bluebird competition

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TS Wilson
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:52 pm
Location: LA / Natchitoches

I'm trying to establish a new colony since moving to Natchitoches, LA. I raised a brand new trio MK12 with expanded compartments and hung 2 gourds underneath. Within minutes I noticed a bluebird sitting on the house. I'm unable to adequately monitor the site yet and soon saw evidence of nest building. As much as I hated to, I plugged all holes (left the gourds open) and hung a bluebird box on the nearest tree (approx 50 ft away). I hate to waste a good window of opportunity to attract a pair but fear the bluebirds will dominate. The area I'm in appears to be run over with them with a lot of available housing in folks' yards. Thoughts anyone?
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Martin Colony History: 2009-2015-Helped to manage Raleigh site, 36 cavities
2016- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 1 pair at home site.
2017- 34 pairs at Raleigh site, 3 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2018- 33 pairs at Raleigh site, 5 pairs + extra SYs at home site
2019 - 32 pairs at Raleigh site, 7 pairs at home site, 2 pairs at new Holly Springs park site

Some people have had luck with using the Dan Drew protocol here: ... GENCY.html

Bluebird competition is a common problem! Bluebirds also will often sit on top of martin housing and use it as a hunting perch as well, and not necessarily nest in the housing, so even after you have them moved into a bluebird house, you may continue to see that behavior.
NC Purple Martin Society (PMCA affiliate)
Posts: 386
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:11 pm
Location: Denham Springs, La
Martin Colony History: 2014 1 pair 3 hatched 3 fledged
2015 1 pair 5 hatched 5 fledged
2016 1 pair 5 hatched 4 fledged
2017 2 pair 8 hatched 8 fledged
2018 4 pair 15 hatched

The same thing happened to me, I'm in Denham Springs La. I did exactly what you did and the bluebirds took to the housing put up for them just find. When they started nesting in the new box I unplugged my martin house. I have regular visits form martins and the bluebirds don't mind a bit. You did great I would think good luck with the season, hope you get more than just bluebirds. Mary
Dave W
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:31 pm
Location: Oregon/WI

I had martins and a bluebird pair nest in the same gourd rack 2 years ago. There was only 1 pair of martins using this 8 gourd rack so they got along great and both fledged young. It was pretty late in the season and the bluebirds were on their second nest (late June) and the martins already had young. That was a bonus I think :grin:
2016- 10 pair
2015-9 pair
2014-4 pair and a bluebird brood
2013- 9 pair
2012- 7 pairs - fledged 39 plus a bluebird brood in a gourd;
2011- 3 pairs - fledged 13 young:
birdy girl
Posts: 1178
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:09 am
Location: Mississippi/Dumas

Your blue birds may or may not build in your box on the tree. They generally like to be in an open area with coverage nearby. We used to put BB boxes on pasture fence posts and trees until we pulled a snake out of the Bb box on the tree. Unfortunately the snake had eaten the babies. Since then we put boxes on metal post with preditor guards on the posts ( 6" wide x 4' tall PVC pipe).
My neighbor has had many snakes to raid her BB boxes because she doesn't use preditor guards on her BB posts. Just trying to save you some heartache.

Hope you get martins this year.
TS Wilson
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:52 pm
Location: LA / Natchitoches

Thanks guys. I did reference the Dan Drew protocol when I realized I may have trouble. I know hanging a BB box on a tree isn't ideal for the bluebirds but it would be ideal for the martins if they vacate the house! I was unable to observe any activity today but did find nesting material in the BB box. I'll update in a few days. If I'm lucky I'll have a founding pair shortly.
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