Today’s birdhouses have come a long way, but one thing you should know is that the most functional ones are the ones that don’t have a perch.
The length of a perch on a birdhouse is unimportant, as perches shouldn’t be attached at all. Since birds don’t need a perch, removing them prevents predators and unwanted birds from entering the box and killing the birds inside.
I’ll just come out and say it: if the birdhouse you’re looking at purchasing or already own has a perch connected, it’s a defective box with bad design.
A perch, no matter how short, can serve as a footing for predators who want to injure or kill the people within the box by giving them a place to stand while they do so.
The length of the perch is irrelevant, as it shouldn’t be fastened to the birdhouse in any way.
You can’t help but feel like blaming the company responsible for making the birdhouse for including a perch that serves no useful use and can lead to a whole host of other problems.
Any perch that may have been installed in a birdhouse should be eliminated without delay.
Even if you know for sure there are no ground predators in your yard, you still shouldn’t install a perch there since predatory birds will eventually figure out they can go inside the box to get a meal.
For safety’s sake, I advise sawing off the top of any dowel or thick plank of wood that has a rounded perch on it, no matter how long it is, so that predators don’t have a place to perch.
The most popular sort of perch is a dowel-style, rounded wooden perch, whereas the wide platform that serves as a perch on other birdhouse designs is usually not removable.
Then, I’ll get rid of the elaborate birdhouse that’s really just a perch in disguise and put up a simple one with a hole for birds to enter but no perch or other hiding places for predators.
Perch length must be zero
If you want to know how long a perch on a birdhouse should be, the answer is obviously not very long at all.
You have to realize that perches in birdhouses are unnecessary and, in fact, can be rather annoying. Moreover, a bird of any species can enter a box without the use of a perch.
A birdhouse perch can be installed, but only if the surrounding area doesn’t attract pest birds or predators looking to harm the inhabitants.
Since a birdhouse does not require a perch, the length of the perch attached to the birdhouse is arbitrary.
This is in contrast to huge birdhouses designed for birds of prey, which require a long pole or platform to accommodate the birds who utilize any perch as a place to watch out for prey, typically at night by peering at the ground.
Bluebirds and other common backyard birds don’t need a perch because they don’t use it.
Only birds with malicious intentions, or any natural predators, will profit from a perch of any length, as they will be able to utilize it as a stepping stone through the opening in the roof.
Cut perch off birdhouse
If your birdhouse has a perch attached to it, you can easily remove it by cutting it off.
You can rest easy knowing that removing the perch from your birdhouse will make the shelter safer for the birds that move in this spring. Actually, this will also provide more security for any birds that could fly in during the winter to roost.
You should cut the perch off as closely as you can to the birdhouse itself using a saw, leaving a stub that can be chiseled down or sanded down to make it seem better.
This stub should be lopped off completely if you live in an area where squirrels, snakes, or other predators are common.
The remnants of a perch on the box won’t cause any problems if the surrounding area is safe for wild birds to nest in your birdhouse.
A perch is typically a long or short rounded wooden dowel, but it can be a wide flat platform or anything else that mimics a footing.
Wren-specific birdhouses may have an unusual perch pattern, so if your box has one, you’re out of luck. If the box is located in a dangerous area, it should be removed immediately, otherwise it should be left in place and closely monitored.
Stub can remain in place
An connected perch to a store-bought birdhouse may be as short as an inch, but that still leaves you with plenty of length to trim down.
It is possible to remove the perch by sawing it off with a tenon saw or a kitchen knife, but you will always be left with a stub.
You’ll need to come up with a plan to get rid of this stub, which is located right below the entrance hole, when it comes time to cut the perch off and leave a smooth surface. This can be accomplished with a chisel and some sandpaper for finishing.
Therefore, if the remaining short perch stub is aesthetically nice, it may be OK to leave it in place.
If the stub leads you back to a dangerous area teeming with predators and nuisance birds, you’ll need to remove it entirely; if, on the other hand, it doesn’t lead back to any territory where wildlife is likely to pose no threat to your nesting birds, you can leave it where it is.
Birds may easily perch on any vertical surface, although those constructed of wood are preferable because of the birds’ natural tendency to do so.
Long perch encourages others
Long perches on a birdhouse can be inviting to predatory birds and other unwelcome visitors, who may cause harm to the nest’s inhabitants or their offspring.
You should keep an eye on the birds in the box to ensure they are safe, as even sealing it off might not prevent predators from entering and harming or killing the occupants.
Local cats have been observed sitting on the birdhouse perch, trying to pry open the entrance hole with their paws. However, thanks to the addition of a much longer perch, these cats now have a better chance of success.
Cats may or may not be able to do any damage to the birdhouse, depending on the depth of the birdhouse and the size of the entry hole. Cats will cause distress to the nesting birds, which may cause the parents to abandon the nest and their young.
It can be helpful to frighten away any intruders in the area, as pets, other birds, and ground predators are sometimes to blame for driving away residents.
Many of these animals benefit from shorter perches, while a too-long perch in a birdhouse can attract them and other, larger animals.
A perch placed on a birdhouse to aid nesting birds is never a good idea, as it provides easy access for predators like cats.
For this reason, the question of how long a perch should be on a birdhouse is moot. Perches should never be included in the design of a birdhouse.
To prevent predators from using the perch as a footing or a place to reach inside the birdhouse through the entry hole, it is advisable to cut it off with a saw until it is smooth.
Squirrels, which would discover the roof is movable, might reason that the perch would make an excellent foothold.
As soon as the perch has been removed, the wooden dowel perch can be sanded or chiseled back until it is flush with the front of the birdhouse.
If you are confident that there will be no problems with pest birds or ground predators, you may leave the perch stub or even the entire perch on a birdhouse. For the time being, you can conduct safety checks on the residents.
A typical wooden dowel perch on a birdhouse is approximately an inch long, which can be annoying for whoever is in charge of cleaning the box because it presents a snag risk and is susceptible to breaking.
If it can’t perch, it’s a plus because it’ll be more useful to the residents and easier to clean and maintain.