YOUR BLUEBIRD BOX
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
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.
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.)
can be used to attract bluebirds to a new
nest box and can provide valuable
supplemental food during nesting or
periods of cold weather.
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
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.
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.
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
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
larvae or pupas found in the nest. Some
styles of nest boxes make it easy to rake
the pupae out thebottom.
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.