New to Bluebirding NE Florida

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  • #3165
    Ellen
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    Hello everyone. I recently moved to Northeast Florida, near Jacksonville. I have never experienced bluebirds till I moved here. I recently put up a bluebird house, and within 2 days I had a male and female eastern bluebirds checking it out. within 2 weeks they started to build a nest. For about 5-6 days the female was actively building. Now its been 3 days since I have seen either male or female. I am wondering why? Do they build the nest then leave for a while? I have no idea. I want my birds back!

    #3166
    tamsea
    Moderator
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    Hi Ellen.
    How great you have a bluebird pair. Up here in NW Ohio that would be very normal. Often for the first nest my bluebirds build it and then wait. I’m not sure about down there. So it could she normal or they could have decided on another nestboxes somewhere else but my guess is that they are still planning on using that. Time will tell. Do you have a predator guard on your pole? It’s a must down there where you have rat snakes etc.

    Tammy

    #3168
    Ellen
    Participant
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    I do not have a baffle on it yet. I know I have to get one. Would the cone type work that I could just wrap around without removing the pole? Will that type keep the snakes out? My house and pole are from Wild birds unlimited. I don’t want to spend too much, so I thought perhaps the cone shaped wrap around would work??
    I still have not seen MR and Mrs bluebird for 4 days now. Anxious to see them come back.

    #3170
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
    Participant
    • Topics started 107
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    Ellen, welcome – it is great that you have bluebirds so soon after moving. Like Tammy says, it is very common for the blues to build a nest, or even just begin one, and then quit for a time. It is all about their “internal instinct” about when it is the right time for nesting. I don’t believe the baffle you are talking about would deter snakes, but I will let Tammy comment on that, as I don’t know too much about them. P.S. My blues actually have built 2 or even 3 complete nests in different boxes the past few years before choosing one. I know it is the same pair as I have watched them go from one to the other!

    #3171
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
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    I’m not all that sure a cone would work. WBU does sell a raccoon size cylindrical baffle that should work well. When a snake climbs a pole with one of those, it typically winds up in the top of the baffle. They will also try to climb the outside of a baffle and if it’s seamless they have more trouble than if there is a seam for them to use. To be really effective a baffle should wobble and that’s hard to achieve with a cone.

    Some people try to get around installing any kind of baffle by heavily greasing the pole. The problem is grease has to be reapplied quite often because it hardens and feathers can come into contact with it. Neither is a good thing.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #3172
    Ellen
    Participant
    • Topics started 1
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    Thank you for the suggestions. I will check at Wild birds unlimited. I do shop there regularly.
    I know the raccoon baffle, as I have one on my bird feeder on the other side of the house. They are big, and wanted to avoid having something of this size. Will look into it.
    Thank you. I just hope my Mr and Mrs bluebird come home soon. :)

    #3173
    DanaDana
    Participant
    • Topics started 39
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    Hi Ellen,
    I would also recommend trying a stovepipe baffle to help deter snakes as well as coons, cats, and other climbing predators. I’ve included a link I found with instructions and the dimensions of the baffle. Or check with Wild Birds Unlimited and see if they carry one. Like Gin said the baffle must wobble on the pole to help keep predators from climbing around or over it. Here is the link:

    Hope “your” bluebirds return soon. Keep us posted.

    Dana
    Lancaster, PA

    #3174
    DanaDana
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    #3175
    David in Stafford,VADavid in Stafford,VA
    Participant
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    Hi Ellen.
    I use a stovepipe baffle as Dana mentioned above. it is a 2 ft section of stovepipe wuth a cap and mounted 4 ft up the pole on 2 screws that are drilled into the pole. The baffle does wobble when touched by anything more than a light breeze. I stuffed hardware cloth and chicken wire up at the top of the baffle where the hole goes through the cap to keep anything from trying to crawl through, and I do lube the pole with grease.

    Good luck with your new blues

    David

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #3213
    Ellen
    Participant
    • Topics started 1
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    • Total Posts 4

    Thanks for all the answers. I did get a baffle, like the one pictured above. But my bluebirds have not returned. Very odd I thought, since they built the nest 2 weeks ago, and then left it. I have not seen a bluebird since. But now I have chickadees checking it out. Huh, An already built nest for them. Will they use it? Or might the Blue’s come back?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Ellen.
    #3218
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
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    Aww….chickadees. Hope they stay! They will build their mossy nest on top of the other one. I’m not sure what happens to your bluebirds. They may or may not come back. If the dees use that box can you put up a second box so the blues can use it if they want? Put one up now and maybe the dees will choose the new one. One the dees nest and lay the first egg you can put a hole reducer on the inside so that bluebirds won’t sabotage there nest.

    Tammy

    #3253
    Lisa
    Participant
    • Topics started 21
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    I am in coastal Alabama and went for years with no issues until last year when I lost two beautiful healthy nests to snakes.
    Finally discovered the Krueger trap and had a healthy fledge. It was a horrible year.
    Don’t put a box too close to a tree from which a snake could drop.
    Both snakes that attacked mine were 5 foot long corn,rat,or chicken snakes. They go by different names here but will take the whole brood.

    #3260
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
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    Yikes. I’m thankful we don’t have many rat snakes up here. I know a lot of purple martin landlords that have to use netting under their houses because of snakes.

    Tammy

    #3304
    Lisa
    Participant
    • Topics started 21
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    The netting works great! Luckily, I’ve never had to get a snake out of it yet, LOL>

    #3307
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
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    So does that mean you haven’t had any snakes try to access it? or they just didn’t get caught in the netting?

    Tammy

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