How Far Apart Should Bluebird Houses Be?

By Liz Fremont

Bluebirds are territorial, so proper spacing between their houses is necessary.

bluebird image by Dwight Davis from

Evenly Spacing Bluebird Houses

Several factors determine how close bluebirds nest to each other, such as habitat suitability.

bird box and pasture image by TMLP from

The North American Bluebird Society's general guideline for the distance between western bluebird houses is about 150 yards, 125 to 150 yards for eastern bluebirds, and 200 to 300 yards for mountain bluebirds. You can try putting the houses closer together if there is something between them that would prevent the birds from seeing each other, such as a building.

Pairing Bluebird Houses

Tree swallows will chase bluebirds away if only one birdhouse is available.

Male Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) on a stump image by Steve Byland from

To prevent competition for bluebird houses, the houses can be paired. To do this, place two houses 5 to 25 feet apart from each other. The bluebird society's spacing guidelines could then be used to determine the distance between that pair and the next. This allows a different species to occupy one of the paired houses while a bluebird claims the other.

Bottom Line

Two species of birds usually don't mind nesting close to one another.

Female Tree Swallow (tachycineta bicolor) in a birdhouse image by Steve Byland from

Although bluebird houses can be spaced an equal distance apart, the better option is to set up your bluebird houses in pairs. Placing two houses close to each other gives bluebirds a good chance of claiming a house and raising a brood without another species taking it first or even puncturing the bluebirds' eggs and demolishing their nest.