Once cherry blossoms and crocus bloom… you can bet the search is on for the perfect bluebird house! Even though it’s February and still frosty, bluebird courtship is underway. Once they pair up, the search is on for the best bluebird house with single a pine needle or piece of straw to claim their favorite.
What’s the best bluebird birdhouse? Start with a NABS approved design. The North American Bluebird Society actually rates bluebird houses for appropriate features such as the ability to monitor nests, ventilation, drainage and clean-out, correct hole size and floor space. Distance from floor to entry is also a factor as nestlings become easy prey for predators should the entry be too close to the birdhouse floor.
Monitoring is recommended so long as parents and nestlings aren’t disturbed. It’s a great and educational way to get the family involved and get kids outside! Just a quick nest check can help with successful fledges and it only takes a few seconds.
Avoid checking at dawn and dusk when parents are busiest feeding babies. Always tap on the birdhouse first to avoid startling parents. With front- or side-opening bluebird houses, avoid nest checks once babies are about 12 days old as it could cause premature fledging. Never handle eggs or touch nestlings and most of all… don’t pester the birds.
The innovative bluebird house shown is the Gilbertson Nest Box and blues just adore it! Rather than a door for monitoring, the PVC coffee can-shape cavity pops on and off the roof’s underside via two pins. Simple to monitor, just squeeze the top of house with both hands to elongate and release the birdhouse part. Take a peek at eggs or nestlings and pop the house back onto the roof in the same fashion. The Gilbertson is NABS approved, withstands weather and deters house sparrows with its overhang roof.
For information on becoming a bluebird landlord- please visit Sialis.org for more comprehensive answers to all bluebird questions!