New Year - New Bluebird Birdhouse January 13 2017
Face it, real estate's tough out there if you're feathered and in search of a new birdhouse!
Competition for nest space increases each year with invasive species (English house sparrows and European starlings) not to mention our own native birds like house wrens, tree swallows, crows, grackles and others. The destruction of habitat doesn't help the cause either. Natural nest cavities found in trees and snags are sadly and continually being cleared for development. Ants, wasps, bees and snakes... oh my! None are friends to the bluebird nest or babies.
Even though snow covers much of the US in January, some species like Eastern bluebirds will begin searching for territory and laying claim to the right birdhouse. The action starts early in order to procure the perfect digs, lure a mate and settle down for spring nesting season.
As early as February and regardless of weather, blues are out and about, on the hunt for the perfect bluebird birdhouse. Family units previously co-existing in harmony will most likely see the patriarch chasing offspring from feeders and/or houses - all bets are off!
It's the number of hours of daylight that signal the instinct. Just like the hummingbird southern migration, it's never really weather-related... but the diminishing hours of daylight telling them to prepare for the journey.
Now's the time to install a new blue bird house for spring. Just like having hummingbird feeders out prior to the sprites' arrival... bluebird scouts will be in action before you know it! If waiting until spring when the weather warms up sounds more appealing- you're new birdhouse may end up void of any bluebirds!
As always, habitat is key and placement of the birdhouse is important. Open area that's shaded or sunny with short grass and places to perch for hunting insects are preferred. Sunlight is okay but the nest box should be in shade during the afternoon when sun is hottest. The entry hole is best positioned away from prevailing winds. Fresh water is a must (shallow), and if you're so inclined... meal worms (dried or live) are their favorite food!
Experience parenthood again- we promise this go-round is a million times easier than your kids!
Although a little scary at first, you actually help bluebirds when you monitor their birdhouses. It basically entails watching/keeping track of eggs, and hatch dates, predators in the area, chick's growth and timing to fledge.
Checking nest boxes is easy of you use a bluebird house with side door for viewing, a Gilbertson Nest Box, or Peterson style box with front opening door. Always tap when approaching the house, avoid early morning and dusk nest checks, and steer clear a few days prior to fledge time as spooking the babies can cause premature fledging.
The website sialis.org has a wealth of information on hosting and monitoring bluebirds. The site answers ANY question and offers troubleshooting tips for all of the "why's and how's" and the reasoning behind most bluebird events.
Crafted of traditional wood, recycled plastic or vinyl/PVC... grab a new bluebird house, learn to monitor, and help bluebirds thrive!