May 11, 2022 at 10:48 am #24346
I have two Gilwood nest boxes. I had a successful bluebird nest in one of them with the babies fledging on Tuesday, May 3rd. Today is Wednesday, May 11th.
I put a Sparrow Shield on the box after the babies fledged and cleaned out the box. I’ve never used a sparrow shield before, but had problems with HOSP after the babies left last summer and wanted to keep them from even checking out the boxes if possible. “The Sparrow Shield is designed to be a passive deterrent to keep house sparrows from claiming a nest box. The metal ring has four lines which hang down around the entrance hole. The weights are 1/2 ounce ultra steel on the heavy duty twisted lines to help keep them untangled and help prevent birds from getting tangled in them.” Yes, I do use a sparrow spooker after the first egg is laid and have a Van Ert trap.
How long does it take before bluebirds start a second nest? I thought they would have started by now. I did see the female go in the box yesterday, and the male was sitting on the sparrow shield. They were only there briefly. I thought the sparrow shield might be keeping them from using the box, so I took it down last night.
Do you think they have found another box somewhere, or is there still a chance they’ll use this one again?
East TennesseeMay 11, 2022 at 9:45 pm #24351Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
You never know for sure – my pair had another nest started in the same box just a day or two after fledging of 1st nest. Usually they have one started fairly quick but not always. Have you looked in your other box yet? I usually do not put on a sparrow spooker until the first egg is laid – then put it up and also a wren guard if possible. I am not familiar with the type of sparrow shield you are talking about – never heard of this shield. If you have been feeding mealworms they will more than likely return – but if not, they may go elsewhere. Others need to chime in here.May 11, 2022 at 10:22 pm #24354JulieParticipant
Carol, I found a pic of that sparrow shield online. I have dangling fishing line on my one Gilbertson box. It’s the box most used by bluebirds. The lines don’t seem to deter them at all. Actually I’ve seen tree swallows, chickadees and bluebirds checking it out, but those lines with the metal nut weights have been there forever. It could be that your just putting that sparrow shield up means the bluebirds will have to get used to it, although if he was sitting on it and she went into the box, they’re clearly not super deterred by it. I’d leave it off for now since you’ve taken it down. Just wait and see.
Next year, if you want to use the sparrow shield, put it up early in the nesting season, before the action gets going. I will add that clever sparrows with excellent flight skills can navigate between my fishing lines and land at the hole. It’s not many who can, but every so often a clever male manages to do it. The females, not so much.May 12, 2022 at 8:00 am #24364
Thank you Carol. I made another post yesterday about having a Carolina Chickadee nest in my other box. I don’t put the Sparrow Spooker up until after the first egg is laid, and I do have a wren guard ready to use after the first egg is laid also. I didn’t use the wren guard with the first nesting because the HOWR aren’t here yet. I saw the first one last year on May 28th.
I feed dried mealworms but stopped after the babies were born because I read that the babies need water which dried mealworms don’t have. I just started feeding them again a couple of days ago. I do soak them and put calcium powder on them, but I’ll stop feeding them when the second clutch is born if they choose my nest box.
Yesterday I saw the male bluebird sitting on my roof looking at the nest box. That was encouraging.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by NickNackHummer.
East TennesseeMay 12, 2022 at 8:02 am #24366
Thank you Julie! I should have put the Sparrow Shield up sooner. I’d never used one before and just wasn’t sure. I do use a sparrow spooker after the first egg is laid.
East TennesseeMay 12, 2022 at 9:56 am #24367Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
Julie, thanks for the info but I don’t believe I will be using this “shield” – for about 14 years now I have had good luck with the regular wooden boxes – and using the sparrow SPOOKER and wren guard after 1st egg is laid, and a heat shield when needed in mid-summer. Whatever works the best for each person is the way to go I believe – not right for every one and every place always.
E. Tennessee Carol – Good luck with your Chickadee nest. You are on target about putting up these deterrents AFTER the 1st egg is laid – the theory being that once that first egg is laid they are committed to the nest/box and will usually not be bothered by them. Exception might be with a very new mama bird getting used to these deterrents.May 12, 2022 at 9:33 pm #24369JulieParticipant
MO-Carol, thanks for your comment–you are so right! I was directing my comment to TN-Carol. So funny!! I agree with your approach—definitely not one size fits all in any of this. That’s something I learn anew every year. Appreciate you so much!!! Your experience and wisdom is always good to hear. Thanks!!May 21, 2022 at 8:05 pm #24462RobbeParticipant
Just wondering if any of you have your BB boxes facing the north. I know preference is facing east but sometimes not possible for open placement. I love on edge of woods.
Robbe, West Bend, WIMay 21, 2022 at 8:07 pm #24463RobbeParticipant
Correction: LIVE on edge of woods!
Robbe, West Bend, WI
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