Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bluebird Boxes

I’ve noticed the Bluebirds beginning to pair off and stake out their preferred nesting box, so I went out yesterday evening to check for nesting material. This is the oldest active box I have. It may look a little bit shabby, but last year it successfully fledged two nests of Bluebirds and one of Tree Swallows. No sign that nest building has begun for this year.

This ant hill sprang up four years ago, just a couple of months after I put up this box. I haven’t seen any ants attempt to climb up to the nest. The black plastic tubing may be a deterrent. I buried the bottom of the tubing to discourage anything from climbing up through the inside of the pipe.

This box was made by the local FFA class. Several Bluebirds have roosted here through the winter. They’ve made a bit of a mess around the entrance hole.

They’ve also made a mess inside. Bluebirds exist primarily on fruit through the winter, so their droppings are usually full of seeds. I cleaned a bunch of poop and seeds out of this box about two weeks ago, so all of this has accumulated since then. Insects should soon make up the bulk of the Bluebird diet.

The seeds I cleaned out before represented a wide variety of fruits. This batch is entirely from Eastern Red Cedar. Cedar fruits are generally plentiful through the year, unless one of the giant Starling flocks moves in and decides to stay for a while. Starlings love to gorge on the fruit and scatter the seeds all over the prairies.

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