I've just about had it!!! My poor Bluebirds!!!

Smiles Jr.

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I have tried for 6 years to coax bluebirds to stay on our property. Each spring I see bluebirds for only one or two weeks and then they are gone. I have studied and studied and studied on how to make them want to stay. I have built three blue bluebird houses according to all of the "expert's" advise. I even raise Mealworms for them whitch they LOVE. This year I have had a pair of bluebirds in one of the nesting boxes. The first five eggs were cracked by an intruder. I think it was House Sparrows. The second clutch of eggs were eaten by a raccoon who ripped the birdhouse apart. I rebuilt the nesting boxes and secured them better. Today I found that the THIRD clutch, who were hatched about three weeks ago, scattered on the ground dead. Tiny blue and brown feathers everywhere.
I just needed to vent. Sorry.
 

flowerbug

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I have tried for 6 years to coax bluebirds to stay on our property. Each spring I see bluebirds for only one or two weeks and then they are gone. I have studied and studied and studied on how to make them want to stay. I have built three blue bluebird houses according to all of the "expert's" advise. I even raise Mealworms for them whitch they LOVE. This year I have had a pair of bluebirds in one of the nesting boxes. The first five eggs were cracked by an intruder. I think it was House Sparrows. The second clutch of eggs were eaten by a raccoon who ripped the birdhouse apart. I rebuilt the nesting boxes and secured them better. Today I found that the THIRD clutch, who were hatched about three weeks ago, scattered on the ground dead. Tiny blue and brown feathers everywhere.
I just needed to vent. Sorry.

*sad face but love face too for trying*


they like open areas, fields, grasshoppers, perhaps they even need prairie or similar complexity? i don't know. i've enjoyed seeing them here at times and many of them, but it became a bit more grown up so i've not seen as many recently. i'm not even sure they are around this year at all.
 

ducks4you

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I think @flowerbug is right, top of a fencepost. If you have an open prairie-ish area, you could work on the post to make it squirrel and raccoon proof, maybe some barbed wire and grease it. I think it is predators, not another bird mauling the nestbox. Maybe use a PVC pipe, like 8 inches in diameter, too.
 

digitS'

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I know nothing about bird houses and encouraging tenants. I suppose that I especially don't know about encouraging bluebirds but I can sympathize, Smiles Jr.

The animals that can live near and with humans are limited. And, those that choose to and are successful also bring about change to the environment.

There was once plenty of bluebirds around here. Now, I almost never see them. There were meadow larks but not anymore. I haven't seen one in decades. What I imagine is that the starlings put too much pressure on them. The startling behaves quite differently but he is a relative so, maybe, they are in competition.

I suspect that I arrived here in the 60's about the same time that the starlings did. I moved north from Oregon/California after witnessing the starling-invasion there in the early 60's. The meadow larks were soon gone.

I was thinking recently that I never see shrikes sitting on fences along country roads, these days. Maybe I should get out further into the country. Maybe, I would be seeing some bluebirds out there, too. But then, would I be part of the problems in their lives just by driving around?

@Smiles Jr. , the Best of Luck with the Bluebirds.

Steve
 

flowerbug

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I know nothing about bird houses and encouraging tenants. I suppose that I especially don't know about encouraging bluebirds but I can sympathize, Smiles Jr.

The animals that can live near and with humans are limited. And, those that choose to and are successful also bring about change to the environment.

There was once plenty of bluebirds around here. Now, I almost never see them. There were meadow larks but not anymore. I haven't seen one in decades. What I imagine is that the starlings put too much pressure on them. The startling behaves quite differently but he is a relative so, maybe, they are in competition.

I suspect that I arrived here in the 60's about the same time that the starlings did. I moved north from Oregon/California after witnessing the starling-invasion there in the early 60's. The meadow larks were soon gone.

I was thinking recently that I never see shrikes sitting on fences along country roads, these days. Maybe I should get out further into the country. Maybe, I would be seeing some bluebirds out there, too. But then, would I be part of the problems in their lives just by driving around?

@Smiles Jr. , the Best of Luck with the Bluebirds.

Steve
i don't think they are adverse to human company. i used to see a lot of them here in the birdbaths, wrestling grasshoppers nearly as big as themselves in the limestone mulch. i think what didn't help is that we did take down the bird houses we had up because they were falling apart and being abused by the raccoons. you do need a certain shape and size and it has to be pretty sturdy to not be torn apart by raccoons. the hole and depth down in has to be long enough that a raccoon can't reach in and get the nest/eggs.

and if you do have bird houses up you should at least do some cleaning of them at least once a year to prevent disease issues.

 

Ridgerunner

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Vent away. You've followed the expert advice and you are attracting them, so you are doing something right. Mother nature can be cruel though, Some animals are predators, some are prey. Some can be both.

When I was in Arkansas I had a bluebird house on all four corners of my 2 ace property, that gave me the right spacing. They were all used and most years were successful. The biggest problem I had was snakes, but as long as they are not poisonous I wanted snakes around too. Raccoons weren't a big problem, I think only one nest got hit by them one year. I would typically trap and permanently remove 8 to 10 raccoons from that property each year. I was removing them for the benefit of the chickens, garden, fruit, and berries not for the bluebirds.

The only bird problem I had was barn swallows. I like barn swallows. I had some outbuildings I'd have loved to have them build on. One was a shed that overlooked a neighbor's farm pond, I'd have thought that a perfect habitat for them. But the only places they would build nests was my front porch or back porch. On a light fixture right at the front door, in a corner right at the human garage door, and next to my back porch door. It was a constant battle tearing down those nests as soon as they started them so they could not get to the egg phase. They'd come back every year and make repeated attempts in those same places. I never did find a nest on any of my outbuildings.
 

baymule

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You know, come to think of it, when we moved here close to 6 years ago, there were bluebird houses on fence posts down the road. They are gone now, probably fell apart. @Smiles Jr you have inspired me to build bluebird houses this winter and put them up. A neighbor has given us some scrap PVC that I can use for posts. We have a bird feeder up and enjoy the birds that come to it. Never any bluebirds though. Occasionally we get a blue bunting, do they nest the same as bluebirds? Now you have me on a quest.

I hope your bluebirds and you have better luck.
 

Smiles Jr.

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Here are my three hi-tech bluebird (bb) boxes. I found it very interesting to read articles from birders, nature lover's, and college professors on the care of bbs. I have seven plans on building bb nesting boxes. Each with it's own adaptations specifically for bbs. The "slot box" seems to be the latest popular design. A horizontal slot 1 3/16" tall at the top/front instead of a 1 1/2" round hole. Also there are things to do to ward off predators. The bbs seem to like the slot design. According to Cornell University the most common and the most vicious enemies of the bbs are House Sparrows and Starlings. The Sparrows go into the nesting box and crack all eggs or kill the hatchlings. The Starlings wait until the little guys fledge the nest and then attack and peck their heads off.
Great huh?
 
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