The most fun of bird houses begins after they’re built. Taking time to observe the avian residents on your bird house can not only foster a spirit of joy and awe within you, but it can also be helpful to conservation efforts.

As you watch for your nest box inhabitant, be aware that any new box may not be used by birds immediately. It may take a while for birds to discover and begin to use the home you’ve put out for them, but don’t get discouraged! Providing bird food, a source of water, and native plants in the area near your nest boxes will also attract and support more birds. Keep your eyes out!

Of course, maintaining your  nest boxes—by fixing broken parts, cleaning them between broods, and making sure that competitive bird species like house sparrows and European starlings don’t invade them—will ensure that they will continue to shelter God’s birds for a long time.