March 27, 2016 at 2:16 pm #1221evieParticipant
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I need more advice. “My” pair of blues is coming at my whistle for mealworms. The male is feeding the female. It’s not terribly cold out. What I’m not seeing is the male sitting on the nest box. There is no sign that they’re interested in it. (It’s a Peterson next to a less popular kind.) Since the male knows my whistle, I’m assuming he was a fledgling or parent from last season.
If the pair has begun nesting elsewhere, would the fact that they’re hanging out here for food deter another pair from using my nest box?
My second question which is off topic is ….How clean does the nest box have to be? I believe I used Clorox at,the end of the season last year. But the surface looks dirty. I just used a putty knife to scrape the insides, but next to nothing came off.
Thanks in advance again. I’m so grateful for this forum.March 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm #1230
If another pair comes along, the pair that comes for food will probably protest because of the food but might not win. It all depends on the birds.
The interior of your box sounds fine to me. All I do with mine is scrape out the old nest and then scrape the interior surfaces.
Atlanta, GAMarch 29, 2016 at 8:24 am #1232
When using bleach to sanitize the inside of a nestbox, be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse!
The birds have a way of sorting these things out amongst themselves. We can’t control everything, all we can do is provide the safest housing and environment possible, with protection against predators, and let the birds figure out the rest.March 29, 2016 at 9:17 am #1233Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
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Cher – love your theory – I do think (me in particular) we tend to try to micro-manage our blues too much – after all they are wild birds! But this is NOT to say we should not do all we can to protect them after inviting into our yards!
In regard to the bleach, I do like to sanitize my boxes – especially after having a horrible case of mites in a TRES box (which I did not catch) last year. By the way, I believe this is what caused the babies death just about 2 days prior to fledging (I felt horrible about this). I put my box into a 5-gallon bucket with about 1/8 cup of bleach and let it set a few minutes. Then like Cher says, rinse, rinse, rinse. I like to then set it in the sun for several hours. By the way, bleaching boxes with a little stronger solution is a great way to lighten boxes which have darkened with age. My boxes after 7 years were really dark (they are natural cedar) and are out in full sun – HOT. After putting them in this stronger bleach solution, they looked like new, light colored, wood again – better in hot weather. Of course, I did this after nesting season and they had all fall & winter to get any odor out. Good luck Evie.
March 29, 2016 at 12:10 pm #1235
- This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Carol - Mid-Mo..
Carol, I do firmly believe in doing all we can to protect our blues from aggressive competitors that may harm them or their babies. But when it comes to favoring one native songbird over another – either within a species, or of a different species (with the possible exception of HOWR, who are very destructive) – I tend to let the birds sort it out themselves. I usually have at least a couple pair of TRES and one Bluebird pair, and sometimes a BCCH pair all vying for my four nestboxes every year – I call it the “Nestbox Wars”. Eventually everybody settles down and finds their own place without any tragedies (although NOT without quite a bit of drama!) It’s the HOSP and the HOWR that really get on my nerves. HOSP are easier to deal with. HOWR take uber-vigilance and clearing the nestbox of sticks used in their dummy nests (sometimes multiple times in a day). It can be exhausting!March 30, 2016 at 7:12 pm #1245
But when it comes to favoring one native songbird over another – either within a species, or of a different species (with the possible exception of HOWR, who are very destructive) – I tend to let the birds sort it out themselves.
Like right now I have a pair of BHNU in the box that the EABL typically use and I am SO happy! Those little guys are the cutest things. They do have a hole reducer, though, to keep those raiding blue shoulders out of there. They won the box by starting first and deserve a little bit of help.
Atlanta, GAMarch 31, 2016 at 7:13 pm #1250
Oooooooh! BHNU! They are so cute – my daughter calls them “duck birds” because of the sound they make! LOL They are highly desirable tenants to have! Congratulations!April 2, 2016 at 8:30 pm #1257
It’s only the second time they have accepted one of my boxes and in the words of Phil Robertson I am “happy happy happy”.
Atlanta, GAApril 3, 2016 at 3:00 am #1261Love my blues!Participant
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That’s awesome, Gin. How much fun!
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