Where you choose to place the box is as important as how the box is designed. Bluebirds are birds of open areas. They rarely nest in wooded areas, but will nest in clearings. Open areas with scattered trees are best. Open fields are suitable if there are posts or wires for perching. Look for any area where the vegetation is kept short by mowing, or grazing such as parks, campgrounds, pastures, large lawns, cemeteries, golf courses and abandoned orchards.
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Generally bluebirds nest only in rural areas and the very outer edges of suburban developments. Proper placement of your nesting box boxes can encourage bluebirds and discourage other competing birds and predators. The boxes should be mounted 4 to 5 feet from the ground. It is recommended that they be placed yards apart because bluebirds establish a territory during the nesting season and a nesting pair will not allow other bluebirds to enter their territory.
To maximize your chances of attracting bluebirds amidst competition from swallows we recommend placing two boxes feet apart. Swallows will exclude another pair of swallows from nesting this close. Swallows only defend their nest site itself.
This leaves the adjacent box open to bluebirds. House Wrens like more bushy areas. To avoid competition with the house wren place the bluebird nestbox in more open areas at least 50 feet or more away from brush and woods. Face the box towards a tree, shrub or pole so the young can fly toward it. Your nesting box should be put up and ready for use by the end of March if possible. If they are put up later than this time, they still should be attractive to bluebirds who are raising their second or third broods.
Be patient, it may take several seasons for bluebirds to find your box! Nip off corners of base for drainage. For those who can secure the construction materials and have the tools to work with, it is an enjoyable project to build nesting boxes. For others, it is more practical to purchase the nesting boxes. Bluebirds have to deal with many predators. Several mammals, reptiles and even insects prey on adults, young and eggs of bluebirds.
These animals include raccoons, red squirrels, domestic cats, and a parasitic insect called the blowfly. House English sparrows and starlings are vicious competitors.
House Sparrows and Starlings. Competition between the bluebird and the starling and house sparrow for those few nesting places that remain has been a major factor leading to the decline of bluebirds. These two species, both brought here from Europe, are very aggressive and often force bluebirds always from nesting sites.
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Starlings, although larger than bluebirds, also compete for nesting cavities and food. During the winter, large flocks of starlings can strip plants of their berries leaving nothing for other birds. Competition for nesting sites between bluebirds and starlings can be controlled by making entry holes exactly 1 inches in diameter. Unlike the natural cavities, which often have slightly larger openings, the starling cannot enter a box of this size. This opening still will leave bluebirds vulnerable to starling predation if the entry hole is less than six inches from the floor.
When a house sparrow wants a cavity occupied by bluebirds, it will attempt to drive the native species away. Frequently house sparrows will puncture and remove bluebird eggs, or kill the nestlings or brooding adults by pecking their heads. Placing nesting boxes away from human habitation, especially barns, will reduce the chance of having this species usurp nesting boxes. Also, keep the nest box low feet. Sparrows prefer to nest at a higher site. These precautions are only somewhat successful. Starlings and house sparrows, unlike all native birds, are not protected by federal law.
It is recommended that all house sparrow nests be removed from bluebird nesting boxes as soon as nesting is initiated. Repeated removal of nesting materials may discourage house sparrow use, leaving the box available for native species. This is not legal to do with any native birds such as tree swallows or house wrens while they are actively nesting.
Nest removal may help in some instances, but the most efficient means of controlling sparrows is to trap them. Sparrow traps have been designed for use both within nesting boxes and on the ground. Trapping sparrows throughout the year can lead to great increases in bluebird productivity and distribution Mail for sparrow trap information Removal of sparrows from a n area is the most effective means of increasing bluebird numbers. And finally, any bluebird box when house sparrows are allowed to successfully produce young is worse for the bluebirds than no box at all.
Blowfly Larvae. Blowfly larvae parasitism has been severe in recent years. We have found many nests where blowflies have contributed to the death of nestling bluebirds or swallows. The first booking worked great. However after this one was done, my most important booking to the AirPort was suddenly gone.
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New York State Bird - Eastern Bluebird
Up to six family members will be able to use this app with Family Sharing enabled. This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices. Description Announcing the new My Blue Bird! New Menu Info and Promo 2. Bug Fixes. Size Diet Mostly insects and berries. Nesting Sometimes interbreeds with Eastern Bluebird where their ranges overlap.
Climate threats facing the Mountain Bluebird Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. More News. Explore Similar Birds.
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Explore the Network. Spread the word. Nests in many remote areas, where it is less affected than the other bluebirds by competition for nest sites with Starlings and other invaders. Numbers are apparently stable. Open country with some trees; in winter, also treeless terrain. Often in more open areas than other bluebirds.
Breeding habitats not always in mountains; found in lowland prairies and sagebrush flats as well as alpine zones above treeline. In winter, most common in pinyon-juniper woods but also in open grassland, desert, farmland, even barren plowed fields.