BLUEBIRD SITES FOR YOU TO VISIT:
American Bird Conservancy:
conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout America.
Birding Association: all things bird . . .
The Bluebird Box:
a lot of great info for bluebirders.
Cam Live: live video feed of a variety of birds in their nesting
boxes. Shots are updated every minute.
Reference Guide: anything and everything you ever wanted to know
Bluebird-L Reference Guide:
provides a wellspring of info to broaden your bluebird and nest-box
Forum: have questions? Go here for answers.
Cam: okay, so these aren't Bluebirds, but you'll get a bird's-eye
view of a Bald Eagle nest, no pun intended.
Ed from MA:
a bluebirding enthusiast offering a lot of helpful information.
Sparrow Trap: when they refuse to leave, you gotta take action.
Monofilament Solution: could this be the answer to the house sparrow
The Nest Box: one bird lover's dedication clearly shows with this
Box Plans: several plans to choose from.
American Bluebird Society: one of the most information-rich sites
out there. You'll quickly find that bluebirding is a sub-culture all
out site that delivers a whole lot of information on bludbirding.
a lot of information by another bluebirding enthusiast.
Centers of America: here you can buy houses, or just buy the poles
and meal worms that bluebirds love so much. No doubt there's a location
good source for bluebird suet nuggets.
FOR THE BEGINNER BLUEBIRDER:
Getting Started & FAQs
NABS Fact Sheets:
House Sparrow Control
A FEW OTHER CAVITY NESTERS:
Purple Martin Conservation Association
Purple Martin Society
Tree Swallow Nesting Project
(Be sure to check the Garden
Web bookstore for these books!)
Scriven, Dorene "Bluebird Trails A Guide to Success", Bluebird Recovery Committee of the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis ISBN: 0-9639661-1-1 Check here for the best price I've seen: Bluebird Recovery Program
Berger, C., Kridler, K., and Griggs, J. "The Bluebird Monitor's Guide". Harper Collins ISBN: 0-06-273743-0
Stokes, Donald & Lillian, "The Bluebird Book", Little Brown & Company ISBN: 0-316-81745-7
Zickefoose, Julie, "Enjoying Bluebirds More, The Bluebird Landlord's Handbook", Bird Watcher's Digest ISBN: 1-880241-03-X
Grooms, Steve & Peterson, Dick, "Symbol of Hope - Bluebird"
(Nest Identification) Harrison, Hal H., "Eastern Birds' Nests". Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN: 0-395-93609-8. (This is the paperback Eastern guide).
(Nest Identification) Harrison, Hal H., "Western Birds' Nests". Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN: 0-618-16437-5. (This is the paperback Western guide).
Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye, "The Birder's Handbook A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds" A Fireside Book published by Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 0-671-65989-8. (Ok, not specifically about bluebirds, but an excellent birding book!)
WHO IS NESTING IN MY BOX?
The two nest identification field guides mentioned above are the best. But, for a quick check this might
help: Egg & Nest ID
A site with some clearer pictures of nests of the most common tenants: Nest ID
HOUSE SPARROW IDENTIFICATION
House Sparrows (actually a Weaver Finch, not a sparrow) are deadly predators on bluebirds - and other cavity nesters. House Sparrows will peck eggs, nestlings, and adult bluebirds to death. However, it is imperative that other sparrows not be confused with House Sparrows. Only House Sparrows are a threat. To learn what this predator looks like: House Sparrow ID
To learn about house sparrow behavior and some methods of control, Steve Eno gives some excellent
information: House Sparrow Behavior
House Sparrow Egg
House Sparrows as sources of diseases: Sparrow Facts
MONOFILAMENT HOUSE SPARROW DETERRENT
Links for how to attach monofilament line to a nest-box. For set-ups showing free-swinging strings of monofilament, great caution is needed that those strings do not swing into the
nest-box to tangle bird feet or get swallowed by babies.
Larry Zapotocky Monofilament
This one isn't monofilament, but another option: Sparrow Spooker
NESTBOXES & TRAPS
Andrew Troyer's: The Bird's Paradise
20835 Morris Road
Conneautville, PA 16406
1 800 872 0103
Ahlgren Construction Company
12989 Otchipwe Ave. N.
Stillwater , MN 55082
(651) or (612) ???? 430-0031
Bluebird Love, Inc.
Cedar Valley Live traps
8128 Blaisdell Ave. So.
Bloomington, MN 55420
For Gilbertson Boxes and traps:
35900 Dove Street
Aitkin, MN 56431
The PMCA also sells house sparrow and starling traps.
Van Ert Traps
Big Red Nature Store
Wild Birds Unlimited
Real Bird Homes
MAKE YOUR OWN TRAP:
Gruenke 10 Minute Trap This really is a great idea for an emergency trap!
BUILD IT YOURSELF NEST-BOXES
All The Other Nest-boxes
A protected species, the House Wren, is also a predator on bluebird eggs and hatchlings. It is important to understand, that of all wrens only the House Wren is a danger to other cavity nesting passerines. House wrens generally build nests made of twigs - sometimes even on top of a clutch of a different bird's eggs that it poked to kill.
House Wren ID and Song
The Great Wren Debate
House Wren Egg
The first step in protecting against House Wrens in bluebird nest-boxes is to site the boxes out in the open at least 100 feet away from wooded areas. However, as wrens over-populate their preferred nesting habitats they are known to move out to those open areas and attack bluebird and tree swallow habitats. ... and,
nest-boxes in areas with trees are the usually preferred of chickadees who are also at risk of house wren attacks. In such instances, maybe - just maybe - a wren guard will be helpful. Information about the guard developed by the late Mr. Robert Orthwein can be found here: Wren Guard
The larvae of the blowfly is a parasite on hatchlings and nestlings. A major infestation of blowfly larvae may require nest replacement. Check Blowfly Information and Research to learn about this parasite and the Bird Nest Research project. This research project needs nests from which baby birds have fledged and is for the main purpose of examination of the nests to determine the occurrence of parasites such as blowfly larvae, mites, etc.
Hanta Virus is a serious, sometimes lethal, disease contracted - by human - from the droppings of certain mice. Since mice often nest inside bluebird
nest-boxes, it is important to know how to properly deal with cleaning a box in which a potentially infectious mouse nested. CDC Hanta Virus
WEST NILE VIRUS AND DISEASE
West Nile disease is killing birds. Believed to be spread by bites of infected mosquitoes and bird-to-bird contact this virus and its disease are of concern to the birding world everywhere. Keep up to date on the spread and what can be done. CDC West Nile Virus
EUROPEAN PAPER WASPS
Nasty buggers that seem to love building their nests in nest-boxes, baffles, and feeders. European Paper Wasp
More European Paper Wasp
STATE BLUEBIRD SOCIETIES:
There are probably more state societies ... check out the NABS site above ... for the moment, these are the quick resource ...
In the event you find an ill or injured bird (or other critter) it is crucial to the animal's survival that it be given to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. It is not legal to keep and care for the animal except by licensed rehabilitators. Find your closest rehabber now - before the emergency occurs. Being prepared is especially important ... there are now rehabbers included in these lists that have actually had to close down due to lack of funding. So checking things out before the panic is crucial.
Locate Wildlife Rehabilitator at Wildlife Rehabilitator's Resources
Locate Wildlife Rehabilitators
Wildlife and Rehabilitation Laws
Center for Rehabilitation of Wildlife
EMERGENCY BABY BIRD CARE
Tips for interim baby bird care information, provided only as a temporary resource for care until the bird can be delivered to - or picked up by - a trained, licensed wildlife rehabilitator.) These links are in addition to the wonderful "Emergency Bird Care and FAQs" link at the top of the forum's opening page.
Baby Bird Emergency Care
It is usually not "necessary" to offer mealworms to bluebirds. However, in times of cold and/or prolonged-wet weather snaps with a nest full of babies or if one of the adult birds is lost during nesting, mealworms can make the difference in the survival of the babies. Mostly ... it's a warm-fuzzy!
1 800 222 3563 GRUBCO
1 800 500 2473 Jenna Bird
1 800 634 1558 NABS
1 800 777 9676 Rainbow Mealworms
1 800 322 1100 Sunshine Mealworms
While bluebirds prefer insects, after much patience (like a couple of years) they sometimes sample peanut butter mixtures. In the meantime, these recipes will be adored by woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, juncos, cardinals, etc.
Brenda's super mix:
1 5 pound can of Crisco
1 large jar crunchy peanut butter
Melt over low heat and remove pot from stove.
Stir in 5 pounds of corn meal.
Add 3 pounds of white flour.
Stir until mixture is a flaky consistency. You can add or subtract flour as desired.
"I store this concoction in a large Tupperware holder on my counter. I also freeze it. I mold this mixture into a standard basket-type suet hanging feeder also." ... Brenda
And another yummy recipe:
1 cup Lard
1 cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 cup Cornmeal
3 cups Oats ("Quaker" cereal type)
1 cup Sugar (less is ok, but the full cup is great for a winter calorie boost in cold climates)
Melt lard and peanut butter together (microwave works fine). Stir until blended.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients, except for the oatmeal.
Then, pour-in the melted lard & PB.
Next, start adding the oatmeal 3 or so cups at a time. The "suet" should be thick. You may add extra oats if it is not thick enough. Pour the mixture into a greased pan (or glass pans - no extra greasing needed), cool in refrigerator and cut or spoon into the proper shape for your feeder. If you don't use it up quickly it can be frozen until needed.
I also add extra chopped peanuts, chopped raisins, chopped sunflower hearts, and powdered sterilized eggshells.
Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
Cowbirds are nest-site parasitic birds - they do not build their own nests. Rather, they deposit their eggs in the nests of other birds. Often, the cowbird will toss an egg of the nest owner before depositing its egg. A cowbird egg in a bluebird nest is rare, but does occur. Maybe this information will help identify if a mystery egg in a bluebird nest came from a cowbird. Cowbird Eggs
Pretty much ... the history on cowbirds ... they used to roam the great planes of the "wild west" with massive herds of buffalo ... picking bugs and parasites off of those exquisite creatures. Because of this nomadic life, cowbirds weren't in one spot long enough to nest. So they deposited their eggs in the nests of other birds and then moved on. When the massive herds of buffalo died off ... cowbirds were stuck with their 'roaming' nature, but with nowhere to which to roam. Now ... they still often grace herds of cows with their bug & parasite picking nature ... but ... they've become a "nuisance". Sort of sad; sort of a pain in the butt. Cowbirds usually toss one egg of the host clutch and lay their egg in its place. Sometimes cowbirds will parasitize the same nest twice. Some host birds will abandon their nests when a cowbird egg shows up in their nest. Many birds will raise the cowbird as their own. Sometimes this 'adopted' baby is so big, compared to the others in the host nest, that the other chicks die of starvation as the adults try to feed the ravenous appetite of the cowbird chick.
Some reports say a single cowbird female lays between 60-80 eggs each year.
SOME OTHER EGGS
Tree Swallow Egg
Interesting 'stuff' with tangential relationship to bluebirds!
Report finding a Banded Bird
All about Bird Eggs
James Reserve Bluebird Trail
North American Snake Identification
Natural Insect Control
The purpose of putting leg-bands on birds is for research ... things such as migration patterns, nest site fidelity, survival length, etc. are just some examples of research. Banding migratory birds is legal only with a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The specific part of the site that covers information on how to apply for a federal permit is found here: Bird Banding Permits.
"Bluebirds in the Suburbs"
4497 Woodstream Drive
Columbus, OH 43230-5128
(614) 478 5004
Boz Metzdorf, videographer.
Birdseye View Productions
1761 co. rd. H
Deer Park, Wisconsin 54007
Just a few for birds that are interested in nest-boxes:
EABL = Eastern Bluebird
MOBL = Mountain Bluebird
WEBL = Western Bluebird
AMKE = American Kestrel
ATFL = Ash-throated Flycatcher
BCCH = Black-capped Chickadee
BHNU = Brown-headed Nuthatch
CACH = Carolina Chickadee
CAWR = Carolina Wren
CBCH = Chestnut-backed Chickadee
EASO = Eastern Screech Owl
EUST = European Starling
GCFL = Great Crested Flycatcher
HOSP = House Sparrow
HOWR = House Wren
HOME = Hooded Merganser
NOFL = Northern Flicker
MOCH = Mountain Chickadee
PROW = Prothonotary Warbler
PUMA = Purple Martin
RBNU = Red-breasted Nuthatch
TRES = Tree Swallow
TUTI = Tufted Titmouse
VGSW = Violet-Green Swallow
WBNU = White-breasted Nuthatch
WODU = Wood Duck