Attracting Bluebirds!

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
marcus
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 10:21 pm
Location: Fairland OK
Martin Colony History: Mom n Dad had a plastic 12 unit martin house with some martins as long as I can remember. In 2013 they had 1 pair. I don't think they fledged any. I then started learning how to take care of martins and in 2014 we took that house down and put up a Troyer 18 gourd rack. We had 7 pair with 28 fledged.That summer I built a T-14 (I was only 12). I was also given 4 natural gourds that I hung beneath the T-14. In 2015, we had 23 pair although only 22 pair fledged young. They fledged 88 young. In 2016, we had 36 pair, 210 eggs, 163 hatched, 149 fledge!! One pair fledged 2 broods. In 2017, I had 36 pair with 35 fledging young. They laid 204 eggs, hatched 155, and fledged 152.

Kyler,
I still recommend you getting that booklet. It has plans for a sparrow resistant house, a feeder, and an insert sparrow trap that works in most other houses. Also, it tells you how to raise your own mealworms and how to train them to eat from your hand!! :) Also, does any one know, are we allowed to recommend products sold in the pmca shop? :?:
Kyler
Posts: 893
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:15 pm
Location: Colby, Kansas
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member - Project MartinWatch - Enlarged Compartments - SREH - S&S Control - Mite Control - Predator Guards - Heat Control ( Vents and Insulation ) - Supplemental Feeding -

Manage 8 Colonies that consist of 250 Cavities in Colby Kansas.

Offer 78 Cavities Main Site
Offer 12 Cavities Golf Course
Offer 30 Cavities Grandpa’s Public Site
Offer 28 Cavities Grandpa’s Site
Offer 12 Cavities Homeowners Site
Offer 48 Cavities Homeowners Site
Offer 6 Cavities Home Site
Offer 36 Cavties Homeowners Site

Mark,
Thanks so much! just was wondering if my dimensions are correct!

Kyler,
Purple Martin Landlords of Northwest KS
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9HDLGlbCmSYcSExIySwUQA

2013 & 2015 - 0 Pair -
2014 - 1 Pair - 4 Eggs - 3 Hatched - 3 Fledged -
2016 - 5 Pair - 27 Eggs - 24 Hatched - 13 Fledged -
2017 - 18 Pair - 102 Eggs - 78 Hatched - 69 Fledged -
2018 - 22 Pair - 115 Eggs - 92 Hatched - 86 Fledged -
2019 - 28 Pair - 144 Eggs - 131 Hatched - 125 Fledged -
2020 - 40 Pair - 190 Eggs - 133 Hatched - 111 Fledged So Far - (Bad Year! To Many Single SY Males)
John & Linda - KY
Posts: 599
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:19 pm
Location: Kentucky/Hawesville

The only thing I would add to what you've already done or has already been mentioned is to keep other birds from nesting in your box. If the offending birds are house sparrows, eliminate them. If they are native birds such as tree swallows, block the entrance until they choose another location to nest. Good luck, it's not too late to attract bb's this season. -- John
marcus
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 10:21 pm
Location: Fairland OK
Martin Colony History: Mom n Dad had a plastic 12 unit martin house with some martins as long as I can remember. In 2013 they had 1 pair. I don't think they fledged any. I then started learning how to take care of martins and in 2014 we took that house down and put up a Troyer 18 gourd rack. We had 7 pair with 28 fledged.That summer I built a T-14 (I was only 12). I was also given 4 natural gourds that I hung beneath the T-14. In 2015, we had 23 pair although only 22 pair fledged young. They fledged 88 young. In 2016, we had 36 pair, 210 eggs, 163 hatched, 149 fledge!! One pair fledged 2 broods. In 2017, I had 36 pair with 35 fledging young. They laid 204 eggs, hatched 155, and fledged 152.

The book I referenced also tells you how to make sets of 2 bb boxes one for ts and 1 for bb. I would certainly enjoy ts if we only had them. :grin:
Kyler
Posts: 893
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:15 pm
Location: Colby, Kansas
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member - Project MartinWatch - Enlarged Compartments - SREH - S&S Control - Mite Control - Predator Guards - Heat Control ( Vents and Insulation ) - Supplemental Feeding -

Manage 8 Colonies that consist of 250 Cavities in Colby Kansas.

Offer 78 Cavities Main Site
Offer 12 Cavities Golf Course
Offer 30 Cavities Grandpa’s Public Site
Offer 28 Cavities Grandpa’s Site
Offer 12 Cavities Homeowners Site
Offer 48 Cavities Homeowners Site
Offer 6 Cavities Home Site
Offer 36 Cavties Homeowners Site

I have heard that house wrens chase off bluebirds? Like keeping them away from the nest boxes? One of my boxes has a wren nest that fledged babies when I was gone so I could put up a different box for them. I'm just wondering are wrens a threat to Bluebirds?

Kyler,
Purple Martin Landlords of Northwest KS
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9HDLGlbCmSYcSExIySwUQA

2013 & 2015 - 0 Pair -
2014 - 1 Pair - 4 Eggs - 3 Hatched - 3 Fledged -
2016 - 5 Pair - 27 Eggs - 24 Hatched - 13 Fledged -
2017 - 18 Pair - 102 Eggs - 78 Hatched - 69 Fledged -
2018 - 22 Pair - 115 Eggs - 92 Hatched - 86 Fledged -
2019 - 28 Pair - 144 Eggs - 131 Hatched - 125 Fledged -
2020 - 40 Pair - 190 Eggs - 133 Hatched - 111 Fledged So Far - (Bad Year! To Many Single SY Males)
marcus
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 10:21 pm
Location: Fairland OK
Martin Colony History: Mom n Dad had a plastic 12 unit martin house with some martins as long as I can remember. In 2013 they had 1 pair. I don't think they fledged any. I then started learning how to take care of martins and in 2014 we took that house down and put up a Troyer 18 gourd rack. We had 7 pair with 28 fledged.That summer I built a T-14 (I was only 12). I was also given 4 natural gourds that I hung beneath the T-14. In 2015, we had 23 pair although only 22 pair fledged young. They fledged 88 young. In 2016, we had 36 pair, 210 eggs, 163 hatched, 149 fledge!! One pair fledged 2 broods. In 2017, I had 36 pair with 35 fledging young. They laid 204 eggs, hatched 155, and fledged 152.

I don't know too much about wrens. They're kinda scarce around our area. I have one house for them but the chickadees nest in it. I haven't ever had a wren nest but I think I've heard they have a small well guarded territory. -Marcus
marcus
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 10:21 pm
Location: Fairland OK
Martin Colony History: Mom n Dad had a plastic 12 unit martin house with some martins as long as I can remember. In 2013 they had 1 pair. I don't think they fledged any. I then started learning how to take care of martins and in 2014 we took that house down and put up a Troyer 18 gourd rack. We had 7 pair with 28 fledged.That summer I built a T-14 (I was only 12). I was also given 4 natural gourds that I hung beneath the T-14. In 2015, we had 23 pair although only 22 pair fledged young. They fledged 88 young. In 2016, we had 36 pair, 210 eggs, 163 hatched, 149 fledge!! One pair fledged 2 broods. In 2017, I had 36 pair with 35 fledging young. They laid 204 eggs, hatched 155, and fledged 152.

That being said, I am almost certain I saw a wren checking out my wren house out today. That is a first. Didn't get a good look at it but I heard it sing and I'm certain it was a house wren. I listened to a video clip of one to make sure that I was identifying the song right. It looked like it barely had a tail. :roll: -Marcus
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

All sounds like good ideas and promise for blue birds. When i was a young scout we built my first box 50 or so years ago. At that time it was
not up to design standards which we employ today. Today you can buy find foxes at some stores, Tractor Supply, Meijr Food Store, Menards
Hardware and other hardware stores. On line blue bird box plans are offered for review. However some do not have depth with cut lines inside
for the young to clime up and out of the deep box. You want a deep box so the mother bird sits deeper or shallow box leaves issue of mother bird getting eyes pecked out while on the shallow box nest looking out the entrance hole. In addition you need one which can be cleaned out and
frequently checked to remove sparrow nest etc, along with other nest checks. Some boxes open from the front and lift up from bottom with
the side pivot higher on the side down from entrance hole. Problem is that the young when older may leave early when opened. Others like
the box to open at the front top and open downward this is better is slowing the early exist. The top opening shown by the other landlord looks
good and we trust his reason is to slow exit etc. Blue Bird Society is an inexpensive way to consider in working with landlords who are very knowledgeable. You can go on line and locate them with similar format of purple martin etc. We like a slightly larger box to have a larger
clutch Stokes have a nice box but does not open from the top or top front, has an extended hole guard. I like the photo of the box shown on
the comments herein. Thanks for your comments and landlord team help, Ohio foxie
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

My brother has some added acres with fenced area having some dogs. His houses are painted white or natural wood and not dark colors to help reduce heat gain in summer. His houses are spaced good distances apart but some are in good spaced pairs. What happens the symbiotic relations develop between the tree swallow and blue bird. Tree Swallow will protect their house and in so doing help the nearby Blue Bird and kick butt to the the sparrows etc. Brother Chuck told me he has his boxes more in the open areas as wood areas attract Wren and or Sparrow with more dense items surrounding the box. We built his earlier houses ans some we made a litter larger on floor size to help Tree Swallows and also the Blue Birds.
However one of the very smaller size boxes did have BB. Sparrows will kill BB and some talk indicates sparrows will build a nest on top of the dead blue bird. Many years ago I recall when a member PM that a PM Landlord found that take over issue and was so made indicated he was going out and down area and kill bulls ie male sparrows. I am considering building the auto sparrow trap for placement away for the BB Houses. It is recommended that the houses not be placed in a bird seed food lot area but away from that attraction.
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

Brother Chuck has Blue Birds year round and offers some Blue Bird Feed to help them special in Winter Months, They come and sit on back steps ant the door to ask for more food. Some places on this site and others we read that the Tree Swallows come in and sake out PM House and dominate etc
and it was advised not to let this happen by having other box placement and attract them to secondary BB House same for BB. I purchased a small plastic smaller blue dog food bowl and are working to make a hanger for it to serve as alternate BB Feeder. Noted one that be attached to a window BB Feeder. Some stores stock meal dried worms and fishing bait stores offer live meal worms. We raised meal works for fishing years ago but moved and have not set up for them. At that time we obtained a large drum and placed very small air drill holes densely in the lid 'small enoguh that the worm or parent bug could not exit. In the drum we placed a good supply of meal from the farm store. Additional old papers, and old burlap bag and some other mixed items to make a layered junk mess with meal scattered in between the layers. Slightly moist on a couple areas so as not to attract mold. Some apple sections added to the junk food pile. One could open the lid and the adult would try to fly out and in addition you could find tons of meal worms just lift up the sections and pick them up. We are sure others have added stories and advise to their ideas and Help. Thanks for your comments and team help to our land lord friend. foxie
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

Hope comments on the Blue Birds are helpful. I like the BB landlord comments and photo on his BB Houe opining from the top. Hope are comments are on the correct continuation request for Blue Bird info. Thanks
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

Oh yes almost forgot it may not be the best thing to have the cage idea at this time. you can place added hole wood guard and pole guards.
Owl Problem then other issue. Also might not put meal worms on the top of the box I tried that before and not good result. Place a feeder or blue bowl feeder close by they will find it with some BB Food Pellets I think berries and or the worms. Other birds may be attracted to the box for the feed and this can cause some conflict with occupation in the box and or selection. Check out Blue Bird Society as we talked with the one VP in Ohio who serves 50 or more houses on a trail and was most informative. foxie
BrendaVR
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 12:44 pm
Location: Ontario/Burlington

There is a website dedicated entirely to bluebirds to: sialis.org

For House Wrens they like nesting in shruby areas. Just place your box more than 30 meters away from any shrubs and you should not have wrens.

For attracting Eastern Bluebirds you want to place the box in a nice open area free of trees and shrubs. Mature trees can be ok but shrubs are just a House Wren magnet. Fully open areas are the safest (if trees visible over 30 or 40 M away that will give the young something aim for and to hide in after fledging).

For other birds using the box you just need to "pair" the box, place two boxes within 10 feet of each other, so that the other bird (usually Tree Swallows -TRES) can use one and leave the other open for the Eastern Bluebirds. The Tree Swallows will defend a small area around their nest so no other Tree Swallows will be allowed to nest in that area but the bluebirds they live fine with as neighbors. Eastern Bluebirds will defend about 90 meters around their nestbox so adding more boxes within that area will NOT attract more bluebirds, the male will defend everything in this area from other bluebirds so if you want more than one nest at a time you need to have them widely spaced; more than 90 meters apart.

When push comes to shove if the bluebird wants the nestbox he will take it. My current pair fledged their first brood early (compared to the TRES) and then decided they wanted the 'paired' box for their second brood so kicked the TRES out, and built their second broods nest on top of the TRES eggs (that were due to hatch any day). :( My Bluebirds always get the box they want. So it is a myth that TRES "prevent" bluebirds from having a box. Its best to pair boxes to (try to) prevent conflicts, but if a EABL really wants the box they are able to take it. Tree Swallows are in decline in much of their range to. They can nest perfectly fine side by side so no need to discourage TRES.

You need a predator baffle on the post/pole. I like the Kingston stovepipe baffle an use it on all my poles (no depredation yet). I often combine it with grease on the pole (stops ants and mice if they make it past the stovepipe) but many use just grease for a good length up the pole (not 100% raccoon proof but a good deterrent). Theres a few photos of how I did my stovepipe baffle ofer here: http://bluebirdnutcafe.yuku.com/topic/5 ... 30hLqJMdwM
The wooden block over the entrance hole really does nothing (racoon can easily reach in still). If the hole size is the issue then use a metal hole guard/hole reducer. Noel guards are a good last chance at protection but ideally the predator never gets up there to try to reach in and it should never be the only predator protection.

I second the mention of Bluebird Society, find your local one and get to know them. They will have lots of experience and advice.
BrendaVR
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 12:44 pm
Location: Ontario/Burlington

PS: size of box: I always like bigger better. My EABL have chosen the larger boxes when they had a choice. Most of mine are 5 or 6 inches across the bottom and 8 inches deep to the entrance hole. Most EABL house plans call for a 4 inch floor which can be ok for Eastern Bluebirds but is far to small for Tree Swallows (because they have larger broods and longer wings!) so I always go bigger.
marcus
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 10:21 pm
Location: Fairland OK
Martin Colony History: Mom n Dad had a plastic 12 unit martin house with some martins as long as I can remember. In 2013 they had 1 pair. I don't think they fledged any. I then started learning how to take care of martins and in 2014 we took that house down and put up a Troyer 18 gourd rack. We had 7 pair with 28 fledged.That summer I built a T-14 (I was only 12). I was also given 4 natural gourds that I hung beneath the T-14. In 2015, we had 23 pair although only 22 pair fledged young. They fledged 88 young. In 2016, we had 36 pair, 210 eggs, 163 hatched, 149 fledge!! One pair fledged 2 broods. In 2017, I had 36 pair with 35 fledging young. They laid 204 eggs, hatched 155, and fledged 152.

Sorry Kyler. I am afraid I am turning this thread into Attracting Wrens. :oops: This morning the tailless wren was bringing sticks in the house and singing a lot. The chickadees didn't seem happy to see him. I have another wren house and I am not sure how far to place it from the other house so that the chickadees can have one and the wrens can have the other and they will both be happy. -Marcus
Kyler
Posts: 893
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:15 pm
Location: Colby, Kansas
Martin Colony History: PMCA Member - Project MartinWatch - Enlarged Compartments - SREH - S&S Control - Mite Control - Predator Guards - Heat Control ( Vents and Insulation ) - Supplemental Feeding -

Manage 8 Colonies that consist of 250 Cavities in Colby Kansas.

Offer 78 Cavities Main Site
Offer 12 Cavities Golf Course
Offer 30 Cavities Grandpa’s Public Site
Offer 28 Cavities Grandpa’s Site
Offer 12 Cavities Homeowners Site
Offer 48 Cavities Homeowners Site
Offer 6 Cavities Home Site
Offer 36 Cavties Homeowners Site

Foxie,
Thanks so much that helped me so much!

This first picture is of one of my boxes with the wire guard!

Image

Just some other pictures of where it is located! I think it is in a pretty good spot! Do you guys think?

Image

Image

Image

And no I don't have a guard on the pole but I will be getting one!!

Kyler,
Purple Martin Landlords of Northwest KS
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9HDLGlbCmSYcSExIySwUQA

2013 & 2015 - 0 Pair -
2014 - 1 Pair - 4 Eggs - 3 Hatched - 3 Fledged -
2016 - 5 Pair - 27 Eggs - 24 Hatched - 13 Fledged -
2017 - 18 Pair - 102 Eggs - 78 Hatched - 69 Fledged -
2018 - 22 Pair - 115 Eggs - 92 Hatched - 86 Fledged -
2019 - 28 Pair - 144 Eggs - 131 Hatched - 125 Fledged -
2020 - 40 Pair - 190 Eggs - 133 Hatched - 111 Fledged So Far - (Bad Year! To Many Single SY Males)
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

Kyler Thanks for the feedback on the BB talk. We agree with her comments mentioned on size of the floor being a bit bigger. I like to put the
hole guard on the front of the box to increase the depth of the hole and make it a bit harder for a reach in to the birds from outsiders. Okay
do not know where you located the boxes and or how far away from your house etc. Brother has dogs on back couple of acres all fenced to keep dogs in and other out so he has had no problems. The Ohio VP for Blue Bird Society suggested not close to roads as the young and adults can be killed by cars as the may fly to cross over the road to and from the house box. My dad was a rural mail carrier years ago and he would talk about the Blue Birds being in the road or along the edge and almost like in a daze when he approached with the car. Perhaps high on salt or some issues with the road materials ? I like the Ontario lady views with comments as we too agree with her thoughts and findings. Good Birds Good Fun addition to any landlord. foxie
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

Just thought of the LARGE DIA. PVC PIPE SLIP OVER THE existing bird box pole being a long slippery climb for predators. have not used it has anyone have experience?
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

Brenda VR sorry to refer to the lady from Ontario as we had to go back and look up you comments. Viewed the site photo's and looks like real rural area with some trees and brush in the background on one photo. Perhaps you could share thinking on site and placement you find helpful?
Foxie
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am
Location: S.E. OHIO

Wrens, Brother Chuck has an area behind the house being a couple acres and Wren nests in the box behind the barn adjacent to the back woods as hit's territory and does not come vary far away from the barn into the open yard area in front of barn containing BB and TS Boxes. One site for Blue Birds or Wrens indicated Wrens are hard keen on their territory while some may not be so harsh. Comments indicated to keep them out of the
area and your boxes. Further comments pointed out the Wren is protected and you cannot destroy their active egg nesting sites. Their boxes are
usually full of sticks at the start and this may not be a nest box but a tact to keep out do not use this dead box to other birds. Any comments
marcus?

mar
Post Reply