Your box may contain any of the
Bluebird. Neatly constructed of grass,
the 4-5 eggs are pale blue or occasionally white. If it has been over 15 days since
eggs hatched and you find a well-flattened nest not disturbed, this indicates that the
nestlings have fledged. Remove the old nest (only if there is no sign of a new nest
being built) promptly because this will encourage bluebirds to nest again in that box.
House Wren. The nest is large and
made of twigs. The 6-8 eggs are white, speckled with brown.
Tree Swallow. The nest is of woven
grass, and lined with feathers. The 4-6 eggs are white.
House Sparrow. A mixture of course
grass, feathers, and trash make up these very large woven nests. Usually there are
5-6 gray-white eggs, speckled with brown.
Chickadee. The nest is made of
moss, plant down and lined with hair and animal fur. The 5-8 white eggs are speckled with
It is important to the recovery of the
bluebird that all nesting boxes be frequently monitored to detect blowfly and/or use by
house sparrows. Uncontrolled, these species will continue to place the survival of
the bluebird in jeopardy. Bluebird boxes that are placed in the field and not
monitored may do more harm than good to bluebirds.
It's a good idea to inspect the nestbox after
a heavy or prolonged rain. If you find the nest quite damp or wet, change the nest.
Remove the nest and nestlings, build a new nest of dried lawn clippings, and
replace the nestlings. You may lose the nestlings with respiratory problems in a wet
nest if you don't follow this procedure.
Check in early spring to see if the deer
mouse or white-footed mouse has occupied the nestbox during the winter. If so,
remove the contents. Then your box will be ready for the next bluebird occupants.
For further reading order THE BLUEBIRD,
ITS FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL by Lawrence Zeleny, THE BLUEBIRD BOOK by Lilian Stokes,
each $9.95 plus 10% handling, prepaid. Available from the NORTH AMERICAN
BLUEBIRD SOCIETY, Box 6295, Silver Springs, Maryland 20906.