March 19 – 2013:   Nestbox checks searching for new nestings has official commenced for 2013 season.  I visited all boxes on the trail.  Out of the 33 nestboxes I am care-taking, four (4) had new bluebird nests started.  I am thinking they are one or two days into building time.  You know, when Mr. Blue does good husbandry and helps find nest materials and drops them inside the box, it is faster for her.  I am waiting to see tree swallows and chickadees (really hoping for those swallows this year).   I am expecting some house wrens in another location.  Here are two new photos.  The first is the one nestbox that has the most materials–grasses being dropped and arranged by Mrs. Blue in that circular design.   The other photo is the latest addition to my trail–the last nestbox (#33).  You will note the 8″ width, spray-painted stovepipe wobbling snake/ground critter guard on the conduit and the extra predator guard (original called the Jim Noel Coon Guard) made of hardware cloth over the entry hole.   So, here we go, folks!   Wishing everyone a blessed bluebird year!  “May All Your Blues Be Birds” !  by B. Zimmerman

#18 - This box had the most amount of materials of the 4 that had nests started.  This is much later than last year.  I'm sure the colder weather is making a difference when these birds decide to start the raise-the-family thing they do!

#18 – This box had the most amount of materials of the 4 that had nests started. This is much later than last year. I’m sure the colder weather is making a difference when these birds decide to start the raise-the-family thing they do!


12 comments on “HERE COME THE NESTINGS!

        • I am experimenting using the hardware cloth bases about an inch above the nestbox floor in some, but not all, nestboxes so that I keep records on the blowfly larvae. It is not 100% foolproof, I’ve found, to saving larvae reaching the nestlings at night. Many sit inside the nest, not at the base of the nest, so they don’t fall through the bases. Some do; many do not. I experiment on many different things on this trail, especially now that I have more nestboxes and locations. I insert them under a built nest before eggs are laid and incubation starts. My personal preference is not to leave the bases in prior to nestbuilding. I just use my metal wide scraper and lift the nest up about an inch inside the nestbox and then insert the ready-to-fit base. She never knows the difference because most of the nestbuilding is in progress! When she returns to the box, the nest is still there as she left it, just a little higher than before. My record-keeping for this experiment is not complete. The Virginia Bluebird Society recommends using the bases. I think they also help keep the nests dry.


          • I also use the wire bases, yet blowfly will enter. I found using coir for nesting material is better than pine needles. I set a clump near the box and BB selects strands to construct. I have even replaced a pine nest with coir when I found blowfly. Have you seen my recent post on Bluebirds?


            • Yes! I am following you and I have your blog listed as a link on my site. I like your ideas. Would love for you to link my blog to yours. I have too many boxes to buy the coir and leave it out–also other birds might get it and use it (which is OK). My boxes are all over, not just on my own grounds. I think you are a spectacular bluebird landlord. Kudos for all you do. I have to comment that the blowfly (adult) enters birds’ nests, natural and manmade, and lay their eggs in and on the birds’ nests. I don’t believe what the material the nests are made of will make a difference to the female fly when she’s laying eggs. But maybe you are fooling her because your material is not natural. Perhaps the coir material you put in the boxes might keep the eggs surviving to hatching? Do you dissect the coir after several broods to see what’s in there? I dissect all my nests before I tie them up in trash bags and toss. What I find in there is amazing (not just dead larvae). Do you know the lifecycle of the blowfly? There are links out there about it. Here is a really good one (linking you to the lifecycle section):


              • Thanks for your good comments. Coir is the by-product of the coconut, therefore natural, yes? I always empty the nest box each time nestlings fledge and burn in my burn barrel. Sometimes I look. I always look for blowfly larvae while the nestlings are there and even construct a new nest if I find infestation. I pronounce WAR on blowfly! If other birds like titmice and cardinals decide to use the coir, I am delighted. With 135 cypress on my perimeter, many birds find home here. Robins especially like to roost here now that they are returned. I will look into the link process and enjoy our idea exchange. Kudos to you for all your work on the trails–indeed a labor of love. Diane


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