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Steve Offline OP
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Thanks! That site is a wealth of info.


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A single 1"x6"x6' piece of board can make 1 bluebird house. I found the pattern in a book called, "Woodworking for Wildlife," by Carroll Henderson. The hole size is somewhat important as too large of a hole can let starlings in and they are much more aggressive than bluebirds. Height is also important as too low or too high makes it more difficult to clean every fall and too low prevents keeping out squirrels and raccoons with a shield or tin wrapped around the post.

There are several bluebird house plans but the one above is the cheapest and simplest. Recommendations as to placing, height above ground, direction, competitor/predator control, and other factors are covered in the book. I've made dozens of the bluebird houses over the years as well as woodduck/kestrel, hawk, owl, and other houses.

Kestrels and bluebirds can coexist, one just has to put up a lot of bluebird houses! Actually, I don't think I have lost more than a handful of bluebirds to kestrels in any given year as the kestrels seem more attuned to mice and grasshoppers. It looks like I lose more bluebirds to shrikes based on the number of bluebirds I see hanging off barbed wire. Tree swallows use the nest boxes readily and it does help to put two boxes within 50'-60' feet of each other to reduce competition between birds. Face them at a little angle away from each other so the birds don't look directly at each other.

I've had as many as 150 houses up at a time but I'm down to about 60 now. Some were not used for some reason while others have had the post rot away or fall over. Others were allowed to fall into disrepair as it became too time consuming to keep them up. The boxes provide plenty of birds for entertainment.

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I put a piece of shingle on the roof. One of the sides is screwed so that it
swings up by removing one screw. Gets used every year, probably 15 yrs.


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My son use to make them and sell them at farmers markets. One #3 cedar fence picket is enough for one box, hinge the top with a hook and loop to count chicks or evict undesirables. The consensus at the time was 1 9/16" hole was best, 1 1/2" would wear on their feathers and 1 5/8" would favor starlings. Be careful about making posts like this, the bluebird crowd are more aggressive at recruiting than Mormons or Jehovahs.

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I built one when I saw a kit at Home Depot or Lowes. Mounted it in my daughter's back yard. Had Bluebirds almost immediately. Very cool. When I visit we sit on her patio and watch the birds coming and going. Also put up a feeder.


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Steve
I saw a male/female pair of W. Bluebirds on the OSU campus last week. Thought that was crazy early.
Swallows are already at the refuge here too . Not used to seeing them in town until St. Pattys Day usually. Off start..
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Originally Posted by Steve
Not a whole lot of starlings or English sparrows around our place. Lots of other birds. Chickadees, etc. We have several violet green swallows around in the summer. I know they compete with bluebirds for nesting sites. Read that with tree swallows you're best to put a couple boxes very close to each other. That way blue birds will use one and the swallows the other. Not sure if that holds true for violet green swallow.


I space mine out about 100 feet apart. on cedar posts . Boxes are used every year

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Originally Posted by Steve
Gonna build a couple this weekend. Saw one today and it got me going.

Lot's of plans and placement instructions on the net.

Any pointers?



Struggled for year to get them nesting in the yard...specialized boxes...you name it.

Added dried meal worm feeders...and in they came! Beautiful birds...enjoy them


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http://www.nysbs.org/handouts/ThePetersonBox.pdf

I make the holes a little more narrow and taller. I mount them on metal poles and use a snake guard. I have a trail with 20 on the farm and one in my back yard, with a couple on the 6 acres up the road I have.

Watching them feed across a field from my deer stands is a favorite pastime.


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I’ve build em of scraps.

Cedar or cypress.


I put some metal around the hole. Like copper or brass shim material.

Keeps squirrels from chewing and making the holes big.



Dave

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Blue birds are my wife's favorite birds. We have 4 boxes on our property. All are used in the spring. There is an open death warrant for house sparrows with a no questions asked policy.the house sparrow will trap the blue bird in the nest box, and peck it to death. Then build a new nest right over the dead blue bird. if you want to draw/ help the birds over the winter put out dried meal worms. We have a gang of about a 12 to 14 birds that will perch in the tree above the feeder and wait for us to to fill it. The blue birds will empty the feeder in a few minutes.

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Steve Offline OP
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Looks like a mealworm feeder is also on my project list.


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Not sure about the nesting habits of bluebirds, but I have one idea you may find cool. Build the box and make the back wall out of 2 way glass and mount it near an exterior window in your house. That way you will be able to watch the entire cycle of life.

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Cool thread, I was gonna recommend the NY State Bluebird Society website, for some years I had a camera set up inside a purple martin nest hardwired into the TV. I got the instructions from the NY Bluebird Society website.

Where I’m at is way too urban for bluebirds, way too many house sparrows too.

Since they feed up in the air purple martins don’t care too much about the surroundings of the nest, you can even get ‘em in the middle of a big city.


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Ours lay 2 clutches every year. We clean out the boxes after every clutch has left. You will occasionally find a dead one in there.

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Steve Offline OP
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Knocked one out. Need to get a pole set up for it. Probably only do one as we've only got enough open space on the property for it and a swallow box.

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Last edited by Steve; 01/22/22.

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Excellent job there Steve! A couple days after the nest is built they will lay one egg a day for five days. Hopefully all the eggs will hatch 15 days after the last egg is laid. If not, remove any that didn’t hatch. Not all of the chicks may live so check the box regularly and remove any dead ones. After they leave the box, promptly remove the nest and clean the box out. Very often they will build a new nest and have a second brood. Good luck!


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Steve Offline OP
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Thanks. Will put it up this week. Next up a meal worm feeder that's raccoon proof.


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I have 5 bluebirds at my feeders right now eating suet. Three males and two females. It's sunny out but just 7°. It's great having them around in the winter!


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