Bluebirds Forever - A Nature Store for Bluebird Lovers! Featuring bluebird feeders, bluebird houses, gifts and free information on attracting bluebirds to your yard!

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CORRECT DIMENSIONS, PLACEMENT
AND MAINTENANCE OF BLUEBIRD HOUSES
....Compliments of Bluebirds Forever

Bluebirds can readily use our help for housing. Bluebirds cannot excavate their own houses, but rely on old woodpecker holes or rotting trees for their homes. A manmade house is a welcome sight to most bluebirds, however, they tend to be a little more picky than most birds about how their house is designed and where it is located. Follow our guidelines below for the best success with bluebirds.

A good bluebird box should have a floor size of 5" x 5", the box height should be between 8 to 12", the entrance hole should be about 6 to 10" above the floor and the diameter of the entrance hole should be 1 1/2". Be sure your boxes are made of durable wood like cedar, have ventilation holes in the top and drainage holes in the bottom. Another good feature is an easy open front to check on the progress of the nesting birds without disturbing them.

 
HOW TO MOUNT YOUR BLUEBIRD BOXES

Bluebird boxes can be mounted on poles, fence posts, utility poles or trees. Posts or poles are the best for providing protection from predators. You can purchase commercially available posts from your local hardware store or use existing fence posts or utility poles. If you use a fence post, be sure to mount the box where livestock can't get to it. When possible, face the boxes toward the next fence post so that the birds can look into the entrance hole from a perch. Mounting on trees is less desirable because of the threat of climbing predators like cats, raccoons, snakes and squirrels.

The bottom of the nest box should be at least 3 feet above ground. Ideally, it should be mounted 4 to 5 feet above ground. There is no single compass direction that the bluebirds prefer to have the box facing. Your main objective should be to deter climbing predators, but allow for easy monitoring. Face the boxes away from prevailing winds. In hot climates, face them to the north or east to avoid direct midday sun. The most important aspect of mounting is to face the box toward some tree or shrub within 100 feet. When the young leave the nest they will make an initial flight to safety.

WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO MOUNT BLUEBIRD BOXES?

Whatever you do, make sure you place your nest boxes in good bluebird habitat. Not even the best bluebird house will attract bluebirds if it is in the wrong place. Here's some guidelines to follow for good bluebird habitat:

  1. Bluebirds nest primarily in suburban and rural areas.
  2. During breeding, bluebirds hunt insects by scanning the ground from a perch, spotting an insect, then swooping down to the ground to get it. Scattered young trees or shrubs, fence posts and lower branches of a lone mature tree make good hunting perches.
  3. Sparse or low vegetation is also important since it enables the bluebirds to see and capture insects. Cut meadows, mowed lawns and grazed fields are good.
  4. Nest boxes should be at least 100 feet from brushy or wooded areas where wrens are likely to be and preferably at least 1/4 mile from farmyards or barns where sparrows live.
  5. Good areas for bluebird nest boxes include open fields, fence rows, orchards where no pesticides are used, cemeteries, large lawns, golf courses, public parks, along open highways that are kept mowed and pastures.
  6. Mountain bluebirds will nest in open conifer woodlands and in the cliffs or clay banks of river beds.
  7. Proper spacing of your nest boxes is important. Bluebirds are territorial when breeding and will claim territories of 2-3 acres. Research shows they will generally not nest closer than 100 yards from the next box.
  8. To keep sparrows out, pair boxes 5-15 feet apart. The sparrows will only nest in one, leaving the other open for the bluebirds.
  9. Providing nesting materials is a strong factor in attracting nesting bluebirds since collecting nesting materials can take 100ís of trips. Bluebirds like soft grasses and fragrant pine needles as nesting material. Provide these nesting materials in a specially designed container, an empty suet cage, or simply gather bunches of material and situate in the bark of a tree.

PROPER MAINTENANCE OF YOUR BLUEBIRD HOUSES

Please clean your bluebird houses after each brood has left. Remove and throw away any old nesting material and scrub with a 10% bleach solution. Old nesting material left on the ground could invite predators. Let dry completely before remounting. This will prevent parasites or diseases from spreading.

WHEN SHOULD I PUT UP MY BLUEBIRD HOUSES?

Anytime and as soon as possible! Bluebirds start looking for breeding nest boxes in February in the South and by mid March in the North. Bluebirds will use them well into August, producing 2-3 broods per year. Consider leaving your bluebird boxes up all year. When the mating season is over, birds will use the boxes as winter roosts.

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