Welcome Eastern Bluebirds!

Eastern Bluebirds are lovely birds; I watched two of them earlier this winter eating smooth sumac seed pods off my back porch, their blue feathers bright against white snow. A little larger than a sparrow, Eastern Bluebirds live off garden insects and help keep insect populations in check. Early March is the time in Missouri to get Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes in place so these lovely birds can settle in for one of their three yearly nestings. Eastern Bluebirds were on the decline until a concerted effort by amateur bird enthusiasts put up nesting boxes and watched over them. The are the state bird for many states, including Missouri.

There's a bit of controversy over what is the best bluebird house to use.

In general, cedar homes with at least 7/8 inch walls and at least 4x4 inch floors seem to be the eastern bluebird's favorite nesting spots. Bigger the better.

I'm putting up Gilbertson PVC nest boxes along Bluebird Lane this year.

To make Eastern Bluebirds most comfortable, install boxes at least 5 feet high facing away from the sun and prevailing winds, open to the surrounding area for easy fly-in access. Some people prefer to mount nesting boxes on pipes in the ground; my eastern bluebirds have comfortably used nesting boxes on trees. Monitor to make sure sparrows and other birds don't move in. There are a number of bluebird house kits you can make; get plans or buy from someone who makes them like KNWoodworks. These lovely birds love mealy worms so if you want to see them closer, stock up on a supply and provide them in a bird feeding station close to a window.

That's one thing bird-watching definitely teaches, it pays to be patient!

What luck have you had putting up bluebird nest boxes? Do you enjoy bird-watching and have some tips to share?