Presentation on theme: "What makes a good bluebird nest box? Wood box on metal pole Floor space of 4” by 4” Entrance hole of 1½” diameter No perch on the front Floor allows drainage."— Presentation transcript:
What makes a good bluebird nest box? Wood box on metal pole Floor space of 4” by 4” Entrance hole of 1½” diameter No perch on the front Floor allows drainage Roof allows ventilation Front or side opens for easy inspection and cleanout Plans for building a bluebird nest box can be found on the Virginia Bluebird Society web site
Guards keep out the predators Noel Guard - Wire mesh around the nest box entrance prevents raccoons, cats, other mammals, and large birds from reaching inside the box. Snake Guard - Round, metal ductwork on the pole keeps snakes and other predators from climbing up to the box. Note: Mount the box on a metal pole, not a fence post or telephone pole. Protect eggs & chicks from being eaten!
The Importance of Predator Guards!
Monitoring Keeping tabs on the bluebirds People need to check on nest boxes every week during the nesting season, April through August. These monitors keep records, deal with problems, and evict house sparrows. Don’t install a box unless it will be monitored. Myth: Monitoring will disturb bluebirds and cause them to desert the nest. Fact: Bluebirds are tolerant of careful monitoring.
We have ways of dealing with problems … Rub bar soap on the box to keep away wasps Put heavy grease on the pole to keep out the ants.
Non-native house sparrows will take over if monitors don’t remove their nests.
They will chase away or kill the bluebirds, pecking the chicks and adults to death.
Thanks to volunteers and nest boxes, the bluebirds are back!
Monitors love witnessing the lifecycle of a bluebird
Establishing Territory In February, the male selects a nest site, and sings to attract a female and warn away other males. Each bluebird pair needs about 2 to 3.5 acres.
Courtship In March, the female responds to the male’s song & territory.
Nest Building In April, the female makes the final nest site selection, and takes 5 to 10 days to build the nest. She arranges grasses or pine needles and molds the cup with her breast.
Egg Laying The female lays one egg each morning for 3 to 6 days.
Incubating the Eggs The female sits on the eggs to keep them warm for about two weeks. She only leaves the nest for short periods of time. She begins incubating all the eggs at the same time so the chicks will hatch and fledge together.
Hatching All the chicks will hatch within a few hours of each other. The female will brood (warm) the featherless chicks for 8 days.
Day 1 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8Day 9 Day 12 Day 13 Day 15Day 16
Note: The previous slides showing a bird in the hand were with a licensed bird bander. Do NOT handle baby or adult birds!
Feeding The parents feed the chicks insects up to five times per hour each day, from dawn to dusk.
Cleaning the Nest The parents keep the nest clean by carrying away the fecal sacs with the chicks’ waste.