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    • Rick

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shorebird

Bluebird houses

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I have 200 + nesting boxes out on the trails. They are for a lot of different birds. Bluebirds,wrens,robins and Wood Ducks. Each year I am lucky to get a couple of Bluebirds nesting but Many Tree Swallows. This year I have four pair of Bluebirds nesting.

Here is a picture of one of them going into a house.

bluebirdinflight1.jpg

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Nice picture, and great job on maintaining all those boxes. My resident bluebirds 3 babies just fledged. They already built a new nest in the same nest box before I could clean the old one out!

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Good timing! We have been trying to get the bluebirds back for awhile now with no avail, so I'm jealous!! Great capture!!

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That really is a great shot and congrats on having so many tennants to keep an eye on. What really caught my eye though was the house mounted on a T-post. Am guessing you used a U-bolt to afix it to the post? Out of the 15 bluebird nesting boxes here, 6 were occupied by tree swallows, 3 by wrens but only one fledged bluebirds. Am waiting to see if they will renest or if it's too late. Being able to mount houses on T-posts would open up some opportuntiy to move some of the vacant existing houses to more ideal locations for next year without a lot of diddling around. Also plan on adding some Gilbertson design houses to the mix to see what they think of them.

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Dotch;

Someting you may want to try is to put two bluebird houses fairly close to each other. It seems that the Tree Swallows are very territorial and will drive other swallows from the other house allowing the Bluebird to take up residence.

The steel T-Post helps to discourge predators, I also have another house that I am trying that is suppose to allow Bluebirds but not swallows to enter. If I get a chance to get out on the trails I will take a picture of it.

Yes they are mounted with U bolts.

I have never heard of a Gilbertson house I will have to try to get plans for them.

Have a good week

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Fifteen feet, give or take, between paired houses seems about right. Swallows won't allow other swallows to nest in the other paired house, as shorebird said, but the tree swallows and bluebirds will both get along fine.

I was reading a blog from a fella who has been building and monitoring bluebird houses for 30 years, and he's never seen a case where swallows and bluebirds wouldn't share adjacent paired houses. He also said he's never seen a case where bluebirds nested within 500 feet of another pair of bluebirds.

And if you are thinking photographically about house placement, particularly when the young begin to fledge and come out of the house, since the houses are in pretty open country it's a good idea to face them somewhat away from each other. At latitudes as far north as Minnesota, one can face west-northwest so the evening light hits it just right, the other facing east-northeast for morning light.

Of course, those who want to do a lot of bluebird photography can easily erect perches five to 10 feet away from the occupied houses and from a nearby blind (or sometimes right out in the open) can photograph the bluebirds without disturbing them much at all. They seem perfectly willing to continue their normal lives with people close by as long as they are quiet and don't move quickly.

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Dotch, you should still have plenty of time for your bluebirds to renest. Mine are doing that right now. They have 4 eggs and should start sitting anytime. If you are having a wren problem the boxes may be too close to wooded areas. Try moving them farther into open spaces. I built 6 wren boxes and not a wren has showed up. It is kind of funny I could attract wrens. I had a pair of black capped chickadees nest in one though. I'll trade your wrens for couple bluebirds...lol

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Thanks guys! All great suggestions in line with what I was thinking and some of what's already been done. Some of the houses are in a pasture I rent from my kindly neighbor and since it is a rolling bur oak savanah, afraid I'm going to have to put up with some wrens. Beautiful place, especially since it's had bluebirds the past 2 years. Something I haven't done is to take a bunch of my birdhouse gourds over there and put them in the brushy/woody areas so the wrens will be preoccupied with those. Moving the unoccupied houses into open areas at home is exactly what my plan is and being able to put them on T-posts makes it that much easier. One thing in addition to the predator guards on the houses is the electric fence that's attached to the T-posts. Take that Mr. Raccoon! wink Tried doubling up the houses here at home this spring after seeing a tree swallow and a bluebird squabbling over the same house, so added another one right by it. The result? The tree swallow decided on another house, the bluebird went elsewhere and neither house got used...lol! Next year, there will probably be bluebirds and tree swallows as neighbors there. There have been bluebirds nesting in that spot before but was not to be this time around. We also have the additional joy of dealing with house sparrows, one of my 3 least favorite birds. Have made solid headway in that department. Can honestly say there were no casualties this year as the result of sparrows killing tree swallows or bluebirds on the nest. Trapping works if you keep at it. I missed the Bluebird Recovery Project meeting back in April. Seems Mrs. Cheviot decided I needed a birthday party. Al Batt graciously sent me the handouts however so have been using much of that info as a reference.

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