Birdhouses are preferably erected well before the breeding season begins. This should be during late summer or early fall to give birds plenty of time to locate them. Time will allow the houses to be well-weathered by then. It may be a good idea to leave the birdhouses up year round so they can serve as roosting sites or shelter for migratory birds during winter. It can be taken down after the nesting season for cleaning and put back in place.

There are instances that birds will not begin nesting immediately as it takes time for birds to find a birdhouse. If it is impossible to set-up birdhouses by fall, they should be in place as early as possible in the winter. Bird watchers should not wait to see birds in their yards before mounting or hanging their nest boxes.

Location of the birdhouse is as important in attracting certain kinds of birds as the size of the box. Birds depending on the specie may prefer wooded to shady area or open grassy areas. However, dense shade is not recommended as most birds prefer a sunny open space. It is not advisable to mount birdhouses on the sides of trees as this can give squirrels and cats easy access to it.
The best way to erect small nest houses is to use free-standing metal poles or PVC pipes. This option offers various advantages such as being able to mount at a higher position. Most predators find it difficult to climb poles and poles can easily be equipped with predator guards. If there is no other option but to attach a box to a living tree, nails should not be used. A strand of galvanized wire slipped through the vent holes with a bungee cord attached to both ends is a better alternative. Again, other preventive measures should be taken as this location provides an easy route for predators to reach the box. All houses should be securely fastened to prevent swinging as birds do not appreciate moving houses.
Birdhouses should be from 5 to 30 feet above the ground and placed where it will be inaccessible to enemies. The sides of the houses and fence rails are also suitable sites depending on the species to be attracted. Regardless of where they are located, birdhouses should be placed at least 25 feet apart. There is such a thing as the concept of territory so proper distancing between birdhouses should be observed.
The major factor that will determine what specie will nest on a particular property is the habitat surrounding the box. The absence of the right habitat will make it unlikely for birds to find the birdhouse. The most perfect box is nothing without it. Houses should be mounted with the entrance hole facing slightly downward and away from prevailing winds to keep rain from entering the house.
The height of a birdhouse’s actual location is usually determined by the amount of convenience it allows the bird watcher to watch what goes on and keep the box clean. When the aim is to attract a variety of species to nest boxes while at the same time maintaining ample room; pairing of boxes should be done. This involves placing boxes in pairs on poles for bird species that can nest closely to one another. It offers the advantage of allowing more birds of varied species to peacefully coexist within the same habitat.
Golf courses, cultivated fields, gardens and yards are all potentially good habitats for nest boxes. However, areas where pesticides and herbicides are used should be avoided. They are harmful to birds and sometimes succeed in eliminating insect populations. This will not serve the best interest of the birds as insects are the primary food source of many cavity-nesting species.