Best house design for my property?

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  • #864

      Hi everyone,

      I’m new to the forum. Last year we purchased a 10 acre property and are in the process of making it more hospitable for purple martins, bluebirds, tree swallows, etc. I have trapped ~50 HOSP’s and 15 starlings since moving in, but still have a long way to go, especially with the starlings! There are ~8 outbuildings on my property so lots of nest sites for the pest birds unfortunately.

      I’ve read a lot of back and forth about the ideal floor size for a nest and the best house design. Do y’all recommend the 2 hole Mansion house or a smaller floor design like the Gilwood or Gilberston? Has anyone had success hanging bluebird nests from tree branches, and if I go down that route would the 2 hole Mansion house be the best option?


      The Original Bluebird Nut

        Hello, “Duck” and welcome to the forum.

        I don’t think many of us here have experience with the two-holed mansion houses. There are pros and cons to using a two-holed box, or of hanging a box in a tree, for that matter. What are the reasons that are pointing you in that direction? That might help us to refine our recommendations.

        Most of us use a standard NABS-approved box design with a single 1 1/2″ round hole, or the Peterson box. Some use a Gilbertson box, but those are getting really difficult to find.

        Are you looking to make your own box, or purchase one ready-made?

        Central NY
        TMB Studios


          Looking to purchase one ready made. Was more interested in the two hole as I hear that there are some concerns about the smaller floor plans, particularly if tree swallows were to inhabit a nest. Was interested in finding one that might be suitable to hang in a tree as that’s one less object for me to run into with my zero turn mower or tractor!

          • This reply was modified 7 years, 10 months ago by LonesomeDuck.

            Hi Duck,

            Linda Violett designed the 2-Hole Mansion for her native Western Bluebirds, so it’s a fairly large (and heavy) box with its 31.6 square inch floor. For Eastern Bluebirds (Linda affectionately calls them “pygmy bluebirds”) and other small cavity nesters like Tree Swallows, Chickadees, Nuthatches, etc., you can go smaller, from the 15 square inch Gilwood up to the more common 22 square inch boxes like the Xbox, NABS, etc.

            A common misconception is that the 2-Hole Mansion should be hung in a tree. It works just fine as a pole mount. Conversely, just about any box can be hung from a tree limb. I say “just” because lifting and retrieving a really heavy box with a painter’s pole extended to 14 feet is, to put it mildly, an athletic endeavor.

            I wrote a piece on hanging boxes that’s published on my website, This article was put together with the help of the three most knowledgeable hanging box experts out there, Linda Violett, Dick Purvis and Lee Pauser. It’s written from the perspective of a raw beginner, which I was at the time. This season, I have twenty boxes hanging from tree limbs all over the county. I’m well out of my rookie season with hanging boxes, but there’s a lot yet to learn.

            • This reply was modified 7 years, 10 months ago by River.

            Waleska, GA


              Hi Duck, and welcome.
              Fred makes boxes. His are really well-made. I know because I have a few! I also bought some online that were really poor quality. We have a private messaging system here. Message him for the details.



                I love Gilwoods. It has a decent sized floor and the bluebirds seem to love them. They seem to gravitate toward them.



                  Agreed. Fred’s boxes are wonderful. You can’t go wrong with one of his.

                  Atlanta, GA

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