boxes, nesting habits, food preferences and more
Information on other species also
Bluebirds are a delight to observe. The brilliant hues of their primary feathers reflect in the sun and the soft
orange of their breast feathers are a subtle accent that makes them one of our prettiest birds.
Bluebirds will build nests in hollow trees and any available cavity. They favor nesting boxes that are about five
feet above the ground. Posts are superior to trees, as they attract fewer predators and insect pests. Nest holes
that are 1 1/2" in diameter are perfect. The hole should be about 6" from the bottom. Box dimensions of 4x4" to
5x5" with a height of 8" is a good box size. The bottom should have holes for drainage and the house should be
adequately ventilated. The front or the side should be hinged to allow for easy access to clean out the nesting
material after the fledglings leave the nest. This will reduce the occurrence of parasites.
Bluebirds prefer open, grassy areas rather than densely wooded locations. Nest boxes should not be placed
too closely. A distance of 200 feet between boxes is preferable, but they will occasionally nest closer. They are
territorial and close proximity can promote rivalry.
Bluebird males will begin to scout for nesting sites in February. When they find a suitable site, they will try to
attract a female to the site and it is comical to see them posture and enter the house to try to influence the
decision of the female.
It takes from 5-14 days for the birds to build a nest from grass and straw. When complete, it will take from 3 to 6
days for the female to lay the clutch of 3 to 6 eggs. The average is 6 eggs. Once the egg laying is complete,
the female will incubate the eggs for 13 to 14 days, and the eggs will usually all hatch on the same day.
The young birds will be cared for by the parents for about 15 days. Both parents will feed the birds and they
will be covered by an adult bird at night to keep them warm. They are very sensitive to cold during this period.
The male birds remove droppings from the nest and this helps to minimize parasites.
When the birds are fully feathered at 15 days, they will leave the nest and never return to it. The parents will
continue to feed them for another one to two weeks.
Bluebirds can raise as many as three broods in a season.
|Margaret with bluebird box
|February Bluebird scouting for nest site