Ask The County Agent: Building a Bluebird House

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By Stephanie A. Butcher, Special to The Shopper

Question: Can you provide information on how to build a bluebird house?

Agent: Bluebirds will be here soon! If you are an avid bird watcher or just enjoy seeing birds around your house, this is the perfect time to install a bluebird box.

In February, male bluebirds begin searching for a home to build their nest. Toward the end of March and into April the nest has been built and is usually well on its way to being filled with bluebird eggs.

This is a great project for anyone – especially those families with little ones at home. It is great fun for them to watch and monitor baby birds as they grow!

Building
Building a bluebird nesting box is not as difficult as you may think. You will need a standard (untreated) board 1 inch x 6 inches x 4 feet long, a saw, a hammer, some nails and a little time. It should be made of untreated wood and should be easy to open for monitoring and cleaning. Visit ugaextension.org/coweta for exact instructions.

Installing
Place your bluebird box on a metal pole instead of trees or wooden posts. Install your box approximately 100 feet away from any wooded areas and at least 150 yards from another bluebird box as these birds are territorial.

Fortunately, bluebirds do not use tape measures, so just approximate your measurements and it should be fine.

Monitoring
Be sure to check on your bluebird box often. Once a week is good. Contrary to popular belief, bluebirds do not have a tremendous sense of smell so you can touch the box and even touch the baby birds without the risk of the parents abandoning the nest.

Keep in Mind
Predators can be a problem. If you are in a heavily populated area, the risk of cats, aggressive, non-native species of birds and squirrels may pose a threat. Similarly, in less populated areas raccoons, feral cats and snakes can risk the bluebirds’ safety.

You can reduce predator problems by using a predator baffle, thus deterring predators from climbing the posts.

For more information about building and installing bluebird nesting boxes, contact the Coweta County Extension office at 770-254-2620 or email [email protected].

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Veteran, Disability Institution.

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