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Bright blue bird box fixed to tree in natural environment

What colour to paint a bird box

No one colour to paint a bird box as it can depend on your garden decor, but as a rule of thumb the colour shade must match the environment its setup in.

What colour to paint a bird box would a match to the colour of its surroundings, so a bright green fence would see the bird box painted as so. Best still not to paint the bird box if you can help it as an unpainted bird is more effective, but a painted bird box can protect it from the elements, making it last longer.

Brightly coloured bird boxes can put at risk wild birds if they ever use it, but less so if this bright tone fits in with matching bright coloured garden decor.

Its recommended to not paint the bird box, as if left unpainted or untreated - it can be more appealing to potential nesters.

Painted bird boxes in a bright, decorative or have a more mismatched neutral tone can be OK in a rare setting, but can attract unwanted attention. Attention wild birds know it can bring so may decide not to use it at all.

People can make a fuss of what they believe to be a decorative bird box only, so may disturb the occupants - where the bright, standout tone can draw the eye of predators.

Paint the bird box in what ever colour you wish, but to make it less obvious by painting it in the colour of the garden decor where its intended to go, would be the best option.

Make it a non toxic paint with a couple of coats needed to hide the grain, but do paint the outside only as young birds may ingest the paint if painting the interior.

Not a colour that is obvious

What is a serious concern over painting a bird box that is to brighten up a garden is it can indeed attract unwanted attention.

The idea to site a bird box in the garden is so wild birds can nest in complete serenity, undisturbed by people, pets and predators.

Now think about it, a row of houses with matching exterior decor, but one house - a brightly coloured one in the middle... you can't say your eye won't be drawn to it.

That is exactly what happens when you place a brightly coloured bird box against a more natural surrounding, or vice-versa - a dark bird box against a brightly painted backing.

To site a bird box in the garden it must never stand out so much it will draw attention to it.

People who come to your garden may investigate without realising they are a problem, or it could be a painted red dot for predatory birds to see.

Paint the bird box a bright colour or more in keeping with a natural wooden tone, just as long the colour matches the decor of the garden.

Colour match to bird box placement

Now everyone seems to be painting there bird boxes a mix of more neutral colours to a more of a pastel undertone, the bird boxes placement area must match it.

Paint the garden decor in a matching green, including the fence, trellis or any garden furniture - to then paint the bird box in this theme would help to keep the box discreet.

Never paint the bird box in a matching colour to only then use an off-tone placement; for example a brown or dark painted or stained fence where the contrast between that and the bird box is always going to be noticed.

Weathered green bird box fixed to tree trunk
Green bird box fixed to tree trunk while not a recommended colour match, the painted green bird box is quite fitting to the moss on the tree.

And it would be obvious there's a bird box there to most, as the bird box entrance hole is unmistakable, as its left in its natural state.

Match colour theme of fence or post you intend to fix bird box to then by using leftover paint to finish the bird box in.

Bare in mind the fence or bird box could weather first, depending what was put up first, so a re-coat of both once a year could be needed.

Staining is a good solution

Remember, you don't always have to paint the bird box when a staining could be a better solution.

Where it makes sense to stain a bird box is if its sited near to stained outdoor decor, such as the decking railings or house window frame.

Its unlikely a stained bird box would match up to a painted backing its fixed to.

Staining a bird box is not finished in a way a painted bird box would be, as the ideal is to allow the grain of the wood to show through.

Painted bird boxes can show up grain, but painted in thicker paints or double or triple coats can completely remove any hint of wood grain.

Why that matters is, to be stained the timber of the bird box could show up more grain, so simply looks more appealing while blending in with its environment.

Paint outside box only

When painting a bird box you must only paint the outside of the bird box , as painted interior can be a risk to young birds.

Its imperative a non toxic exterior paint is used to paint bird boxes, but in doing so there's certainly no harm in still being cautious as you go.

As wild birds hatch they begin to bite on the interior of the bird box, so flakes of paint could be ingested which isn't good for such delicate chicks to shallow.

Its recommended by the RSPB to never paint the bird box interior.

Don’t paint inside the box or around the entrance hole as birds may peck at it and ingest chips of paint - RSPB

More so, wild bird parents like to alter the entrance hole to make it there own, so while not intentional, birds can ingest any flecks of paint in the process.

I would say though while you can certainly get away by not painted the bird box interior, that unpainted entrance hole is not going to look pleasing to the eye.

You can still paint the bird box entrance hole but in doing so you must guarantee us of non toxic paint.

Better still, you can cover the entrance hole with use of a bird box entrance hole plate that would stop birds chipping away at it in the first place.

Repeat process once it fades

When all is said and done, and your very happy with the results, unfortunately all this may have to be done again in a years time.

Longer if using a quality exterior paint, but paint will fade once open to the elements.

Timber quality can have its say so can speed up weathering, whereas paint can begin to lighter in colour, but show up the grain more.

Now you can just allow the bird box to weather naturally, as a more neutral tone can be more appealing to wild birds over a brightly coloured bird box - that is finished in standout shades.

Once its time then you can paint the bird box all over again.

Trouble with that is not being able to find the paint shade or forgotten what it was called in the first place - or its in fact now unavailable from the DIY store.

Its important then to always buy extra paint or use a big can, then make sure there's plenty leftover to paint the bird box, plus the garden decor all over again.

To conclude what colour to paint it

What you must do when painting a bird box in a colour of choice, is painting in a colour that matches the garden decor.

Now, I am not saying the bird box must be used as decoration only, but it must be painted in a way it cannot be seen so well. That advice is only relevant to those you wish to use more brighter tones.

However, in a more natural brown, untreated garden decor environment - the bird box would benefit by not being painted or treated at all, with the exception of preserve.

Bird boxes left as they are will then blend in with its surroundings, but more so if trees, bushes or hedgerows are near by.

You only need to worry about painting or staining the bird box exterior, as to do so inside can risk the chicks ingesting small amounts of paint.

Do save paint you decided to finish it in to repeat the process in a years time.

To not paint the bird box at all you needn't have to worry about this, with it being more inviting for wild birds to use.

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