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Diddo the get them as far from brush as possible.
The best precaution against HOWR is to locate the box more than 30 m away from any shrubs (I know not always possible in small lots). HOWR love shrubs. I found a study that showed boxes within 20 m were almost guaranteed top have some sort of HOWR interference at some point, and HOWR usually nested within that 20 M zone (no boxes were IN shrubs for this study) but that the further from shrubs the boxes were placed the less “interference”. eggs were pieced in boxes placed 20 to 30 m from shrubs but no HOWR nesting occurred. 30 m seemed to be the distance after which there was no “incursions”. This is generally similar to what I am seeing with the boxes I’ve placed in parks. Its just one study but certainly worth keeping in mind. If you can then place the box further than 30 m from shrubs, can save huge amounts of stress for you.
The study also found that the EABL preferred to nest around 30 m away from trees (chose the boxes first in the study) so it works out well for the blues to have boxes away from the shrubs.
Can’t find the article at the moment but it is online somewhere…was focused on TRES but had HOWR and EABL included. (I love that they did not just throw out all the data related to non-target birds! So valuable!)
Heh, live and learn! I now know that little table is not “safe” after all.
Thankfully I did manage to catch another male at work this week…but now I have a long weekend and have to visit family… would put it truly ‘safe’ inside somewhere, but not sure the feeder in the cage will hold enough for the weekend but hate to euthanize my only bait bird after they eluded me for weeks.. :P
I did see my blues at work this week! Yay!
No TRES yet but I expect them any day…now if only I could clear out the HOSP infestation before the TRES got here!
Na, a quick nestcheck should not deter them at all. If they like the box they will come back.
Now if you stood there banging a gong _all_ day…that may be a different story ;)
Ya…that ones hard. HOSP is not my first thought…but also not outside the realm of possibility…give it a bit more time before pulling it. I lean towards a blue though as that looks to fine and ‘nice’ for a HOSP. (but I have been tricked before…)
I don’t think they would have abandoned if they have built a nest and shown that much interest. Mine sometimes start and stop building and depending on the pair they may be sneaky when going to and from the nest. Give it some time and they likely will be back.
Now if there is NO nest then thy could just be visitors. With a nest? I think they will be committed and will come back.
I agree bluebirds can be awfully tolerant. We don’t give them enough credit sometimes.
That said maybe you could approach him if is a supper regular occurrence? Just let him know what the boxes are for and request he not disturb the boxes directly or move slightly away from the boxes if possible.
Hopefully you brought the Boy Scouts up to speed on proper housing, protection and monitoring. ;)
(What I saw a local group here do makes me cringe! UGH!)
You can also try something like the Magic Halo around the feeder or feeding area.
Using stiff mono-filament hanging around the feeder, seems to prevent the sparrows from approaching but cardinals and other native seem to not mind it.
I had one box used for roosting one year. Not so much usually. But this one year was exceptionally cold and when I opened the box in the spring it had 2 to 3 inches of droppings in the bottom! (and a dead BB :( but it had clearly continued to be used after that ones death) so that was really cool. I never took a photo of the droppings but really wish I had now. It hasn’t happened since. Often have to clean out a small number of droppings in the spring, but nothing indicating REGULAR use except for that once.
Brenda VR here. (successfully registered here, was on the old board) I am in Ontario, Canada. Got bit by the BB bug when I found the birders at the office had not been cleaning the boxes we had behind the office. We had a long term pair of Bluebirds there who had filled up one box right to the top with nests (I think I counted 5 or so) and were nearly done doing the same to the only suitable box left. So I took it on myself to clean them and just kinda fell down the rabbit hole….replaced the boxes, put up more….put up some in our other parklands…I think I’m infected with the Bluebird bug. ;P But mostly only have time to post here in forums in the winter when I am indoors more.