New to Bluebirds – Help on What to Watch Out For

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  • #8886
    TroyS
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    Hi. I am brand new to bluebirds. Looking for help on what I need to know. Any challenges I can expect to face? Any tips for beginners? Your comments and best place to look on this site would help. Thank you in advance.

    #8888
    Sassy
    Participant
    • Topics started 54
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    Hi TroyS:
    :welcome3:
    My best advice is to read past posts from the members and to go to wwww.Sialis.org and absorb a ton of excellent information.
    Where are you from and do you have bluebirds nesting at this time, or are you just looking to get started?
    Connie (PA)

    #8890
    blue diamonds
    Participant
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    Troy ……you are in for a lot of fun. If you put up bluebird boxes, never ever let house sparrows nest in them! If you get a nesting pair of bluebirds you will need to put up a sparrow spooker after mama blue lays the first egg. The best setup for a box is on a post with a wobbly baffle. Placing a box on a building, tree or fence is not safe for the bluebirds. It depends on where you are located, different areas have different predators. House sparrows, house wrens and snakes are some of the issues. These are only a few things, others on this blog will have great suggestions.

    Happy Birding,
    Judy – Michigan

    #8891
    TroyS
    Participant
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    Thanks for the welcome and the reply. I will take a look at that site you mention. I live in the southern part of NH. I’m just getting started. Had a pair of bluebirds that made a home in a birdhouse last season and just watched and enjoyed them. I don’t know if it’s the same pair, but they are back this season and really enjoying them again, so I thought I’d learn more about them. I’m not really a bird guy, but been working from home and able to watch them right out my window- most active in the morning, so I’ve become really intrigued this second season. My neighbor mentioned that bluebirds wouldn’t make a nest in a painted box, but if that is true, it didn’t seem to matter to this pair of bluebirds. So I’m just trying to learn about them, support their well being without interfering.

    #8893
    TroyS
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    Thanks for the insight on sparrows. I do notice a battle always going on around the bird house and area with what seems to be just a single sparrow. Maybe it’s more than one, I’m not sure. It’s quite a lively fight. The bluebirds seem to holding their territory so far. Interesting that once they lay their first eggs, I should put up a sparrow spooker – I’ll search online for those.

    #8894
    David in Stafford,VA
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    • Topics started 57
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    Troy, good to have you aboard. As the others have said, a very good, useable and understandable resource is the www,sailis.org website. It will help you to identify the house sparrow which is very dangerous for the bluebirds. They are not an native species to the US and may be eradicated as necessary if they become a threat your birds. Read some of the posts of some of those that have trapped this menace.

    Here is a photo of my nestbox on a 5 & 1/2′ PCV pipe sealed in a concrete footer block. The baffle is a 6 x 24″ stove pipe that wobbles on 2 screws in the pipe. I put 1/4″ hardware cloth snake trap inside the baffle. It is away from the trees in back of it and on the sides so critters and wrens do not drop on it from above.

    There are a lot of good people here that have made a great start on the season. I know that there are at least 9 and possibly 12 or more nest totaling more then 45 eggs thus far this season. Keep us posted on your progress. One suggestion, find a good nestbox for your bluebirds, not a decorative one like you find in many department stores. The Audubon Society and the North American Bluebird Society have lots of information on properly constructed bluebird houses. Make sure that you have a predator guard on the nestbox opening.

    The results are something like this:
    5 eggs in incubation

    Do not hesitate to ask a question. We are glad to help.

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #8897
    David in Stafford,VA
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    • Topics started 57
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    Troy. Sorry, your last post came up as I was typing my previous post. So some of it may not apply as you have a year of experience. That 1 sparrow can do a great deal of damage. The house sparrow warrants aggressive control. It sounds like a house sparrow. Check to be sure that it is a House sparrow and not a wren. Wrens can also give bluebirds a hard time, primarily on nesting sites and building nests over one under construction.

    Other native sparrows do not seem to bother the Bluebirds.

    BTW – where are you in Southern New Hampshire. I used to live in Windham, near Derry.

    David
    Stafford, VA

    #8905
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
    Participant
    • Topics started 111
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    Troy, welcome – you already have good advise from our group – especially important is the info on the House Sparrow (HOSP for short) – they are very harmful to our bluebirds and if you put up a bluebird house you should be ready to fight them. The sparrow spooker is very helpful when you have a nest with eggs/babies in it but the best thing to do is eradicate them by using a sparrow trap – this info can be found on the Sialis.org website.

    Also harmful is the house wren – they are a native bird and protected by law (as opposed to the HOSP which is non-native and therefore not protected) But there is a wren guard that most people use which deters them – they like to raid a nestbox and throw the eggs out on the ground, which of course will destroy the egg. The HOSP will actually kill the bluebirds if they get a chance.

    Good luck.

    #8922
    TroyS
    Participant
    • Topics started 1
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    Thank you all for all hints, tips, suggestions. I definitely have some good info here to get me started and and to help me on my bluebird enjoyment journey. Much appreciated!

    #8935
    phillyblues
    Participant
    • Topics started 43
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    Welcome, Troy. It will be a great adventure ahead. My biggest advice is to make sure you eliminate sparrows as much as humanly possible all year round. Critical to make it a safe area for bluebirds or there will be lots of heartache and dissapointment. Good luck!

    #8936
    phillyblues
    Participant
    • Topics started 43
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    It sounds harsh, but try to trap and eliminate that sparrow. The bluebirds may win the battle outside the box but those little devils will come back when the adults or babies are trapped in the box and peck them to death. Seen it happen too many times for bluebirds chickadees and tree swallows. Please get rid of them. Thinknof them as rats, mice….antern flies. They are harmful invadive species.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by phillyblues.
    #8938
    TroyS
    Participant
    • Topics started 1
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    Thanks phillyblues, I appreciate your advice as well. Very alarming about these sparrows!

    #8957
    Dana
    Participant
    • Topics started 39
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    • Total Posts 194

    Troy welcome to the forum! I cannot think of anything else to add other than what the other members here have already said. The emphasis being placed on House Sparrows being very important. They need to be eliminated in order for the bluebirds to be successful in raising and fledging their young. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have anymore questions. Many of us have a good amount of years under our belts looking after and helping out bluebirds.

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