House Hunting, Bluebird Style

With Spring in the air, the birds have started house hunting around here. I had a wren flying around in the greenhouse this morning. After I managed to convince it to leave, I saw where it was trying to start a nest in a pot of chives.

That prompted me to check the bluebird houses. I’m glad I did, because a male English sparrow was stuffing one of the houses full of grass and trash. I cleaned out the mess, and left the side open to discourage future nest building for a few days. I decided to put a third bluebird house up, just to offer a little more variety. And it was just in the nick of time too.

female bluebird flying off in a blur

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of blue. It was a female bluebird, landing on a metal fencepost. I ran to get the camera. She took off just as I pushed the shutter button. I knew if the female was around, the male likely was too, and it didn’t take long to spot him sitting in a peach tree nearby.

male bluebird in peach tree

I first saw bluebirds here last December. If it is the same pair, then they must have liked what they saw. Regardless, we put out the welcome mat. They’ll like the nice big juicy bugs we grow here. And now they have several houses to choose from. How could they not want to stay?

One is a house I made years ago out of red cedar. That’s the one the sparrows were trying to nest in. The other two are ones I bought from Gilbertson Nestbox Company. Steve Gilberston is a bluebird enthusiastic who set out to design better nesting boxes for bluebirds.

I have to admit I wondered if the birds would take to the ones made from PVC pipe, but after putting one up at the our Master Gardener Display Gardens last year, a pair of bluebirds took to them almost immediately. They fledged two broods of young last year, and they picked the PVC design over several wooden ones that were nearby and available. With that in mind I put up another PVC box at Happy Acres last year.

Gilbertson PVC bluebird nesting box

The nest box is attached to a length of metal conduit, which is then slid over a piece of concrete rebar stake driven into the ground. The box design is supposed to deter English sparrows, while the metal pipe keeps many predators from climbing up into the box.

wood Gilbertson nest box

The third choice for BB housing is another Gilbertson creation, but this one has a more traditional wooden design. We will see how it does given the fact that sparrows are already present and trying to nest in the other wood box.

I’m really looking forward to seeing bluebirds  here, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed they are here to stay!

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5 Responses to House Hunting, Bluebird Style

  1. I love the PVC bird house. How wonderful to be able to attract Bluebirds. I hope that they decide to stay….that way we can enjoy your pictures of them.

  2. Wow, at first glance, that PVC house had me fooled…I was sure it was birch! I’m so jealous that you have bluebirds. I’m really hoping our Wilson’s Warblers nest here again this spring, about as close as we come to charismatic colorful bird species here. Did I mention that I’m impressed with the appearance of that PVC house?

  3. thevioletfern says:

    Just loved this post. I have not seen a blue bird since my childhood days in WI. I will have to try that PVC pipe birdhouse! We have lots of sparrows that I would like to discourage. I have seen some of these designed for chickadees as well that were successful, too. Thanks for brightening my day.

    • Villager says:

      The jury is still out, but so far the sparrows have left the PVC boxes alone. And they are usually a big problem in this area.
      Glad I could brighten your day – seeing the BB sure made me happy! 🙂

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