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A friend said he has a farm and wanted 3-bluebird nesting boxes. So I made four - one for myself. I made them out of poplar that I already had and painted them with paint that I had left over. The one in the picture is one that I replaced an older one. Generally the bluebirds will have 3-broods each year. They have 6-eggs in the first, then 5-eggs then 4. Fifteen or so years ago they only had two broods. I suspect the summers are longer now. I suspect they have more eggs with the first brood because there are more bugs for them to eat. That is my thoughts on it.

Also, when I put up a new box I generally throw a handful of pine needles on the ground nearby and they use it to make a nest. Then after Thanksgiving I clean out the box and put a handful of pine needle in the box. I have seen a dozen or so bluebird go into one box in late evening in the winter to stay warm. When spring comes they will make a nest out of the pine needles in the box.

Over the years I probably made 500 or more of these and put them up all over the Kentucky, Tenn. and Georgia.

Malcolm / Kentucky USA
 

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Theo
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Always nice to see a project like that. Would also be a good project for a new woodworker, do a useful project, and gain experience. Best part is one can be done with hand tools only.

Don't knows if he still does it, but years ago (when I went down Main Street a lot more often than now), a guy used to park a pickup in the town parking lot, several times during the summer, backed toward the sidewalk. The truck was loaded with bird houses. Never stopped to double-check but likely they were mostly meant for indoor decoration, because I could tell they were nicely decorated. Price was $25 each, and as far as I know he always left with an empt truck bed.
 

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Hi Malcolm
Sounds like you have been doing the Blue Bird house thing for a while. I would like to ask you a few questions. I have been wanting to build some Blue Bird houses for around my property in North Florida. I always see Blue Birds in the spring. I have about 5 acres. How many would you recommend I put up in that size area? I have farm fence around the whole thing. I was thinking about mounting them to the fence posts. What precautions do you have to take for predators? Could you give me the dimensions for the boxes? How often do you have to clean them?
Thanks Roxanne
 

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We don't have bluebirds. In researching bird boxes, the recommendation was to keep the wood raw, place the opening high and just big enough for the bird, both to keep preditary birds from reaching into the nest and eating the chicks. Also, no peg or pirch needed, just a slightly rough box front. I guess bluebirds can defend themselves, but our little finches need protections.
 

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Theo
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Hi Malcolm
Sounds like you have been doing the Blue Bird house thing for a while. I would like to ask you a few questions. I have been wanting to build some Blue Bird houses for around my property in North Florida. I always see Blue Birds in the spring. I have about 5 acres. How many would you recommend I put up in that size area? I have farm fence around the whole thing. I was thinking about mounting them to the fence posts. What precautions do you have to take for predators? Could you give me the dimensions for the boxes? How often do you have to clean them?
Thanks Roxanne
I researched for a bird house long ago. And was amazed on the amount of info out there. There is anything and everything you would ever want to know, all on-line, and free. Plans, perch or no perch, size of holes, where to mount, how to mount, how to clean, when to clean, you name it, you can find it.
 
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...snip...
What precautions do you have to take for predators? Could you give me the dimensions for the boxes? How often do you have to clean them?
Thanks Roxanne
I am not certain of the veracity of this information, but... Quite a while ago, I heard that bluebirds in the Pacific Northwest had been massively diminished due to nesting failure. That nesting failure was occurring due to take-over of their nesting sites by starlings. The solution that I heard at the time was to make the opening to the nest box just big enough for the bluebirds but too small for the starlings. I have not clue as to what those sized/dimensions are, but it would be nice to see the bluebirds come back.

IIRC, where I heard that was associated with the book "Bluebirds Seven", which follows a pair and their nesting/raising young. Publication date I saw on one for sale was 1978, which if it is its first printing, I had an original copy as my daughter was born in 1976 and the book was a gift from a friend for her and we dearly loved reading it. Enough so that I found another copy to read to my granddaughter (the original copy was chewed up by a dog).

Here is a link to an informative site on Bluebirds and building nest boxes.

I found the links to the plans did not work. I don't know if I have to be a registered user to download them or what. There is mention of the importance of the opening to exclude starlings, but more extensive discussion problems with sparrows taking over the nest boxes.
 

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Theo
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Worked fine for me.
Yes, interesting. The links were not working when working on my laptop. The iPad, they worked and I was able to download them. Frustrating. Don't know what "setting" isn't set right.

Rick
 

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And then there was the old radio program where the Indian with the slight speech impediment would greet with ""And may the bluebird of happiness s(h)it on your shoulder.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
For bluebirds as for as predators - raccoons, snakes, and probably cats are the biggest problem. I put my boxes on post where I installed a baffle, but not sure if you can find one. You might could make a baffle out of sheet metal or an old stove pipe. I occasionally get wens taking over the box. The hole is too small for starlings. If house sparrows start to build a nest in the box, generally the male will put a few sticks in the box then set on the top singing to attract a female. I place a small mouse trap in the box and it catches his leg, but can't get the trap through the hole. I open the box and release it. For some reason it decides this isn't a friendly neighborhood.

As for the number of boxes - I would say 3 or 4, but don't put the too close together because they will fight.

I placed mine about 5 feet off the ground and if possible not facing the south and west because of the evening sun shining in the hole. I either drill a 1 1/2" hole or overlapping 1 3/8 in holes - that is what I did with the latest batch. I also make it so one side pivots so I can clean the box. I generally wait until around Thanksgiving to clean the box out. I can make two boxes out of a 1 by 6 by 10' board. These are made of poplar. I leave the inside unfinished, but paint the outside to make them last longer.

I do not have plans. Like I do most of my stuff, I wing it. Malcolm / Kentucky USA

Oh, on the side that pivots, that side has to have clearance at the top for it to swing open, have to have a place at the bottom for you to get you fingers on it to open and it has to be loose enough for it not to bind.
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Here's a chart showing bird house dimensions, opening hole sizes, and mounting heights for about 25 species. I've been saving the PDF for a long time and don't remember where I found it.
 

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