Setting Up a Bluebird Trail Part 4: When?

When should you set out your bluebird boxes? In my part of the country (Southern Iowa) now would be a good time! Bluebirds typically start nesting in March and continue through August.

We’ve always found that having a nest box open and ready in the early season is a great way to attract bluebirds. Many times we are able to get one nesting early in the season before some of the more aggressive birds (such as the house sparrow and the house wren) arrive to compete for the nest boxes.

We’ve attached the nest boxes on hedge posts and metal T-posts (used for fencing), but you could also a commercial wooden post. You can mount them right on trees, but they seem to be more susceptible to predators. (Raccoons, snakes and other climbing predators can easily climb the tree and destroy the nesting birds. Squirrels have also been know to chew and destroy the box itself!)

Once the boxes are out, you are ready for business! Now all you need is spring and the return of the bluebirds. But I’ll have to admit, that seems pretty far away right now! As I am writing this, we are under yet another Winter Storm Warning, and March is just 2 weeks away!

But the thought of spring with all the green leaves, warmer weather and the bluebirds nesting is enough to give me hope that sooner or later, even this winter will have to end! Preparing the bluebird nest boxes is just another act of faith, just like buying my garden seeds!

3 thoughts on “Setting Up a Bluebird Trail Part 4: When?

  1. What an interesting site! We have moved quite a bit and have always enjoyed the variety of birds we have had. Now we are in a little neighborhood and we have been surpirsed to see both cardnials and blue birds even without our usual feeder. Today, we (after living here for almost 2 years) finally found a feeder that we can use and actually see out our kitchen window over the porch rail!


  2. Hi, Melinda,Thanks for telling us about your blog! I love trying to attract birds at our home here in Tallahassee. When we lived in central Florida we never had bluebirds, but here in Tallahassee they’re everywhere. A friend introduced us to the nesting box idea this past fall. He suggested putting the box on a stand-alone pole away from all other plants and trees so the birds would be free from predators, as you mentioned. We did that, and a pair of nesting birds soon moved in. The box is within sight of my office window here at home, and I get to watch the antics of Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird. They’re a hoot! One day last week a curious (or perhaps pushy!) woodpecker flew to the front “door” of the nesting box, and Mrs. Bluebird came out to scold him. Then Mr. Bluebird chased him and the woodpecker flew away screeching. Mrs. Bluebird jumped up on the little roof and complained loudly to her husband, then she went back inside. Mr. Bluebird stood sentry duty on the roof for a long time afterward. He’s such a cute little guard.In the meantime, we have spotted hummingbirds twice last summer. I’m not sure how to attract them, though. We bought a feeder and I put out the nectar, but nothing has happened so far (other than ants crawling inside and drowning in the nectar). I’d love some suggestions about plants or other ways to entice them to our back yard.Thank you, Melinda, and blessings!JoanCaregiver at Home


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