Bluebirds are the first to nest in the boxes each year and are usually finished with their first brood by now. I try to clean the boxes before another pair of birds moves in and builds a new nest on top of the old.
It’s always a dusty mess beneath the nest. There’s an art to avoiding the blowing dust created by sweeping out the box.
Ants have moved in and have quite a cache of larvae and pupae stored in the old nest material. The presence of ants could cause potential nesters to avoid this nest box. The ants could also be trouble for any developing nestlings.
I leave the box clean and ready for the next occupants. I didn’t find any active Bluebird nests. I see a lot of Bluebirds sitting on the utility wires or the fence, along with what appear to be their latest batch of young.
All of the active nests were those of Tree Swallows. The range of activity stretched from a newly constructed nest to a batch of older youngsters. There were two nests with four eggs in each.
There were also two nests with older nestlings. It looks like Blue Jay Barrens will once again make a significant contribution to the Tree Swallow population. Competition for nest space is already intense. Some of these birds are going to have to move off and find new territory.