Bluebird
care

- Bluebird intro

- Species profile

- Bluebird boxes

- Bluebird trails

- Bluebird care

- Resources

  


 

MONITORING YOUR BLUEBIRD BOX
Checking your bluebird box during the nesting season is an important step in insuring the nesting success of your bluebirds. Check the box at least once a week during the nesting season but do not open the box after nestling are 12 to 14 days old. (The fledglings might leave the box before they can fly.) Visit the "bluebird boxes" section for additional information.


Bluebirds feed primarily on insects in the spring and summer and turn more to berries and seed in the fall and winter. By far the most successful supplemental food source that can be provided to bluebirds is the mealworm.

Mealworms are the larval form of the darkling beetle (Tenebrio molitor). They are clean and easy to raise. They are a nutritious food supplement readily accepted by many species including bluebirds. (They do not carry human diseases.)

Mealworms can be used to attract bluebirds to a new nest box and can provide valuable supplemental food during nesting or periods of cold weather.

Mealworms can be purchased from several commercial suppliers or you can raise your own. The North American Bluebird Society has information on raising mealworms on their Web site.

If you do not already have bluebirds in or around your yard, just putting out mealworms probably will not result in instant bluebirds. (Although other birds, especially in winter, will love having the mealworms available.) Once bluebirds become accustomed to watching for their mealworm treat, however, they will show up almost immediately after the mealworms have been put in place.

The mealworms can be placed in a cup, on a saucer or in a hopper type feeder with holes in both ends that will help eliminate larger species.


PREDATORS
House cats and raccoons are among the most serious predators. A house with a large slanted roof and overhang can prevent the cat or raccoon from reaching over and into the nest box. A shield can be placed on the mounting pole to prevent animals and snakes from climbing up the pole.

PARASITES
The blowfly is the most serious bluebird parasite. Eggs laid in the nesting material hatch into larvae which attach themselves to baby birds. The larvae then go into the pupa stage (dark brown oval cases about 3/8 in. long) which hatch into adult blowflies to repeat the cycle.

Remove larvae or pupas found in the nest. Some styles of nest boxes make it easy to rake the pupae out thebottom.

Ants can sometimes be a problem. Soak Q-tips or pipe cleaners in ant poison and staple inside the bottom of the box. Do not leave any excess poison on the Q-tip.


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