10 Birds That Nest In Houses. (Explained)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Bird nests are structures built by different bird species to lay their eggs and raise their young.

Nesting is quite important for reproduction and continuity of the species. Birds love to make their nests where they feel comfortable and safe.

Some birds choose to nest close to humans as they enjoy the warmth and shelter from predators.

This article looks at a few birds that engage in this activity and how they go about it. 

1. House sparrow

Birds That Nest In Houses

House sparrows as the name implies is a species of sparrows that lives and interacts closely with humans.

They can be easily found in buildings, barns, suburbs and farms. 

House sparrows are known to make their nests in holes of houses and even other fixtures such as traffic and streetlights and signboards.

House sparrows also nest in trees but this happens less often as they prefer buildings.

They build their nests with dried vegetation, they push it down the hold until it’s almost full.

The bird then lines the nests with feathers, paper and strings. House sparrows are nest faithful and most often reuse their nests. 

They have a clutch size of 1-8 eggs at once and spend about 14 days for incubation

2. Chimney Swifts

Chimney swifts is a bird from the Swift family of Apopidae. The chimney swift like members of its species cannot perch but will only cling to available surfaces.

As a result of this they spend the majority of their lifetime on the wing, flying.

Chimney swifts build their nests and roost inside the chimneys of houses. They can also have nests in hollow trees or barn silos.

The pair of swifts build their nest by gluing sticks together with their saliva to make a cup shape and this is attached directly inside the chimney wall/.

Females have a typical clutch size of 4-5 white eggs and the eggs hatch about 20 days after the first egg is laid.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on birds that soar high in the sky

3. Barn Swallows

Barn swallows are one of the most common swallow species the world over.

They are easily recognizable with their red and blue feather patterns and forked tails.

Of course, the fact that they love to nest in and around buildings makes them more endearing to humans.

Barn swallows make their nests in chimneys, eaves of buildings and even under bridges.

They build their nests with mud with dried grass and feathers which is then cemented together with mud to form a cup shape.

Barn swallows return to their nests yearly to reuse it.

Due to the decline in barn swallow population, people are advised to place nest boxes near their homes to encourage the little birds.

4. Pigeons

Feral pigeons are another species of birds who love to live near humans and tend to enjoy a lot of comforts from us.

Pigeons are always seen in the parks getting food from passersby as they go about.

They also go a step further to build their nests in houses and on ledges and eaves. They also construct their nests inside old attics and vents.

They build their nests with twigs and straws which they make into a bird to lay the eggs.

Pigeons find warmth and food near humans, however this can cause various problems for homeowners.

5. House Finches

House Finches are common birds that inhabit human-made habitats such as buildings, lawns, tiny conifers, and urban areas. 

They can also be found in rural settings around barns and stables.

In addition, these birds inhabit a variety of natural environments throughout their native range in the Western United States, including arid desert, desert grassland, chaparral, oak savannah, streamside, and open coniferous woods at elevations below 6,000 feet.

A wide range of deciduous and coniferous trees, as well as cacti and rock ledges, are used by House Finches to build their nests in the wild.

Additionally, they nest in or on structures such as vents, ledges, street lamps, and ivy-covered pots. Sometimes they also use the nest of other birds.

6. Starlings

The starling is a common bird. They will nest and roost in a variety of locales and eat a wide range of foods.

Starlings build their nests in small, dark openings in the ground that resemble tree holes in the natural world

It is not uncommon for starlings to make nests in commercial locations such as warehouses, distribution centers, and shopping centers. 

If you live in a residential area, starlings will nest in birdhouses or openings in your house, such as vents, openings under roof overhangs, chimneys, or holes in gutters.

Starlings should be discouraged from making their nests near food operations as they harbor which can infect the food. 

Also check out this article on birds that build hanging nests

7. Barn Owls

Barn owls are usually found in barn lofts, church steeples, haystacks and tree cavities. Barn owls are nocturnal in nature i.e they are active at nights.

Most often they do not create a nest but dig burrows within the walls and lay their eggs.

Incubation usually goes on for about 35 days and the fledglings can take their first flight in about 55 days.

It is not difficult to know when a barn owl is nesting in your barn or building as it has a loud shriek which gives it away. 

8. European Robin

Nesting sites for robins include house ledges, wall cavities, and hedgerows.

The female is more likely to construct it out of moss and leaves and then line it with hair and fine roots after she’s finished.

Because they don’t utilize the same nest repeatedly, robins won’t build new nests in the same place if they’ve already used it once.

Similarly, robins in the United Kingdom construct their nests in walls and atop structures.

A common misconception about them is that they can nest just about anywhere. Still, they actually prefer to nest near the ground.

In addition, they may build their nests in woodlands with a lot of vegetation and scrub as well as hedgerows and municipal parks. 

9. Woodpecker

Woodpeckers are notoriously famous for their pecking habits which can be a nuisance most times. 

Woodpeckers most often make their nests and shelters in the cavities of trees and the pecking activity is often done to either attract a mate, create a nest or storing food. 

Woodpeckers make nests out of buildings constructed with wood.

Many homeowners that reported repeated pecking on their houses by woodpeckers woke up to find nests or acorns stored in dug holes.

Pecking activities should be discouraged on houses as this cold lead to a gradual collapse of the structures especially if several woodpeckers decide to make a home around the house. 

10. Cliff Swallows 

Cliff swallows predominantly make their nests on cliffs when they live in the Arctic regions on the edge of the world.

When they are in an urban environment however, they prefer to build their nests close to humans.

Cliff swallows will build their nests on the eaves and ledges of occupied buildings.

Their nests are made with mud pellets. Both pairs of swallows carry mud pellets to the nest site and stack them together till they have a cup shaped nest with a small opening.

The tiny opening is an adapted behavior from the wild which ensures that predators do not get to the eggs. 

Cliff swallows nesting in buildings is a source of concern for many homeowners as they harbor parasites which can move into homes and start a chain of infections.


These birds are special as they have chosen to build their nests in or around human structures.

This can sometimes cause conflicts between the human homeowners and birds however as the nests can harbor infectious organisms. 

In all, humans are encouraged to provide nest boxes for these species so they can continue to build their nests near humans.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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