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Bluebird Box Styles

bluebird box

There are many different designs of bluebird boxes and each one has its supporters. Almost any style will do but boxes that conform to the following guidelines are most likely to be successful.


Styles and sizes

Commercially produced boxes are available in a variety of designs and styles. Look for houses that have been approved by the North American Bluebird Society. If the nest box does not have NABS approval, then check for the following dimensions.


Entrance Hole:

Eastern Bluebird: 1 1/2 inch round holes, 1 3/8 x 2 1/4 inch vertical oval holes, or 1 1/8 inch horizontal slot entrances.

Western or Mountain Bluebird: 1 9/16 inch round opening.

Where ranges overlap, use a 1 9/16 inch round opening.

Floor Size:

Eastern Bluebird: 4″ x 4″ or 5″ x 5″ , or 4″ in diameter for circular boxes. Peterson style boxes may be slightly smaller.

Western or Mountain Bluebird: 5″ x 5″ or 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″


Additional considerations

  • A design with a 5 in. front overhang will discourage predators from accessing the nesting area from above.
  • Boxes should be watertight but have good ventilation.
  • Boxes should be easy to open and close to allow for easy checking of the nest and removal of old nesting material.

These are several of the more popular styles of bluebird boxes.

bluebird box

This box is similar in design to the standard NABS box, but includes an extension on the front of the hole to serve as a predator guard.


bluebird box
The slant-fronted “Peterson” style box has become popular in many areas. Some research suggests house sparrows seem to avoid the oval-shaped hole while starlings do not like the smaller internal nest size. 
pvc bluebird box
PVC bluebird houses are easy to build, just make sure your design allows easy access to the inside of the nest box. Some reports indicate that house sparrows are less found of PVC houses than they are of more traditional designs.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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