Sunday, March 6, 2011
Bluebird numbers have decreased 90 percent over the past 60 years in the eastern United States. The four reasons for this are: widespread insecteside use decreasing the food supply, severe winter which have increased winter mortality, changing agricultural practices reducing nesting sites and House Sparrows competing for the remaining nesting sites making nesting more difficult.
The best way to help increase the blue bird population is to provide wooden houses for them to nest in.
Bluebird houses shoule be placed by the end of February in areas around open fields, pastures, golf courses, cemeteries, gardens and large lawns which provide excellent bluebird habitat. These areas usually provide plenty of insects to eat. Avoid areas where insecticides are used heavily.
Place houses 4 to 6 feet above the ground and 50 to 100 yards apart. Face the houses to the south or southeast, if possible. Try to select places where trees, shrubs, utility wires or fences are within 25 to 100 feet of the houses. Bluebirds use these structures for perches when feeding. These perches are also helpful to young birds during their first flights.
If houses are located near woods and brush piles, other species of birds, such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and wrens, will use the bluebird houses. These species, like the bluebird, are welcome additions to the area and should not be discouraged from using the bird house. These birds are also helpful in controlling insect populations. It may be possible to get a bluebird to nest in the same area by placing another house about 10 to 20 feet from the one the other bird is using.
Now is the time to get out there and clean out your bird houses. If you already have bluebird houses in and around your yard, they need to be cleaned out. Bluebirds won't typically nest in a house that has left over nesting from a previous year. Swallows are notorious for taking over these nesting sites. If your bird house doesn't have a proper clean out, you'll need to take the bottom off or replace it with one that does. All or our bird houses are made with vents and clean outs so the birds don't overheat in hot weather and they can easily be cleaned out.