Last year one of the largest crowds for the bluebird program gathered at the Lake Meyer shop by Calmar to build bluebird nesting houses. Part of Cub Scout Troop 88 of Ossian came to build the boxes also, besides families and others in the community.
This year, mark your calendar for this Sunday afternoon at 2pm and bring your hammer along with your family. Conservationist Larry Reis said the bluebirds should be in Iowa any day now, so it’s time to get the nesting boxes up.
Bluebird houses need to be a certain dimension. They should be eight inches tall, five inches wide and five inches deep. Make a 1-1/2-inch entrance hole centered six inches from the floor. Choose a nest box that is made of wood, has no perch, and has a 1 1/2-inch-diameter hole for Eastern bluebirds. Another important point the conservationist mentioned is to not paint the nesting box. He also said to mount it 5 to 10 feet high.
Reis also said to, “Place the box in open, mowed habitat at least 100 feet from brushy wooded areas.”
After your nesting box is up, the fun begins. Get your binoculars out and watch for the blue flying flowers as they in our case bring pine needles from the ground to the nest and in a short time we discovered light blue tiny eggs inside and was able to watch the birds as they grew and fledged.
This year we purchased a bluebird house that attaches to the window with a clear panel to watch. This would be an excellent learning idea for your family and we are excited to see what will happen next!
If you come across house sparrow nests, they are large messy nests with paper in, Reis says to remove them to discourage the sparrows from nesting. He also says that to clean out the box after the birds have fledged and they may come back and use the box again during the summer season! Bluebirds may return and nest up to three times in one season. May the bluebird of happiness nest in your bluebird boxes.
Come out Sunday to Lake Meyer and build your own bluebird house. They have the pattern all cut out and with a donation of $5 all you need is a hammer and you can start putting it together. Just think within a week we should be seeing the bluebirds arrive and we need to be ready if we want them to stay close by for us to enjoy all summer!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.