Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cleaning House

Well, it is the middle of February and soon time for the Eastern Bluebirds to return for nesting. We spent a part of this morning cleaning out all of our nesting boxes in preparation for their arrival. Old, dilapidated boxes were replaced with freshly painted new ones, and the rest were swept clean and checked for stability.

Over the years we have created a bluebird trail on our farm to encourage the repopulation of this lovely species. The bluebird used to be quite a common species, but loss of habitat, insecticide use and predators have decreased their numbers significantly. Their chief predators are the sparrow and the starling. The sparrow will move into a bluebird house and break the eggs or peck the chicks. They have even been known to peck the adult birds to death.

Bluebird boxes should be hung 3 to 5 feet from the ground and placed no less than 100 yards apart as these birds are territorial. We have hung our boxes on our fence posts and also have had extra fence posts placed at intervals along our woods. It is a good idea to have other housing available close by for tree swallows. Tree swallows can keep other competing birds from inhabiting the bluebird houses. It is especially good to have plenty of berry producing growth closeby as this will serve as a source of food in addition to the insects that these birds consume.

Besides being a beautiful bird to observe, the bluebird can help decrease the flying insect population in your yard.


kathyann said...

I do hope the bluebirds come back to visit you,the guest houses are all ready to receive them,i'm sure they will enjoy their stay!Ilove to watch the birds as they fly back and forth,busy building their nests inside ready to have their new family,lovely!Ilove your photo of the birds on the feeder what a delightful sight!Keep up the good work!Love from Kathyann and the girls

the kittens' mother said...

That's a shame about the blubird. The cuckoo does the same thing here. We have a bird called a wren that is tiny and a cuckoo will go into the nest, lay an egg, the egg hatches and the chick has an instinct to push the rest of the wren's eggs out of the nest so that this wren only has to feed one cuckoo chick that grows to about three times the size of it.
Those photos of the birds at the bird feeders are beautiful.
We have just got a big sack of bird food and are going to get the feeders soon. Since the cats aren't allowed out, the birds should be safe. Hopefully the next step will be nest boxes but it depends on if the birds find the feeders. There aren't many birds around here, only scavengers like magpies, ravens and gulls. We would like to have the small garden birds to nest.

You have won an award on my blog. I hope you don't mind but you might like to read why you deserve the award. Well done! :)

Have a good day, from Meg and cats xxx

kathyann said...

I love the bird feeders many a happy hour can be spent just watching the birds!Love from Kathyann and the girls

GardenGoose said...

hey, inviting you over to my blog to join the fun.


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