holes. A circular hole with a diameter of about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) should work well.

Violet-green Swallow: For violet-green swallows, a circular entrance hole with a diameter of approximately 1.56 inches (4 centimeters) is recommended.

It’s important to note that these are general recommendations, and there may be some variation in preferences among individual birds. Additionally, local populations and regional variations can also influence the preferred hole sizes. It’s always a good idea to research the specific swallow species in your area to determine the most appropriate hole size for your birdhouse.

2. Does a Birdhouse Hole Have to be Round?

No, a birdhouse hole does not have to be round. While round holes are commonly used in birdhouses, the shape and size of the entrance hole can vary depending on the species of birds you want to attract. Different bird species have different preferences for the size and shape of the entrance hole.

Apart from round holes, some other shapes of entrance holes used in birdhouses include:

Oval Holes: These can be suitable for certain bird species that prefer slightly elongated openings. For example, Eastern Bluebirds sometimes use oval-shaped entrance holes.

Slit Holes: These are narrow, elongated openings that may be used to attract birds like wrens or certain types of flycatchers.

Star-shaped Holes: These unique openings can add aesthetic appeal to birdhouses and are sometimes used experimentally to see if specific bird species are attracted.

Teardrop-shaped Holes: These are less common but can be used for creative and decorative birdhouses, though they are less likely to attract specific bird species.

When choosing an alternative shape for the birdhouse entrance hole, it is essential to research the preferences and behaviors of the bird species you intend to attract. Different shapes may influence the types of birds that use the birdhouse and can impact their nesting success.

3. Birdhouse Hole Size Chart

Below is a birdhouse hole size chart that provides general recommendations for the entrance hole sizes of various bird species commonly attracted to birdhouses. Keep in mind that these sizes are approximate, and it’s essential to research the specific requirements of the birds in your region to ensure successful nesting.

Bird Species Hole Size (Diameter) Recommended Birdhouse Type
Eastern Bluebird 1 ½ inches (3.8 cm) Bluebird House
Tree Swallow 1 ½ inches (3.8 cm) Open-Front Nest Box or Bluebird House
House Wren 1 ¼ inches (3.2 cm) Wren House
Black-capped Chickadee 1 ⅛ inches (2.9 cm) Chickadee House
Carolina Chickadee 1 ⅛ inches (2.9 cm) Chickadee House
Tufted Titmouse 1 ¼ inches (3.2 cm) Titmouse House
Violet-green Swallow 1 ½ inches (3.8 cm) Bluebird House or Open-Front Nest Box
House Sparrow 1 ½ inches (3.8 cm) Avoid attracting this species
Northern Flicker 2 ½ inches (6.4 cm) Flicker House
Purple Martin 2 ½ inches (6.4 cm) Purple Martin House
Red-headed Woodpecker 2 ½ inches (6.4 cm) Woodpecker House
American Kestrel 3 inches (7.6 cm) Kestrel House

Please note that some bird species may prefer slightly different hole sizes, and providing a predator guard around the entrance hole can be beneficial for protecting nesting birds from unwanted visitors.

It’s essential to consider the local bird populations and their specific nesting requirements when selecting a birdhouse and determining the appropriate hole size. Additionally, the location and habitat of your birdhouse can also influence the types of birds you attract.


Choosing the right size hole for a bird box is a critical factor in supporting bird populations and promoting successful nesting attempts. By understanding the preferences of target bird species, you can tailor the entrance hole size to attract the desired occupants while deterring unwanted visitors. The appropriate hole size not only provides access for the intended species but also protects nestlings from predators and helps maintain a healthy bird population. Remember to monitor and maintain the bird boxes regularly to ensure their continued effectiveness as valuable habitats for our feathered friends.

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