Tag Archives: Eastern Bluebird nesting box

Who’s In the Nest Boxes This Year (2017)?

Last year at our cabin in Door County, WI, I put up two nestboxes and had chickadees nest in both of them (Who’s In My Nestboxes). I was hoping for bluebirds, but chickadees certainly are a welcome second choice.

I was excited to find out who might use the nests this year, especially since I added another box and moved one to a new spot. First the chickadees came back and posed for some awesome photos! The babies weren’t quite as photogenic as last year, but still so cute.

Then came the house wrens in the new stone birdhouse from my mom.

House wrens make messy nests of twigs and other large items that seem almost impossible for those tiny birds to move. The nest cup itself is a small depression in the twigs and is lined with soft material like feathers, grasses and plant materials.

Another pair of house wrens quickly nested in the new bluebird house we put up. In this nest, I was especially fascinated by the q-tip as nest material.

But most unexpectedly, in the nestbox we moved to the edge of the woods a bluebird moved in! Bluebirds make deep, delicate nests of grass or pine needles. The eggs are pretty powder blue color.

To help out the nesting pair, I put out a mealworm feeder nearby.  Two thirds of a bluebird’s diet is made up of insects and the rest being fruit. Bluebirds don’t tend to eat birdseed and they may occasionally eat suet, but they love mealworms.

There is some debate as to whether they’ll eat the dried ones like I bought, or prefer live ones. I find all of them a little gross, so I thought I’d start with the dried ones. I’m not there all the time to feed them, so it’s been hard to tell who’s eating it. I did have to get a rain cover for the feeder to keep it from being a mushy mess, but I had plenty laying around so not a problem.

Who else is around? I have a robin condominium 🙂

Here at home I had a house wren start a nest in a backyard nestbox.  Not sure why it was abandoned, but may have been that my sprinkler was accidentally blasting it. Fixed that problem, but it may have been too late. Or, it was just a “dummy nest” that house wrens often build to claim their territory.

Have you had any birds nesting at your place this year? I hear a lot of young fledglings calling for their moms these days!

 

 

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Woodlink Wooden Bluebird House – Model BB1


New From: $25.37 USD In Stock

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: