Because bluebirds lack a strong bill to excavate a cavity for nesting, they depend on finding the used cavities of other birds or man-made houses. Bluebird populations had declined steadily over the years due to habitat loss. But, thanks to man-made houses, they are making a comeback. Our Wild Birds Unlimited bluebird boxes are designed with the birds in mind. They are designed for easy monitoring of the nest. The top can be lifted for viewing without disturbing the nestling and for easy photography.
(It is not recommended to open the box day 13 or after as this may cause fledglings to leave the nest too early.) The side is easily opened at the end of the nest season for cleaning. It important to clean out old nesting material that may harbor parasites.
Mounting Bluebird Boxes
Bluebird boxes need to be kept away from shrubs and tree lines (100 ft or more). Face the box away from prevailing winds (facing south) and mount boxes approximately 5 feet high.
Have boxes up by February (southern areas) and by March in northern areas.
Bluebirds have been known to roost during colder months in nesting boxes and can be attracted to roosting boxes.
If swallows compete for the nest site, place another box near the first (15 to 25 feet from the original house). Swallows will help keep other swallows away from both boxes. In areas where there are violet green swallows and tree swallows along with bluebirds, place three houses, one for each species. They seem to tolerate overlapping territories of other species, but not their own.
One important item to mention to customers is that sparrows and wrens may try to take over a bluebird nesting box. They may make it to the bluebird box first or they may try to force the bluebirds out. English House Sparrows are notorious for breaking bluebird eggs and even killing the hatchlings. If customers are warned that this could be a possibility, they may not be as disappointed if it does happen. The only way to help reduce this possibility is to make sure the house is mounted away from the edge of trees or away from human dwellings and to clean out sparrow nests regularly (sparrow nests are sloppy and frequently fill the box).
Bluebirds primarily eat insects when available and supplement this main diet of insects with various fruits and berries. Raisins, nut meats, sunflower chips and prepared food such as WBU Suet Snacks and meal worms are all readily eaten by bluebirds.
Bluebirds can be attracted to feeders. Providing an easy source of food allows bluebirds to spend their energy on nest building and caring for their young instead of foraging for food.
Bluebirds need to "learn" to eat from a bluebird feeder. Feeders should have a platform underneath the entrance hole so that food can be placed on the platform while the bluebird is learning to go inside the feeder to eat. Bluebird feeders were designed to make it harder for other species of birds to reach the food. Any bird that is the size or smaller than a bluebird could potentially fit into the feeder. Sometimes it takes putting food on a tray close to the bluebird feeder before the bluebirds catch on.
Intersting Facts about Bluebirds
- It takes two to five days for female to complete nest.
- Females build the nest alone. Males will carry nesting material during courtship.
- Nests are light and airy, consisting of fine grass or pine needles, hair and maybe a few feathers, with a small cup shape in the center.
- Possible parasites are blowfly larvae which can seriously weaken nestlings.
- Pesticides; (pyrethrins or rotenone or any others), are not recommended as bluebirds are thin skinned and sensitive to toxins. Diatomaceous Earth can be placed under the nest. This will cause the larvae to sustain cuts which help to dehydrate their bodies.
- Old material may be partially removed by bluebirds. It is best to clean out old nests for the birds.
- Bluebirds may come and go during several weeks before completing one nest.
- Studies are finding that the male from the first brood will come back to help feed the young (usually female) of the second brood.
- Swallows have been known to help bluebirds raise their young and then use the nest box once the bluebirds have fledged.