Bird feeders are great for birds that are passing through your backyard, but if you really want to establish a bird population you will need to have bird houses too. Most bird houses are simple wooden boxes with a perch on the outside and a hole for an entrance. Colonies of birds like Purple Martins prefer a more complex home, with many compartments and entrance holes.
Of course, as with choosing the right kind of bird food for your local birds, you will also need to have the right kind of housing if you want to attract them to stay. Not all birds make their homes in enclosed spaces like a bird house. You will find that your bird houses will attract birds like sparrows, woodpeckers, swallows, titmice, chickadees, wrens and finches.
You can buy pretty little bird houses at all kind of department or gardening stores. Some are not meant to be used by birds and are decoration only. If you want a house that a bird will actually move into, watch for the right sizes and shapes. You might need to do some further research into the right sizes of homes for the birds in your area. Most birds are very particular and will only nest in the right size home. Other features that you need to consider for each of your bird houses is the size of the hole and how high off the ground you mount the house. Some birds prefer a deep box, and some do not. It can be quite a job getting the right house for the right bird.
Not only do you want to provide a location for birds to make their nests, you should also keep some nesting material around your yard. Bundles of small twigs, strips of torn cloth, feathers, string, yarn or even hair can be left in nearby trees for the birds to use. If you are offering them both a place to build a nest as well as the materials for the construction, they'll be more likely to move right in.
Where you mount your bird house again depends on the preferences of the species you are after, but most birds will prefer a bird house that is somewhat hidden by branches or leaves. A house on a pole in the middle of your yard isn't a good choice. A bird must feel secure in order to build a nest.
Once the birds have moved in, raised their chicks and moved back out again, you should be responsible and clean out the house. For health reasons, a bird house should be emptied of old nest materials and even washed with a weak bleach solution to kill any lingering parasites. Bird houses shown below are available at ourbirdhouses.com