Which Color To Paint Your Birdhouse To Attract Birds
Bird-watching is an exciting hobby that draws thousands of adventurous bird-watchers away from home each year. However, for most of us, the most pleasant bird-watching moments happen right in our own backyards. And what better way to invite our avian friends over than by putting up birdhouses?
But just because you put up a birdhouse doesn’t mean a bird will want to nest in it. Attracting birds to your yard takes strategy, good timing, and the right paint color on your birdhouse.
What To Know About Birds and Color
Unlike dogs or cats, which are color-blind to some degree, birds can see all the colors that humans can see and then some, thanks to additional cones in their eyes that allow them to see ultraviolet light. This special color vision helps them attract mates, hunt for food, and determine safe places to nest. Birds are also often more sensitive to color than other animals. So your color choice for your birdhouse can determine whether certain species of birds will want to nest in it.
Things To Consider When Selecting a Color for Your Birdhouse
Types of Birds You Want To Attract
Just like people, different birds have different color preferences. As you’re trying to decide what color to paint your birdhouse to attract birds, you’ll want to consider the types of birds you’re trying to attract.
For this process, you’ll want to begin with the types of birds that live in your region and that usually use birdhouses. A few North American bird species that live in birdhouses include:
When you’ve identified a species you want to target, you can then consider the best color for attracting that species. Nocturnal birds such as owls often prefer colors on a cool gradient, such as blues and purples, while daytime fliers tend to prefer brighter colors. Even within these categories, there are some variations. For example, robins prefer the color black, goldfinches green, and starlings blue.
Location of Your Birdhouse
Some species of birds enjoy brighter colors, but most birds tend to look for homes that blend into their surroundings. That way, predators will be less likely to attack their nests. In these cases, you’ll want to consider where you’ve put your birdhouse and then paint it a color that fits its surroundings.
For example, if you’re hanging your birdhouse among the branches of a tree, green may be a good color choice to blend in with the branches. But if you’re attaching the house to the trunk of the tree, you may want to pick a more neutral color such as white, gray, or brown, depending on the color of the bark.
But neutral isn’t the only way to camouflage, especially if your birdhouse is set up among the flowers of your garden. This is one of the few scenarios in which using bright colors will actually make your birdhouse seem safer for birds, especially if you choose colors that match the flowers in the garden.
Time of Year
Different bird species nest at different times of year. And a bird may be more drawn to a certain color during different seasons. Sky-blue birdhouses are often more effective during the summer months, likely because of the blue sky. White is also a good color for some summer dwellings, such as purple martin houses, because it reflects the heat and keeps the house cooler.
Some people think of birdhouses as lawn ornaments rather than real habitats. As such, they tend to paint birdhouses in especially bright or shiny hues. However, if a birdhouse is too reflective, it can repel birds who are looking for homes that won’t attract attention.
How Should I Paint My Birdhouse?
When you have identified the bird species you’re trying to attract, where you’re putting the birdhouse, and when you’ll be setting it up, choosing the proper color becomes easy. All that’s left to do is paint your birdhouse.
Choose Your Paint
When you’re choosing paint for your bird dwelling, you’ll need to keep durability and safety in mind. The structure will be outside, so you’ll want to choose a durable paint. However, you don’t want to choose a super-reflective paint because it may scare away the birds. Going for a semi-gloss paint intended for outdoor use will help you achieve a durable paint job.
Additionally, you’ll want to avoid oil-based paints that are high in chemicals and that may yellow in the sunlight. Water-based paints are typically the best choice to use in animal dwellings such as birdhouses.
Applying Your Paint
How you apply your paint will also determine how durable your final paint job will be. Before you begin painting, make sure you sand the surfaces of the birdhouse for better adhesion and clean off any dust, grime, or glue. You may also consider applying one or two coats of animal-safe primer before painting for a sturdier finish that offers a better final color. Allow the primer to dry completely before adding your two coats of paint.
Other Ways To Attract Birds to Your Birdhouse
Color isn’t the only factor in attracting birds to your birdhouse. As you begin the process of designing your bird dwelling, you can make your birdhouse more appealing to birds in the area by taking the following additional steps:
- Offer multiple sizes of birdhouses.
- Choose birdhouse sizes and designs that appeal to birds in the area.
- Place a birdbath and feeder in the yard.
- Leave out materials that birds can use for nesting.
- Include landscaping and plants that are appealing to birds in your yard.
- Reduce your use of pesticides and insecticides.
We can all enjoy the simple pleasure of bird-watching in our own homes with well-built birdhouses. And if you’re looking to paint your bird dwelling the perfect color, you can use the same dog-friendly paints that you might use for colorful, nontoxic* doghouses for your birdhouses. Shop ECOS Paints today for your next birding project.
*Nontoxic - Conforms to ASTM-D4236, specifically concerning oral toxicity, skin irritation and respiratory effects.