What does it take when it comes to attracting bluebirds to your home and garden? First, a basic understanding of the bluebirds nesting and feeding habitat.
Second, the steps you can take that will provide exactly what bluebirds need to thrive in your backyard bird house.
Eastern Bluebirds live, nest, and feed in open areas. Places such as meadows, cemeteries, golf courses, and large suburban lots with open grassy areas will draw the interest of these birds.
As insect eaters, the use of insecticides needs to be discouraged.
Not only will it diminish the number of insects, thus the number of bluebirds attracted, but it can also poison the birds themselves and the young at the nest.
Some of the preferred insects and other invertebrates bluebirds eat are: grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, beetles, earthworms, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, sow bugs, and snails.
The ideal habitat will include open grassy areas with some clumps of trees and shrubs scattered about.
Trees and shrubs that work well at attracting bluebirds are: dogwood, hawthorn, wild grape, sumac seeds, hackberry seeds, blackberries, bayberries, honeysuckle, red cedar, pokeberries, and Virginia creeper.
Add a few of these varieties to your existing landscape to provide year-around food sources.
If food is available during the winter, your bluebirds may stay all year.
Nest boxes - Birdhouses
Providing birdhouses and monitoring them closely is the one thing you can do to not only attract these birds to your yard, but you'll also be ensuring the health and multiplication of this species.
If possible place your nest boxes on a pole about 5 feet above ground. It's a good idea to use a baffle on the post below the birdhouse. These prevent predators such as snakes, raccoons, and opossums from entering the birdhouse and destroying the eggs and/or young.
A simple design you can build yourself can be found here Cone Predator Guard. If time is lacking ready made guards are available here: baffles.
Where to Place Your Birdhouse
Nest boxes should be placed in the open away from wooded areas that attract house wrens and tree swallows. Both of these birds are more aggressive at claiming nesting territories than the bluebird.
House wrens in particular, will pierce or drop the eggs out of the bluebird nest.
Destroying House Sparrow nest is most important. You must be sure to identify that it is indeed a House Sparrow and not Wrens or Tree Swallows, as Wrens and Tree Swallows are protected species.
Bluebird houses should be a minimum of 100 yards apart. These birds are territorial and will not allow others of the same species to nest any closer than 100 yards.
Try to face the nest box away from prevailing winds while keeping the entrance hole pointed toward open land if possible.
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Bluebirds water requirements are met if food sources are available. Insects and fruit provide enough water for these birds to survive.
A shallow birdbath may bring them closer, and watching the young use it can be a lot of fun.
If bluebirds are in your state and you provide birdhouses, some fruiting trees and shrubs, attracting bluebirds to your yard should be on your list this spring.