Painting Blue Bird Houses for temperature control

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  dogsandbirds 3 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #3158
    Dale
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    Has anyone ever painted a blue bird house white to keep it cool in the summer? Do the bluebirds mine the white color?

    Thanks
    Dale

    Dale

    #3160
    dlibby
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    my bluebird house is mostly white except the roof, My bluebirds love there house. I wish I new how to post a picture to this site and I would show you, But I can’t figure out how to.

    #3161
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Dale, don’t know where you are located, but there are some people who do paint the BB house white – however, I do believe the birds prefer natural wood color. Then, in the heat of the summer you can put on a heat shield to keep it cooler, and I personally believe this shield, when done properly, would keep it slightly cooler than a box painted white, but I’m not sure. My heat shields are made of Styrofoam with spacers between the box & the foam, which is absolutely necessary! There was someone on this site who did studies on the difference temps between a dark house & white one. When my cedar houses aged too dark (after about 4/5 years) I put them in a 5 gallon pail of bleach water (maybe 1/2 cup of bleach in the 5 gallon water) for about 15-20 minutes and they came out looking like new. Of course, I did this after nesting season and rinsed them out very well before putting back up.

    #3162
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Here is picture of my heat shield – notice the spacers between the shied & box, about 3/4″ at least needs to be. I put a shield on the top, south & west sides of box where the heat is most intense & I have no natural shade whatsoever on these boxes, and I believe my setup really needs this heat shield. Of course, the rig on the top is my sparrow spooker.

    #3163
    Dale
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    Thanks to everyone for the info it is very helpful.

    Dale

    Dale

    #3176
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    We had a man on here. Neal, that advocated painting boxes white to lower the temperature inside the box. He had statistics to back it up. I haven’t heard from him for awhile.

    Tammy

    #3189
    Dale
    Participant
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    Inside? That doesn’t make any sense. The paint is to reflect the heat from the sun. This is why I drive a white truck in Louisiana LOL.

    Dale

    #3190
    River
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    Tammy is correct – painting the box exterior white (or a very light color) will help keep the box interior cooler. Neal Yeager did extensive heat tests on light colored boxes versus dark, and also how heat shields can help, too. You can read his test results on his website: http://www.zbestvalue.com/birdsandnature.htm

    By the way Tammy, I talked with Neil and he told me his resident mockingbirds drove him and his Bluebirds insane, so he got somewhat discouraged last season (the reason he hasn’t posted recently). Maybe we’ll hear from him soon.

    Fred
    Waleska, GA
    NestboxBuilder

    #3193
    tamsea
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    Glad to know, Fred. Last Year I had my first mocker and he was such a bully. Finally he disappeared and I was thrilled that he was gone. This winter he’s back. I tried so hard to not let the mocker see me feeding my bluebirds mealworms but at some point he noticed and then would intimidate my bluebirds. Hopefully he’ll move on like last year. So I feel for Neil.

    Tammy

    #3272
    Perry R
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    Carol’s concept is an excellent one for a hot climate summer box. White surface facing the sun, insulation underneath, and an air gap between the insulation and the house. The white surface reflect away most of the sunlight, so the outer surface stays as cool as possible. The insulation keeps the heat from being transferred to inside surface. The air gap serves as an insulating layer and as a chimney to cool the inner layer of the insulation, removing whatever heat gets transferred to the inner surface. Putting one insulating block on the south side (assuming you live in the northern hemisphere) and on the top blocks sides with the strongest incoming sunlight. One on the west side might be a good addition, too, since there is strong solar heating in the evening on the west when the air temperature is the hottest. Probably your box entrance hole faces east to keep rain from blowing in, so insulating the mounting pole side should be easy.

    (I’ve been making a living on spacecraft thermal control and atmospheric physics for most of the last 35 years, so I feel confident in making that assessment.)

    I’ve heard lots of legends about birds not liking painted houses, but I have not seen it. If they will put up with Carol’s rig they aren’t going to mind a little latex paint. I wouldn’t paint the inside, but my box that is painted on the outside has been a favorite. The only boxes I’ve heard about that need to be colored on the inside hare bat houses. They like things to be black on the inside, so use a water based stain for them, but bird houses should be bare wood.

    #3276
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    Ok, Perry. Now we need to know more about what you’ve been doing for the last 35 years. :BowToYou:

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #3291
    Perry R
    Participant
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    For one

    https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/abi_full_disk_low_res_jan_15_2017.jpg

    I worked on the imager instrument that produced that picture.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by  Perry R.
    #3306
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    Whoa. That. Is. Amazing.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

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