Attracting Bluebirds to nest in your birdhouse is easy for some and difficult for others. Just what does it take?
First, a basic understanding of the bluebird's nesting and feeding habitat is required.
Second, the steps you can take that will provide exactly what bluebirds need to thrive in your backyard birdhouse.
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. A habitat rich in insect life will go a long way in attracting these birds to your yard.
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 a few clumps of trees and shrubs scattered about.
If you have a small open yard, include neighboring properties in your evaluation of the layout.
A Bluebird may have a territory size of 2 acres or more to forage in and protect from other Bluebirds.
Trees and shrubs that work well at attracting bluebirds are dogwoods, hawthorns, wild grapes, 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-round food sources.
If food is available during the winter, your bluebirds may stay all year.
Providing birdhouses, and monitoring them closely to keep other birds out, is something you must do to attract Bluebirds.
If possible, place your nest boxes on a pole about 5 feet above the 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 birdhouses and will pierce the 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 additional 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. Both species are protected by law.
Bluebird houses should be a minimum of 100 yards apart if trying to multiple pairs.
They'll chase other Bluebirds away from their territory. Bluebirds will tolerate Tree Swallows without problems.
Try to face the nest box away from prevailing winds while keeping the entrance hole pointed toward open land if possible.
The Bluebird's water requirements are met if food sources are available. Insects and fruit provide most of their water needs.
But, as the summer heats up, a water source for bathing can bring them in and keep them healthy.
Some people don't realize the Eastern Bluebird is fairly common in winter. Some of our visitors have shared comments about this behavior here, bluebirds in winter.
When the weather is mild and winter fruit-bearing shrubs are available, they may stay through the winter, even in the North.
Offering suet and especially mealworms, which is a favorite food of Bluebirds, will help them survive those wintry days.
Providing water for bathing both in summer and a heated bath in winter will help draw more Bluebirds your way.
If you provide a birdhouse, some fruiting trees and shrubs, mealworms, and water. You'll soon have Bluebirds nesting in your yard.
Bluebird Post Feeder
Eastern Bluebird house