When hanging a bluebird house, it is important to understand bluebird habitat. If a bluebird does not like the house's location, it will not use it. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, bluebirds prefer rural, open lands with sparse trees (such as meadows, pastures, parks, golf courses and acreage) with low ground cover (such as mowed grass).
Avoid hanging the bluebird house in areas where pesticides have been used (such as farms or orchards). Consider nearby bluebird perching locations, as this species enjoys perching from wires, fence posts and low tree branches. Bluebird houses should be hung in areas plentiful in wild berries (like honeysuckle or holly) and ground-dwelling insects like grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, spiders and cutworms, as these meals will satisfy and facilitate a healthy bird population. When mounting the bluebird house on a tree or post, face the opening toward the short ground-cover (like mowed grass), so that the bluebird may look for food from inside its new home.
Hang a bluebird house away from potential predators. Mounting a house too close to heavily wooded areas can attract other bird species, such as the chickadee, tufted titmouse, starling and wren. These species will invade a bluebird house, destroy its eggs, and possibly kill the occupant. The North American Bluebird Society suggests mounting a bluebird box at least 200 feet from heavily wooded locations.
Avoid areas with heavy underbrush, debris or farm feeding, where wrens and sparrows gather. Predators of bluebirds include snakes and raccoons; Place the birdhouse high enough off the ground to help protect the bluebird species. Generally, it's best to mount a bluebird house on a smooth, metal post in the ground (versus hanging it from a tree or nailing to a fence), as this can help prevent predator access into the bluebird house.
Hang the bluebird house during an appropriate time of year. A bluebird house should be mounted in time for the species to adjust to its new home and attract a mate. According to the North American Bluebird Society, this species nests when the weather turns warm, generally at the end of March or early April. Hanging a bluebird house in February is a good rule of thumb.
Additionally, consider how high to hang a bluebird house. Verify that the box is mounted on a post or pole 5 to 15 feet off the ground. While hanging a bluebird box from a tree may succeed in attracting a bluebird, tree environments can also encourage predators and competing bird species. Therefore, consider mounting a bluebird box on a post located in a more open area. Do not hang a bluebird house too close to a busy road, as stirring dust and high speeds can negatively affect insect populations (and therefore reduce potential bluebird food opportunities). Additionally, consider the weather when hanging a bluebird house. Protect the bluebird from harsh winds by facing the house to the east when mounting.