Bluebirds nest early. They’re pairing up and scouting for nesting sites NOW!
Eastern Bluebirds nest early —earlier than most other birds. They begin defining and defending their nesting territories earlier than other species — generally, starting the end of February, early March.
If you’re one of the lucky, lucky folks who have Bluebirds grace their yards, see our dedicated Bluebird page for more specific info or shop our Bluebird Essentials. Meanwhile, on behalf of prospective Bluebird parents “house-hunting”, here are their key considerations.
A Clean Nest Box
As a good backyard bird host, you already know this: You need to start with a clean box and always clear between broods and after the last one of the season. If you haven’t already, go do it NOW!!! Bluebirds normally have 2-3 broods each season, so you’ll need to clear out the whole nest after each brood fledges. A clean box will encourage re-nesting in the same location!
A Safe, Sparrow-resistant Nest Box
Sparrow-resistant boxes are criticial to keep out the Bluebird’s deadly nemesis: The House Sparrow! We recommend Slot Boxes or the Gilbertson Nest Box along with dedicated monitoring. For more on this, ask us at the store or see our web page “House Sparrows: Deadly Foreign Invaders.
A Well-placed Nest Box
Position boxes in open areas at least a hundred yards apart facing the openness of a yard, meadow or field. Mount bird houses on poles with snake baffles—even if you don’t regularly see snakes in your yard. They are there.
A brief word on behalf of backyard snakes
According to the National Wildlife Federation, if you’re seeing snakes in your yard, you’re doing something right in establishing a healthy ecosystem in your backyard habitat! Resist your primeval urge to eliminate the snake and read NWF’s advice here on how to coexist with the vast majority of snakes that are 100% harmless to humans.
Food and Fresh Water Availability
Bluebirds are also looking for abundant food and fresh, accessible water. Increase your chances of hosting Bluebird families by adding these two simple, extra incentives to your backyard.
YES! Fresh, freeze-dried mealworms in a clean feeder!
Bluebirds, who mainly eat insects and fruit, could possibly be tempted to your feeders with freeze-dried meal worms, sunflower chips and peanut pieces. Separate and distance them from your other feeders.
See our Bluebird Essentials, for Mealworm Feeders and other incentives for Bluebirds to increase your chances of hosting Bluebird families this nesting season.
Keep your bird baths fresh and filled. Access to free-flowing water is critical for wild birds and your bird bath is another excellent way to tempt Bluebirds to your backyard. See our Winter, Water and Wild Birds website page.
Even if you don’t live near Bluebirds, you can still help them!
Support the Eastern Bluebird Resurgence! (See our previous blog post about where it all started.) You can also join our local Maryland Bluebird Society.
Share your Bluebird sightings and photos on our Facebook page! Keep us posted!