Attracting Bluebirds to watch their nesting and feeding habits can be done by placing birdhouses correctly, and monitoring them to prevent other species from using them.
By providing the right types of food and cover for them to raise their young, you'll make your backyard more inviting and have a greater chance of attracting these beautiful birds.
We provide the following information to help you understand the needs of bluebirds and how you can attract them to your backyard.
Once declining in population, these birds are finally making a comeback. It's interesting to note, these Eastern Bluebirds were once as common as the American Robin is today.
Numbers declined in part, from nest competition with House Sparrows and the European Starling, both introduced species. Loss of habitat is another factor.
Through the efforts of birding groups, public education, and your help, these birds will have a better chance at survival than they once had.
Eastern Bluebirds measure 6 1/2 inches from beak to tail tip. The male has bright blue upper parts, reddish breasts, and a white belly.
The female has a buffy throat and breast, a grayish-blue head and back with light blue wings, and a tail.
Bluebirds can be found in rural gardens, orchards, and suburban gardens near open farmland.
So when do Bluebirds lay eggs? The breeding season for these birds begins in April and will go through July, although a couple of weeks on either side is possible.
The fact that these birds are cavity nesters makes them ideal candidates for a birdhouse
If there was ever a bird in need of our help in providing nest boxes, it is the Eastern Bluebird.
The nest is made of grasses, plant stems, and pine needles, and lined with hair, feathers, and fine grasses.
The nest is placed in a birdhouse or abandoned woodpecker hole, usually 3-20 feet above the ground.
The female lays 1 egg each day until the clutch size reaches between 3-6 pale blue eggs.
The female will begin incubating the eggs when the last or next to the last egg is laid.
Before the completion of egg laying, the female will go out and feed each day. She has not abandoned the nest and eggs.
Incubation, some also refer to as the gestation period, will last between 13 - 16 days and the young will leave the nest within 15 to 20 days from hatching.
The male will often keep feeding the fledglings while the female begins a second nest.
After the young leave the nest, the male continues to teach them how to find food and protect themselves from predators.
These fledgling birds may stay together through fall and join other flocks later.
By early spring, they'll claim new territories and not nest where they were born.
If you plan on putting up a birdhouse, place it on a pole within 5 - 6 feet above the ground. This will allow access to monitor and correct any problems that might come up. An entrance hole should be 1 1/2 inches in size.
I can guarantee House Sparrows will be a problem and we should make every attempt to keep them out. Removing nests, trapping and all legal action should be taken.
The better you control House Sparrows, the better your chances will be of attracting and hosting these birds near you.
The quick answer regarding cleaning Bluebird houses is: it's up to you.
It's different depending on where you live. blowfly and mite infestations can be more of a problem in humid areas.
A good idea would be to check for blowfly and mite infestation before just throwing out the nest.
This should happen as soon as the first brood leaves and after any successive broods. The following steps are enough.
With gloves and a mask (for your protection) gently remove the nest and check for blowfly and mite infestation.
If none, let the breeze take care of feather dust and replace the nest for the second brood.
If the nest is heavily soiled or infested, it might be a good idea to remove the contents, place them in a bag, or burn them in your burn pile.
Some people recommend a cleaning solution of 10 percent bleach to water ratio to scrub the house.
That's up to you and recommended at the end of the season or before the birds' return. Rinse well if using bleach.
Sometimes Bluebirds build nests on top of the existing nests. This puts them closer to the entrance hole and at a greater risk of predation. The lower nest may need to be removed in this situation.
They may use nest boxes up to 4 times per season.
For winter roosting, you can add a layer of straw for insulation to help the birds survive wintry nights. Sometimes the birds will add additional material in winter.
When it comes to feeding, what Bluebirds eat is a large number of insects. Eighty percent of their diet comes from insects during spring and summer.
The Bluebird's winter diet consists of foods such as wild berries and fruits from small trees and shrubs.
You may want to try placing dried fruit and chopped peanut kernels on a platform-type feeder.
There are other ways to lure these birds both in winter and summer, the best of which is to offer them mealworms in a Mealworm feeder. They love mealworms. You can even raise your own. (link below)
You can offer live or dried mealworms. Place them in a tray feeder or a specially designed feeder so that other birds don't get to them before the Bluebirds.
Mealworms are inch-long larvae, with brown, crusty shells, available from pet supply stores or online.
Providing Dried Mealworms in winter is a good idea. They are inexpensive and last a long time. You'll also be helping other birds in the winter.
Since bluebirds remain in winter in a lot of places, a Heated Birdbath can supply the open water they need to survive.
An open water source is critical during cold weather, as most water is frozen. All life needs water year around.
Bluebirds will also roost in birdhouses in winter. Sometimes 6 or more will enter a house at one time.
A roosting house has an opening at the bottom which helps keep the heat from rising and going out through the entrance hole of a traditional nest box.
Many folks see the birds entering the birdhouse and think they are nesting. Usually, they are just checking it out for later in the evening.
They may even bring in what looks like nest-building material. Most likely it is just to create more warmth.
Some Bluebird Roosting Houses can be purchased where they can be converted from winter to summer nesting by removing the front and flipping it so the opening is where you want it to be.
It may surprise you to see Bluebirds in February and March in 10-degree weather, but it is very common.
Yes, even in New York and even Minnesota. Nesting will even begin in March in these areas.
Nights below freezing are tolerable for these birds without any problems. Even eggs being incubated will be fine as long as the adults are there to take care of things.
Do not interfere during these times. Any eggs not viable will be removed and they will lay a new clutch.
The lifespan of the average Eastern Bluebird is 6 - 7 years in the wild.
Check out this page where visitors talk about seeing Bluebirds in Winter
Additional Information About Blue Birds
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If Reporting Winter Sightings After February 1 Your Submission Will Not Be Published Due To Being Common.
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