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
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.
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
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.
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.