Bluebirds are a favorite of birdwatchers. Male bluebirds are very colorful while the females are smaller and brown. The bluebird population decreased dramatically in the late 1980s, and in 1993 an effort was formed to help increase the bluebird population. Part of the effort was to put up nesting boxes to attract the birds and give them a safe place to build nests and lay eggs.
The boxes began to attract bluebirds and the population increased. Today, many people put the boxes in their backyards so they can watch the birds Also, bluebirds trails have been created. The bluebird trails are trails of nesting boxes spaced far enough apart to attract several pairs of bluebirds.
Nesting boxes are generally made out of cedar and rewood, but boxes have also been made from almost any other type of wood including plywood. Wood that has been treated should not be used because it can be toxic to the birds. The boxes should not be painted, but a light stain may be applied to the outside of the box.
For Eastern bluebirds, boxes should have a round 1 1/2" hole for entry. Mountain bluebirds use a entrance hole of 1 9/16", but they will use a larger hole (up to 1 9/16"). Perches attract other birds (sparrow and wrens) and should never be put on a bluebird box. The boxes should be watertight, have good ventilation, and be easy to clean.
Boxes should be mounted so the entrance hole is five feet above the ground. They can be mounted on posts of pipes, but it is important to make sure predators (snake, raccoons, cats) cannot get to the box. The birds like to have a tree within 100 feet of the box. This is important when the babies are learning to fly. If they land on the ground, they are more accessible to predators.
In 1993 a group of people decided to create bluebird trails. These trails were simply a row of nesting boxes. The goal was to have one pair of birds occupy each box. As the boxes filled a, trial of birds would be created. The trials have been very successful. There are a few things to remember, however, if you are going to try a bluebird trial.
Bluebirds do not like to be close to other bluebirds boxes, as the trial should be properly spaced. If the boxes are to close, the bluebirds will not occupy them. The general rule is place the boxes 100 yards apart to allow the territorial birds space to find food and nurture their young. Bluebirds will usually not accept boxes that are placed close together.
Bluebirds prefer berries. Grapes, currants, blackberry, elderberry, and even raisins attract the birds. To soften the raisins just put them in hot water. Bluebirds will also eat insects such as crickets, grasshopper, beetles, and caterpillars.
Bluebirds do not normally cat seed, but they have been known to go to feeders when no other food source could be found. They are also attracted to mealworms, and if you want to feed your bluebirds, you can create a mealworm, and putting the mealworms in the cornmeal.
The bluebird population had a terrible decline. The decline was thought to be caused by two main factors: the lost of the natural habitat of the bluebirds, and the decrease in the number of nesting areas that appeal to the birds
Since the use of the nesting boxes and bluebird trails, the bluebird population seems to rising. But it will still take time before these birds are back to the population they once were. The only way to help these birds is to provide nesting boxes and trails so that the birds can have a safe environment to raise their young.