April 11, 2017 at 11:10 pm #3596
My granddad just made me a bluebird box and I’m about to mount it in my yard this week after I finish the predator guard. Late for this year, I know. I’ve had a feeder for other birds for the last year and really enjoy it. I have a bath as well. I’m in Charlotte, NC and there’s bluebirds around and I would like to get a feeder to have them around some and help attract them to my box.
I have squirrels and am concerned if I get a feeder for mealworms that the squirrels will take them all. I also know other birds will take the mealworms, some desirable and some not.
Can someone recommend a decent feeder for about $30 that would help me attract bluebirds with mealworms, suet, etc? Thanks!April 12, 2017 at 2:29 am #3600
The feeder on this site comes highly recommended- keeps squirrels & bgger birds out. It is more expensive, though. If you need to pay less & have a Wild Birds Unlimited close by, I’d stop in there & ask them to recommend one of their feeders.
NicoleApril 12, 2017 at 8:27 am #3609Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
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Brad, I began feeding worms the very 1st year 2008) of birding and didn’t have a cage feeder at first – I just put a few worms out at a time after I saw the blues & whistled for them to come. They ate the worms up in about 1 or2 minutes. I would do this in a.m. and p.m. You can use anything that is slick inside and with sides for the worms – I used a very old, heavy ashtray. I eventually did get a cage feeder, because in the long run you save $ on other birds eating the worms. Some people like to see other birds eat, but I cannot spend that kind of money. Really your choice. You could start out this way & see if in the future you get the blues back.April 12, 2017 at 10:13 am #3614
Thanks for the input so far. I do like the feeder on the site here, but I’ve only seen bluebirds a couple times and want to make sure I can get some around before I spring for a nice feeder like that. But if I can get them around regularly I would get a nice feeder.
I thought getting a cheaper feeder would help me attract blues to my yard with dried mealworms. Maybe that isn’t the case? If not, what can I do to attract them? Right now I have:
- Cedear bluebird box about to go up on a pole, with predator guard, facing SE in an open area with 2 trees within 50 feet
- Bird bath that I’m keeping filled more shallowly now to keep water level at 2″ or less
- Songbird feeder with good seed (not helpful for blues, I know)
I have plenty of robbins, cardinals, blue jays, finches, juncos, chickadees, downy woodpeckers, and doves coming and going. I didn’t know what house sparrows are but I will be on the lookout for them.
My neighbor has a small shed that’s about 15 feed from the location my nest box will go. I hope that isn’t a no go, as I think it’s the best place for the nest box in my yard.
I’m completely new to bluebirds and am excited to see what it’s all about. I welcome all suggestions. This seems like a great community.April 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm #3615Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
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Brad, you probably are a little late for this first nesting, as most have already claimed their site. But bluebirds have at least 2, and lots of times 3, different nestings, so you may draw a pair the next go-round. If it were me, I would wait on purchasing the worms until you actually see some blues around you. That is, unless you want to feed all the others birds, as most would love them. REALLY, YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT HOUSE SPARROWS (or HOSP for short). Don’t believe anyone on this site has not heard about them or the damage they can do. Just look at the pictures on “Dead Male” topic from Scott last month. The HOSP are a non-native bird (not protected by the Migratory Bird Act) and are considered a nuisance & threat to all native birds here in North America. There are several other species of sparrows which are native & okay, but not these. Check out the website http://www.sialis.org for a ton of great info.April 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm #3616tamseaModerator
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I agree with Carol. No need to buy an expensive feeder until you know bluebirds are around to eat them. But if you do buy a feeder later the grid style one like the one mentioned above works great. I love the one that I bought on this site. It’s expensive but super well made.
TammyApril 12, 2017 at 6:27 pm #3624
I’m not worried about getting any in the first cycle. I think anything this year would just be a bonus.
I guess you see what you look for, but I was eating with the next door neighbor and saw 2 of these birds in the picture and 2 others that seem to have the same body type but are all black, maybe with dark, dark brown on the head, throat, and chest. I assume the ones pictured are house sparrows. What are the black birds?
Now that I believe they are here in my yard, what is the best way to go about getting rid of them? What do people do to most easily catch and kill them?April 12, 2017 at 11:36 pm #3630
That is a female house sparrow in your pic. Notice how sharp their beaks are. That’s their destructive weapon. Males are the most vicious & are darker brown with black heads/throats/beards. Just look up pics online. I will let others comment on traps, which many find necessary. At the least, get a sparrow spooker & put on box after 1st bluebird egg is laid & leave on until babies fledge. Sialis.org should map out everything you need to know to control HOSP.
One more comment. Did you say your box was being put up 15 feet from a shed? I would try to get it further away (that counts for any structure that a predator could climb & jump on box). Best of luck!
NicoleApril 13, 2017 at 12:02 am #3633
I started out with a speaker stand a ceramic bowl for my mealworm feeder before I eventually got eaten out of house and home and bought the cage type.
I’ve never seen HOSP in my yard but after losing my first nest this year I bought a sparrow spooker online and put it up after the first egg,
Also, as much as it pained me, I took all of the seed feeders out of my back yard and moved them to the front where I could still watch all of the Bluejays, doves, cardinals, and squirrels.
Welcome to bluebirding! It is amazing but sometimes heartbreaking when things go wrong. Keep reading here and on Sialis.org and you will be an expert in no time.
It started out as a relaxing hobby for me but it can get stressful when creepy things like snakes and mean birds break your heart.
I think most of us have been through it all.
I may have the most snake experience sadly but I think I’ve fixed that…
Welcome, sincerely, LisaApril 13, 2017 at 12:08 am #3634
PS I’ve never had squirrels show any interest in my mealworms or bird houses! Bluebird dad chases them off so I guess they must be some sort of threat!April 13, 2017 at 12:17 am #3635
I wouldn’t have guessed that a predator could jump from the shed to the next box. Is that actually a risk?
I read on Sialis for a while and might try putting some mealworms in a cup on the feeder for a short time to see if it gets any interest. I’ll probably put some of the red holly berries in there from the yard as well.
Aside from some feeding I should probably just let it all be for a while and see what happens, unless I’m doing something clearly wrong. If that’s the case please point it out.April 13, 2017 at 12:22 am #3637
I wouldn’t think of it as a risk. I had my blues about 10 feet from my house for years…April 13, 2017 at 1:46 am #3642
Hey Brad- I’m challenged with keeping my boxes far enough from structures (trees, shrubs,fences, etc.), because my yard is so small. I guess it’s according to if a predator could climb the shed & how tall it is. Most sites recommend placing boxes at least 50 feet away from anything a predator could climb. Seems a little extreme, but I guess raccoons, cats, squirrels, etc., will climb & jump if they’re really hungry. For fledgers first flight, it is a good idea to have a tree in site at a reasonable distance for them to reach. Can anyone else jump in? It’s definitely a challenge for me to find a really open location where I live. Never want to lead anybody astray.
NicoleApril 13, 2017 at 11:29 pm #3668
I’m lucky enough to live on a golf course which they love. But like Nicole, I have my box close to a big shrub so they have a place to fledge to safely.
For years I had a box about 5 feet from my front porch….April 14, 2017 at 2:42 am #3674
Like Lisa, my first boxes were in my courtyard right off my porch & too close to fence (now that I know what I know). Mostly, it worked out ok. Now, I need to move box in front yard because bush & tree have grown & it’s too close to them. We learn as we go!
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