Best Birdhouse Paint Colors That Attract Birds - Woodworking Trade (2023)

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Watching the activities of birds in your garden or backyard is a satisfying experience. Once you’ve selected the best wood for your birdhouse, you may want to paint it to attract nesting birds. But is it safe to paint birdhouses? How will a bird react to a painted birdhouse? Is it safe for them? These are a few questions that come to mind.

If you want the quick answer – according to bird expert Robert A. McCabe, “that diurnal birds are stimulated more by red-yellow color bands and nocturnal birds by blue-green color bands”.

Based on that, some top color picks would be Red, Yellow, and Orange for daytime birds and Blue and Purple for night-time birds. Keep reading below for some other important considerations when picking out your paint – and some reasons why you might not want to paint hour birdhouse at all!

In this post, we attempt to answer these questions and give you some interesting information about the best birdhouse paint and the colors you can get.

Why would you want to install a birdhouse in your garden or backyard? There are many reasons. Birdhouses are suitable for nesting birds. They also make your garden or yard attractive. You can enhance the looks by painting them. Birdhouses are a boon to birds that have lost their habitat due to deforestation and urbanization.

The presence of birds also contributes to pest control, flower pollination, weed control, and maintenance of native plants. Let’s begin by discussing the colors to choose for a birdhouse.

Suitable Colors to Paint a Birdhouse

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Your choice of color will depend on the type of birdhouse and its location in your garden or yard. Grey, light-green, and brown are good colors for nesting birds because they blend in with the natural surroundings protects them from predators.

If you paint the birdhouse with a colorful flower garden’s background, you can use more vibrant colors to blend in with the environment.

If the area is prone to bright sunlight, you could use white to reflect the sun’s heat. It is always better to avoid fluorescent, iridescent, or metallic paint because of the possibility of toxic metals and chemicals that could be harmful to the birds.

Do not paint the inside of the birdhouse and you may not want to paint a birdhouse at all!

Do not paint the inside of the boards that you use to make the birdhouse as this can peel and chip off, some birds may also peck at the wood and end up ingesting bits of pain.

Leaving the outside of the house unpainted also wouldn’t be a bad idea because the shade of the wood will blend in with the plants and trees quite nicely providing natural camouflage from predators (including outdoor cats!). But you would have to choose the type of wood that will survive well outdoors without paint or protect it with a natural finish like a non-toxic water-based sealant or pure plant-based finish.

Painting the outer surfaces of a birdhouse can offer some protection to the wood against the elements.

Safety Considerations

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When you choose the paint of any particular color, ensure to use non-toxic paint. Some paints can contain zinc, lead, and other heavy metals. Hence, read the labels carefully before use. Also, keep in mind that your paint shouldn’t be so dark that it absorbs less heat. Bright colors may attract predators. Hence light colors are a suitable choice.

Never paint the inside of a birdhouse because the paint can emit volatile substances. This is particularly important in the case of young chicks who depend on naturally-textured walls to scurry around inside the birdhouse.

Handy Tips to Paint a Birdhouse

Here are a few valuable tips that should put you on the right track if you undertake to paint a birdhouse:

Choice of Paint

Use water-based latex paint. Avoid paints with toxic additives, but try to procure paints with natural derivatives.

Paint Outside Only

As we mentioned above, if you have to paint a birdhouse, paint the outside only. Other than the chemical emissions from the paint, it could chip off and be ingested by the hatchlings or get into their eyes.

Apply a Thin Coat

If you apply a thick coat, you stand the chance of blocking ventilation and drainage holes on the surface of the birdhouse. Hence, apply thinly and you can add another coat or two if you feel the need.

Install After a Few Days

Even after completing the painting operation, do not install the birdhouse immediately. Wait for two to three days for the paint to dry entirely, not to attract predators or cause an unpleasant odor for the birds.

Check the Surface Regularly

Now and then, when you are cleaning out the birdhouse, check for chipped or damaged paint. You can repaint the surface as required.

Sealing Your Birdhouse

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Once you have painted a birdhouse, since it’s likely to be exposed to the elements, you should seal the surface. The ideal sealant comes in the form of acrylic paint sealant. It will ensure that whatever type of paint you use will not wash off in the rain or peel off in the hot weather.

Acrylic paint sealant is suitable because it offers durability and ultraviolet (UV) protection from direct sunlight. It is clear and can be brushed on. Some products come in aerosol spray cans.

Make sure to cover the area where you are going to be painting with newspapers and drop cloths. Ensure that the paint on the surface you are going to paint is completely dry before you start your job. For the best results, you would probably need to apply a second coat.

You can sand down the surface with fine-grit sandpaper on the first coat after it is completely dry. It adds to the adherence of the second coat. Wait until the sealant layer has completely dried before you install the birdhouse.

While buying your sealant, check the label carefully to confirm whether it offers UV protection as well as protection against pests, mildew, and water.

Suggested Designs

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You can use many different designs for birdhouses, but in the end, your artistic design sense is essential. A solid color is always a good choice, which may be in bright or soft colors. You can also experiment with different colors and even make a birdhouse look like a real house using trim and other accessories.

The bottom line here is not to get too carried away with an elaborate design. What appeals to us may not be so appealing to birds. Hence, whatever design you use, try to keep it simple with basic, pastel colors. By adding too many frills and fancies, you may even end up driving your feathered friends away.


If you choose a suitable design and select your colors carefully using non-toxic paints, you can build a painted birdhouse that the birds will like. After setting up your birdhouse in a prominent place in the garden or backyard, if you see birds moving in and taking up residence, your purpose will be served. Find a vantage point where you can watch the antics of your feathered friends for hours on end.

Happy Woodworking!

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What is the best color to paint a birdhouse to attract birds? ›

Picking a Color for Your Bird Feeder or Bird House

Colors that help a bird house or bird feeder blend into the environment are best in that regard. Gray, dull green, tan, or brown, are colors that make bird houses or bird feeders less visible to predators because they blend in best with natural surroundings.

Can I use acrylic paint on wooden birdhouse? ›

If you are planning on using the birdhouse indoors, you'll be fine using regular acrylic paint and don't need a sealer (other than Mod Podge). What is this? If you'd like to use the birdhouses outside, you'll want to use an Outdoor rated paint.

What color are birds attracted to? ›

Birds are attracted to the color red, according to a Chicago zoo authority. Birds protect their nests by flashing red and use the color to attract mates. Adding a touch of red to your feeder will attract more birds, though some seed-eating birds prefer blue or silver feeders.

What makes a birdhouse attractive to birds? ›

Shelter: Thicket-like shelter that includes evergreen trees and a variety of native plants will be most attractive to nesting birds. They will use twigs, plant down, mosses, and bits of leaves for nesting material, and will hide in brush piles and bird-friendly shrubs to stay safe from predators and poor weather.

What color is most visible to birds? ›

While humans have three color-detecting cones in their eyes — to see red, green and blue shades — birds have a fourth cone that enables them to see ultraviolet (UV) light. This permits birds to see a broader spectrum of colors than humans. Birds also have a drop of filtering oil in their cone color receptors.

Do birds like bright colored birdhouses? ›

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.

What kind of paint do you use for a birdhouse? ›

Latex paint is water-soluble, which makes it one of the safest options for use in birdhouses. For the best results, select a latex paint designed for exterior use and apply one or two coats to the outside of your birdhouse.

How do you seal a painted wooden birdhouse? ›

You can seal your birdhouse once the paint is dry. You should do so using a thin coat of raw linseed oil. Since raw linseed oil can take weeks to dry, give yourself ample time before placing the birdhouse outside.

What wood paint is safe for birds? ›

Thinking of painting your birdcage? Little Knights is a durable, non-toxic paint that conforms fully with Toy Safe legislation, meaning that licking and nibbling of the paint will do no harm.

What colors do birds not like? ›

One color that all birds can seem to agree upon avoiding is white. White creates feelings of danger within birds so therefore they avoid it. On the other hand, bugs are attracted to colors like white and yellow. Blues and greens aren't as vivid to them and they tend to stay away from these colored objects.

Should you put anything in a birdhouse? ›

Provide woodpeckers, waterfowl, and owls with nest material.

Many cavity-nesting birds will add their own nest material, but the woodpeckers, waterfowl and owls prefer nest boxes with 2-3 inches of dry sawdust or woodchips in the bottom.

Do birds like color red? ›

Birds and the Color Red

Considered a “power” color by humans, this bold shade is also popular with birds. In fact, birds use their red markings to warn predators away from nests and to attract mates. Red attracts hummingbirds, which is why many hummingbird feeders have red bases and/or ports.

How do you make a birdhouse more attractive? ›

9 Proven Tips to Attract Nesting Birds
  1. Offer Several Birdhouses. catnap72/Getty Images Rustic birdhouses. ...
  2. Choose Birdhouses That Attract Multiple Species. ...
  3. Attract Friendly Nesting Neighbors. ...
  4. Hang Up Baskets. ...
  5. Add a Bird Bath and Bushes. ...
  6. Try Birdhouse Gourds. ...
  7. Keep Nest Boxes Clean. ...
  8. Secure Birdhouses to Trees.
Jun 30, 2022

Which direction should a birdhouse face? ›

What direction should a birdhouse face? A birdhouse and its entrance hole should face away from prevailing winds. In the United States, it's very common for a birdhouse to face east, which is often faced away from the prevailing wind and the strong afternoon sun.

What kind of birdhouse do cardinals like? ›

Unlike many other backyard birds, Cardinals will not use birdhouses or nesting boxes. In addition to enjoying dense plant life for shelter, they also prefer it for nesting. Grapevines, tall trees, and shrub thickets are ideal options for nest sites.

What colors are cardinals attracted to? ›

blue will entice Eastern bluebird and Blue jay. green, brown, and gray will invite quail, thrushes, and doves. red and pink will entice the cardinals and hummingbirds.

Are birds afraid of the color red? ›

What colors are birds afraid of? Many bird owners swear that their bird is afraid of red, and there's probably some truth to that. Just as we take red to mean caution, so too, do some birds, who may view it with trepidation. If your bird finds red scary, try to minimize its presence around your birdcage or play area.

What color bird bath attracts birds? ›

While ideally, the exterior of the bird bath should be painted in bright colors to attract birds, the bottom of the bird bath basin should be of light color such as light green, beige, gray, etc.

What is the best finish for bird houses? ›

By far, the easiest way to protect your bird house from the weather is by applying a spray clear coat. Polyurethane spray clear coat can be found at any hardware store. They come in a variety of sheen finishes and made by a variety of brands all offering their own version of “fast drying” or “superior durability.”

What color is calming for birds? ›

It was concluded that blue or green light is preferable to red or white light for broilers because it keeps the birds calmer and is chosen by the birds themselves.

Do birds have color preferences? ›

Birds have excellent colour vision, and show preferences for food items of particular colours, but research into colour preferences associated with artificial feeders is limited to hummingbirds.

What style of paint do birds and animals use? ›

Bundi school is an important school for the Rajasthani style of miniature paintings. It lasted from the 17th to the 19th century. This school of painting focused on hunting, festivals, a life of nobles, animals, birds, lovers, and scenes from Lord Krishna's life.

Should birdhouse be in sun or shade? ›

Lower body weight has been associated with poorer survival in birds in previous studies. So that appears to be a clear answer: keep nest boxes out of the sun. According to a press release from Lund University, Andreasson also recommends setting up birdhouses in a slightly more shady place.

Should I paint or stain my birdhouse? ›

Staining a birdhouse can be a good idea. It will be able to protect the wood, ensuring the house lasts for a long time. However, you should only stain or paint the outside. This will stop potentially toxic fumes from building up inside the house and harming the birds.

Do birds not like painted birdhouses? ›

If you paint your birdhouse, birds aren't picky about color, but stay away from black or dark colors that absorb heat. Use nontoxic stains or varnishes. — A few extras. Proper ventilation and drainage are important to a happy feathered home.

Should you seal acrylic painted wood? ›

If you do not seal acrylic paint on your wooden items, the paint may eventually crack and then peel off. By following the entire process of painting a wooden surface, it helps to protect and make sure the wooden item keeps looking great for a long time.

Can you Modge podge birdhouse? ›

My kids absolutely love painting crafts in addition to Mod Podge! We used both paint and Mod Podge for our cute birdhouses.

Is RustOleum paint safe for birds? ›

Avianweb Visitor Sara Fischer (6/2009) contacted a couple of manufacturers of commonly available paints (Krylon and RustOleum) and got the following responses: RustOleum: “Let me first assure you that our products are lead free and are completely non-toxic when fully dry.

Is pine wood toxic to birds? ›

Most shop-bought perches are made from untreated pine, of the kind used in dowels, and this is fine. But avoid fresh pine, which has a sticky resin. Balsa wood is safe, but won't last very long as a perch: an industrious parakeet will chew through in a few days!

Is craft wood safe for birds? ›

Bird's exercise their jaws, trim the beak, and are comforted when they chew on wood. All sized parrots love to chew wood, but you must make sure to choose bird safe wood.
WoodDensityBird Size Toy Application
Ash33-53Moderately soft wood that is excellent for small to larger bird toys.
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Does lavender attract birds? ›

Lavender Plants Have a Long Bloom Time

So you'll have a long time to enjoy their beauty and fragrance in your garden. Attract hummingbirds with these long-blooming flowers.

Should you drill holes in the bottom of a birdhouse? ›

Birdhouses should have ventilation and drainage holes to prevent overheating or drowning of baby birds. A sloped roof with a bit of an overhang can also help keep the nest dry. If you have a house without these you can always drill a few holes in the floor for drainage and high up on the sides to provide ventilation.

Why are birds not using my birdhouse? ›

Many species won't use a birdhouse if it has a nest from a previous year inside, and rodents will often build nests in them during the winter months. Early March is a good time to clean any debris out of birdhouses, long before the songbird breeding season begins.

Is it OK to nail a birdhouse to a tree? ›

Do not nail a birdhouse to a tree. Nails can cause damage, and over time could introduce wood-decay fungi that will rot the tree.

What flower colors attract birds? ›

If you're saddened by the news that your garden may be the very reason you don't wake up to a symphony of chirps, here are some colors you should try working into your yard: red, pink, orange, yellow, and blue. These colors will attract hummingbirds, orioles, goldfinches, warblers, bluebirds, and jays.

Will birds use a hanging birdhouse? ›

Decorative birdhouses, hanging teapots, and other garden art are not safe for nesting birds —even if they choose to use them. These unsafe nesting spots leave birds vulnerable to additional threats including predators, harsh weather conditions, and may trap chicks inside.

How should I paint my birdhouse? ›

Use water-based latex paint, and always avoid lead-based or creosote paints that may be toxic to birds. Consider trying alternative, eco-friendly, or naturally-derived paints, or opt for natural or organic stains rather than paints. Avoid painting the inside of a birdhouse or around the lip of the entrance hole.

What is the best time to put up a birdhouse? ›

The best time to put up a new birdhouse is in the fall or winter so that birds will have plenty of time to locate them before the breeding season. What type of bird you want to attract will determine where you place a birdhouse.

Should you clean out bird houses? ›

Bird houses should be thoroughly cleaned after the nesting season ends and the last young birds have left the nest. Depending on the types of birds that have used the house, it may be ready for cleaning as early as late summer. Mid to late fall is the ideal time to be sure all bird houses are cleaned.

Do birds use birdhouses in the winter? ›

In winter, a few species of songbirds—the ones that nest in tree cavities or birdhouses in spring—will also use roost boxes to stay warm. Among them: bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, screech owls and some woodpeckers.

Will hummingbirds sleep in a birdhouse? ›

Unlike some other popular backyard birds, hummingbirds do not nest in birdhouses.

Do Blue Jays use bird houses? ›

Nesting material such as twigs and grass clippings will help encourage blue jays to nest nearby. These birds may also use large nesting shelves that are under eaves or covered with a sloping roof. They will not routinely use bird houses.

What is a cardinals favorite tree? ›

Native trees and shrubs are always a good bet when you want to attract local birds. Some of the cardinals' favorite trees include mulberry, serviceberry, flowering dogwood, crabapple, and spruce. Shrubs at the top of their feeding list include staghorn sumac, red-osier dogwood, gray dogwood, and viburnum species.

What colors are birds not attracted to? ›

But aside from the bright hues, there are also shades that avians are less attracted to but are more practical. Earthy tones such as black, green, brown, and gray blend with the environment, which keeps birds safe.

What is the best finish for a birdhouse? ›

But not everyone is familiar with how to apply a protective finishing coat, so here's a few tips to help you keep your Camper looking like new. By far, the easiest way to protect your bird house from the weather is by applying a spray clear coat. Polyurethane spray clear coat can be found at any hardware store.

What wood is best for birdhouses? ›

Cedar or redwood is affordable, comes in 1” x 8″ sizes at any home center, and will last for years outdoors. Exterior-grade plywood (which uses a phenolic resin glue to hold the layers together) is also a good option. Do not use treated lumber as the chemicals can be harmful to the birds.

Why does my bird hate the color red? ›

Many bird owners swear that their bird is afraid of red, and there's probably some truth to that. Just as we take red to mean caution, so too, do some birds, who may view it with trepidation. If your bird finds red scary, try to minimize its presence around your birdcage or play area.

What do you put in the bottom of a birdhouse? ›

Many cavity-nesting birds will add their own nest material, but the woodpeckers, waterfowl and owls prefer nest boxes with 2-3 inches of dry sawdust or woodchips in the bottom. Place the box carefully. Put your birdhouse up on a sturdy pole, post, tree, or under a house eave.

How thick should wood be for a birdhouse? ›

Keep it simple. The wood should be at least 1/2 inch thick, 9/6-1 inch would be better, larger wood is hard to work with, but might be used where the temperatures are below 0F or above 120F when the birds are nesting.

Will birds go in a painted birdhouse? ›

Nesting birds like painted birdhouses and unpainted birdhouses. When choosing a birdhouse, birds are looking for a smartly-located shelter that's the right size and shape. They are not too picky about the color, although more neutral colors can help protect birds from attention predators.

What time of year should you put up a birdhouse? ›

The best time to put up a new birdhouse is in the fall or winter so that birds will have plenty of time to locate them before the breeding season. What type of bird you want to attract will determine where you place a birdhouse.

Should you put anything in a new birdhouse? ›

Adding nesting material to birdhouses is not usually a good idea, and the birds that want to use the house may simply remove any well-meaning additions before they begin nest construction. In the end, this makes more work for the birds and makes a birdhouse with included nesting material less attractive overall.


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