What Can You Do?

Installing a Bluebird nestbox setup is the single most important thing you can do to save the Bluebirds. Real Bluebird conservation takes a bit of effort, but it is well worth it when you see your first brood of fledglings take flight. There are several things to keep in mind when you decide to put up a nestbox for bluebirds:

Suitable Location

Bluebirds prefer to nest in an area that includes open space, scattered trees, and low ground cover such as lawns, golf courses, pastureland, parks, and school & industrial campuses. They do not nest in heavily forested areas. They also do not like land that is completely open (no trees or shrubs), but one that still provides perches for hunting (such as fences, telephone lines, posts, shepherd’s hooks, etc.) and trees nearby for both shade and to offer the baby birds a safe destination for fledging. Care should be taken not to place the nestbox so close to trees and fences, which predators are afforded easy access to the box from above. Keep boxes at least 200 yards from barnyards and feed lots where House Sparrows are abundant. Avoid areas with heavy pesticide use. Bluebirds are territorial, so as a rough guide, multiple boxes should be placed at least 100 feet apart. Vegetation and topography might make closer locations possible.  There should be no direct line of sight between boxes.  The nestbox can face in any direction as long as the Bluebirds have a clear flight path to the box.

Proper Nestbox

Birdhouses are readily available, but not everything called a “Bluebird house” is suitable for them. Purchase or build an SCBS-approved nestbox designed specifically for Bluebirds. Preferably, these are made of unpainted cedar, redwood, cypress, or pine. If you must paint your nestbox, it should be painted ONLY on the outside, in a very light color, to avoid overheating. The box should have an overhanging slanted roof, NO perch, and a round entrance hole 1-1/2″ in diameter. It should have ventilation and drainage holes, be deep enough so predators can’t reach inside to retrieve the eggs, and have a door that opens for ease of monitoring and cleaning.

We build SCBS-approved nestboxes and then sell the box, pole, and baffle (nestbox setup) at a discounted price to members. These high-quality items should last for a decade or more and the proceeds help fund our efforts.    

Proper Mounting

Nestboxes may be mounted at any time, but to attract Bluebirds for their first nesting of the season, they should be in place by mid-February.

SCBS HIGHLY RECOMMENDS mounting nestboxes on a metal or plastic pole with a baffle to deter predators such as snakes, raccoons, squirrels, and feral cats.  The nestbox should be mounted on the pole so that the entrance hole is approximately 5’ off the ground.

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