Putting Up Eastern Bluebird Nest Boxes

I’ve always wanted to attract bluebirds with bluebird houses, but my backyard is not the right habitat.  I’m pretty sure any bluebird nest box I put up would only be filled by house sparrows 🙁  But, our cabin in Wisconsin has a long driveway that seems like the right kind of habitat.  I was inspired to put up the nest boxes after watching a fascinating local PBS show about the Bluebird Restoration of Wisconsin project (BRAW).  It was one of those interesting shows you stumble on when don’t have cable.

In Wisconsin, by the 1980’s Eastern Bluebirds had declined by almost 90% because of changes in farming, competition from House Sparrows and European Starlings, severe weather in its central and southern winter range, and the loss of nest sites, making them a pretty rare sighting for a long time.  But, through the hard work of BRAW, bluebirds have become a common Wisconsin sighting and now they are worried birders will become complacent and won’t continue to provide nesting habitat for them.

Following BRAW’s instructions on what a Bluebird nest box should look like, I purchased two Woodlink NABS style bluebird nest boxes and settled using a 6 ft section of electrical conduit as the pole.

Eastern Bluebird House

Bluebird houses should have a round opening of 1 1/2 to 1 9/16 in, have a base of 4-5 inches square, and a hole to base height of 4 1/2-6 in. Either the front or top should open to allow for checking and cleaning and the nest boxes should be placed 100-150 yards apart.  These dimensions are optimized to help prevent predators from nesting in the boxes or killing the eggs or nestlings. More detailed information can be found on the BRAWS website or NABS website.

Setting up the Nest Boxes:

First, we loosely attached 2 conduit straps.

Eastern Bluebird Nest Box

Then we flattened one end of the conduit to make it easier to pound into the ground.

Eastern Bluebird Nest Box

We knew the conduit strap was too loose to just use to mount the nest box, so we improvised and thickened the mounting spots with some duct tape and a piece of wood shim.

Eastern Bluebird Nest Box

Eastern Bluebird Nest Box

Fasten down the screws tightly.

Eastern Bluebird Nest Box

And the nest box is attached!

Eastern Bluebird Nest Box

Ready for the birds to come.  I hope I’m not overly optimistic that they’ll nest here since I’m not sure the habitat is ideal, but at least I’m giving it a shot.  But, no nest box mean no nests for sure 🙂

Eastern Bluebird Nest Box

Daisy enjoyed the building trip and something in the bushes caught her eye.

Door County, WI

And I have to give credit to Steve for helping me put these up in the miserable spring weather we’ve had–that day was drizzling and 40°.  It was a bit of a trick to keep everything dry as we were working on it.

Eastern Bluebird Nest Box

Do you have any bluebirds nesting on your property?

More Eastern Bluebird resources:

 

6 responses to “Putting Up Eastern Bluebird Nest Boxes

  1. Great! Wonderful and informative

  2. After your endless effort, I hope the bluebirds find your nice boxes!!

    • It did take a great deal of thought and planning. Once we figured it all out, it was actually pretty easy. I hope I get some!

  3. I have several but the bluebirds are absent again or the swallows or sparrows take them….great post and good luck. I hope loads of bluebirds stop by to make a home.

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