Nesting birds are often very territorial.  As such, when one pair spots another pair of the same species trying to nest too close to their nesting site, conflicts emerge.  With that in mind, one of the reasons why birds do not use birdhouse in some yards is boxes are placed too close together.  When nesting boxes are packed in too closely, some birds of the same species will fight with one another and sometimes end up not nesting at all.


       With this in mind, here is a list of some of the birds that commonly nest in Georgia backyards and the recommended spacing between boxes designed avoid territorial battles.

Eastern Bluebird – Minimum of 100 yards.

Carolina Chickadee – 30 feet

Tree Swallow – 35 feet

Tufted Titmouse – 580 feet

Carolina Wren – 330 feet

House Wren – 100 feet

Great Crested Flycatcher – 1 box per 6 acres

Brown-headed Nuthatch – 1 box per 6 acres

       Keep in mind that some species tolerate birds of another species nesting close to their nest.  For example, eastern bluebirds will allow Carolina chickadees to nest well within 100 yards of their nests.  In this case, if a Carolina chickadee nest box  is equipped with an entrance hole measuring 1 1/6th of an inch in diameter, bluebirds would never try to nest in a birdhouse with an entrance hole that small. 


    • Sharon,

      Thanks for the question concerning whole sizes. I sent you a reply the other day and later found it didn’t go through so I’m trying again. It was such a good question I realized others may have the same question. Concomitantly, I wrote a follow up blog concerning hole size.

      Thanks again!


    • Charles,

      There are several ways that these distances are determined, however, I will just mention a couple. These distances are based on each individual bird’s tolerance to nest near by. This varies with species and also habitat. One of the first ways it was determined was stricktly by observation. Observers would measure the distances they actually observed the birds defending. Once an interloper cross the invisible boundary being defended its intrusion was met with some sort of confrontation.

      It can also be determined via modern radio tracking devices. Transmitters are now so small they can be carried by very small birds. Researchers map the spots that breeding birds use the announce to others of their species that this turf is occupied.

      One thing I have noted with some birds (e.g. waterfowl), nesting birds become a little more tolerant of one another. When this happens they will nest closser to one another than they would under normal situations.

      I hope this helps.

  1. I have repeatedly read that chickadee NESTING boxes must be 650 feet apart. What about chickadee ROOSTING boxes?

    • Carol of Montana,

      Thanks for your post. I am not familiar with the species of hummingbird found in your neck of the woods. I was surprised to learn the recommendation for the placement of nesting boxes is so different than for our Carolina chickadee. As for roosting boxes, folks often leave nesting boxes up to serve as chickadee roost boxes. In fact, some nights several Carolinas will roost in the same box. As for the the most commonly quoted distance recommended is 30 feet.

      I hope this information answers your questions.


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