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Here is a simple plan for a Bluebird nest box that will be a perfect family project and will provide a welcomed habitat for your Bluebirds. You'll need a pine board, 1"x6" x at least 57 inches long. A 60" board will give a little room for error. Simple hand tools will suffice - saw, hammer, ruler, nails, drill, silicone sealant, and a screwdriver. Got all that? Great! Let's get started.
Building Your Bluebird Nest Box.
1. Saw the pieces as accurately as possible. Note the angle cut between the roof and the front and back.
2. At this point you can simply nail the pieces together. See how the parts fit together here. However, this may result in splitting. A better approach is to first drill pilot holes then use wood screws or dry-wall screws.
3. You will need to provide some way of opening the box for yearly cleaning. Using screws on the front will allow you to remove it. Or, you can hinge the front from the bottom, securing it with a couple of screws.
4. Your mounting pole should be either metal or PVC pipe, to foil climbing preditors such as cats. Additionally, you can use a plastic bucket as a baffle. Simple cut a hole in the middle of the bottom, and mount it upside down on your pole.
5. That's it! You may paint the OUTSIDE a light color to reflect sunlight and heat. NEVER PAINT THE INTERIOR!
Mounting You Bluebird Nest Box.
During nesting season, Bluebirds feed mainly on ground-dwelling insects. Ideal bluebird habitats are open and barren or
short-cut/sparsely grassed areas (so they can see their food) with a few trees nearby for perching. Pesticide and herbicide-free cattle or horse pastures, cemeteries, acreages, abandoned orchards, hike-and-bike trails, prairie coulees, and lightly traveled roadsides are examples of ideal Bluebird habitat.
Bluebirds are very territorial, so boxes should be spaced at intervals of about 300 ft. House Wrens and House Sparrows are dangerous to Bluebird nests. So locate your Bluebird box away from houses and buildings, which attract Wrens and Sparrows.
Bluebirds tolerate a box mounted as high as 15 feet and as low as 3 feet from the ground. However, a box mounted lower than 5 feet is at greater risk of predation. Ideally, the mounting pole should be metal or PVC pipe, so that cats and other preditors will have difficulty climbing to the nest box.
The nest box should be mounted so the entrance hole is directed away from prevailing winds to reduce the amount of rain that might be blown into the box. The box opening should also face away from direct sun exposure. A nearby tree provides young bluebirds both with a place to fly to when they first leave the nest, as well as shelter from the elements and predators. Boxes mounted along roads should always face parallel with, rather than perpendicular to, the road so that the birds (especially the fledglings) are more likely to fly along the road ditch, rather than out across the road and into the path of oncoming traffic.
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