When attracting Bluebirds what does it take to bring these birds to nest and raise young near your home and garden? First, a basic understanding of the bluebirds nesting and feeding habitat are required.
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. Include neighboring properties in your evaluation of the layout.
A Bluebird may have 2 acre or more size territory to forage in and protect from other Bluebirds.
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.
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.
Nest boxes should be placed in the most open area you have available that may have a small tree 12 feet away. This tree will give the birds an observation post.
Keep the house away from heavily wooded areas. Wooded areas will attract House Wrens which compete for bird houses and will pierce eggs of other birds.
Tree Swallows are attracted to the same habitat types as Bluebirds. If you have Tree Swallows competing for the housing consider adding addtional housing.
Destroying House Sparrows and their nest is the only way to protect the Bluebirds and give them the best chance at nesting.
You need to be able to identify House Sparrows so that you don't cause harm to Wrens or Tree Swallows, as Wrens and Tree Swallows are protected species.
Bluebird houses should be a minimum of 100 yards apart if trying to attract more than one nesting pair. They'll chase any others away otherwise. Bluebirds will tolerate Tree Swallows without problem.
Try to face the nest box away from prevailing winds while keeping the entrance hole pointed toward open land if possible.
Bluebirds water requirements are met if food sources are available. Insects and fruit provide most of their water needs but 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 a birdhouse, some fruiting trees and shrubs plus add water, attracting bluebirds to your yard should be on your list this spring.
Bluebird Post Feeder
Eastern Bluebird house