It is recommend not to install perches on nestboxes for bluebirds.  You’ve seen them–the small cylinder pieces of wood added right underneath a birdhouse’s entry hole.   They are not really necessary, and the bad news about them is perches can serve the predators by allowing some extra leverage for them to sit by the entry hole and pull out eggs and baby birds!  Even wrens and chickadees and most cavity nesters don’t need perches.   Take a look at these two photos I took of this male Eastern Bluebird sitting and investigating this nestbox at — and on — this Noel Guard (made from hardware cloth).  Question:  is this a perch?   The answer is:  No….it’s a porch!   Do the bluebirds mind  these guards?   Not only do they like “mind” them — they like them!   I’ve had nothing but great results using them.   Same answer for the other cavity-nesting birds using bluebird nestboxes.  They have no issues with these guards.  This “cat and raccoon” guard (originally designed by a gentleman by the name of Jim Noel) are also guards to ward off some avian predators, as well — starlings, hawks, owls, jays, etc.  I’ve used the vinyl-coated hardware cloth–like the coated better than the plain galvanized hardware cloth — smoother for the birds’ feet and feathers and easier on human hands during the building process.  What you see in this picture is plain galvanized.  Once you’ve lost bluebird babies and adults to predators inside your backyard bluebird nestbox or on your bluebird trail, you will realize how this guard adds added safety and success to the occupants raising their young until they fledge from the box and into the world.

See how to make them here

This male says "howdy do to you!"

This male says “howdy do to you!”

"Hmmm, wonder if my gal will like these digs?"

“Hmmm, wonder if my gal will like these digs?”


  1. Hi, I have a pair of bluebirds nesting. After the 3rd egg was laid I put on a noel guard. The birds were very confused. The male never entered the nest box and the female entered only once. The next morning she was to lay her 4th egg. I got up early to see if they would accept the noel guard. The male seemed confused and flew off and the female flew away as well. I took it off and they both appeared and the female entered to lay. This is my first time putting up and monitoring a bluebird box. I feel I waited to late. Should I put the noel guard on before they begin their 2nd nest?


  2. Hi! I’ve just lost 2 nests of wren eggs to raccoons and I’m very saddened! I read your advice on using a Noel guard which I will definitely use next time!! I would like to know if I should put the noel guard on the house in spring before the wrens come back or if I should put it on after a couple eggs have been laid in the Nestbox? Also I have put out a new nest box for wrens and wanted to know if you think at this late date June 22 that they could still make a new nest in there? Thank you and I appreciate your advice so much. Sincerely Kathy


  3. Great pointers! Do you leave your Noel guard up year round? I am not sure if it will frighten these timid BB’s to the house with no Noel. Please visit my blog and in the search box type bluebirds to see my efforts here in Central Virginia!


    • Hello. Yes, I leave all nestbox setups up all year round…both predator guards intact. The birds roost in the boxes during the winter to help keep warm on frigid nights. The hardware cloth entry-hole guard you see is called the Noel Guard (cat/raccoon/and avian predator guard). The Virginia Bluebird Society recommends them–I follow their protocol to help keep my nestboxes as safe for the birds as possible. This guard does not frighten any of the native species of cavity-nesting birds that use my nestboxes. As a matter of fact, the birds like them! I just posted on my main page about these guards. Do take a look. It’s at the top of the blog. This seems to be a question I get often. It may look strange to some but I assure you they are highly effective. Looks is not as much a priority for well-cared for nestboxes to safety for the occupants. I will check out your bluebird activities and efforts on your page. Thanks for pointing that out to me.


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