What You Need to Know
Now that you’ve built your new birdhouse or feeder, many people will want to either paint or stain the wood. You do not need to do so since the wood will grey and weather naturally and last several years.
If you decided to stain or paint the feeder or house, make sure the paint or stain does not contain creosote or lead. Creosote is used to preserve wood and is toxic to birds as is lead in many paints. And of course the wood used in building the feeder or house should not be pressure-treated wood either.
Do not put any stain or paint on the inside of the houses, nor on or around the entrance hole on the outside. All paints and stains do contain chemicals, even if they are not creosote or lead. By avoiding these areas, you ensure the house is safer for your feathered friends.
Also brightly colored feeders and birdhouses are pleasing to the human eye and may decorate your garden; you should not paint feeders and houses bright colors nor use high gloss paint or finishes. Mother Nature created female birds a duller color than their male mates to avoid drawing attention to nesting areas. Thus, you should also not draw undue attention to nesting areas. Some people also feel that brightly colored feeders are not used as much as duller or plainer feeders. Since your goal in putting out feeders or houses is to attract more birds, it makes sense to use colors that blend into your landscape.
Dark colours absorb and retain heat. Nesting boxes should never be painted a dark colour.
Roosting boxes, used during the winter for birds in inclement weather, can be painted dark. But make sure any dark-coloured roosting boxes are taken down before spring.