Bluebirds in Iowa

Recently, I attended a lecture by the Iowa Bluebird Conservationists. My family has been interested in bluebirds for several years now and most of us have a few boxes in our backyards. If you are interested in bluebirds, checkout the information below!

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Due to the loss of habitat combined with the introduction of the House Sparrow and European Starling, the bluebird population as been decreasing. The most important step is to provide nesting sites.

Selecting a Bluebird Box
A bluebird box should be well ventilated, be watertight, have drainage holes, be easy to open for monitoring and easy to clean. Boxes should be light in color and never have a perch as sparrows and wrens are attracted to perches. The boxes should have a round entrance hole of 1.5.”

Installing a Bluebird Box
Any smooth round pipe is the best way to mount the nesting box. Do not mount the box on a fence line or on trees as that leaves them open for raccoons. Grease the pole to keep predators off the box.

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Monitoring a Bluebird Box
Check your bluebird box once per week during nesting season until chicks are close to fledging (jumping from the nest permanently). Do not open your box after the chicks are 12-14 days old because you will risk early fledging. Always remove house sparrows nest from the box as early as possible. Bluebirds usually nest in late March or early April and have two broods per season. Bluebird nests are cup-shaped with nests made up of 100% woven grass and some pine needles. They lay 4-7 eggs that are light blue and the incubation period for bluebirds is 12-14 days. Nestlings remain in the nest 18-21 days before they fledge.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have bluebirds right away as it may take some time for them to find your box. Bluebirds return to the same general area, year after year.

Bluebirds Across Nebraska
This information was taken from a handout from Bluebirds Across Nebraska. Find them on Facebook here.

Iowa Bluebird Conservationists
For more information on the Iowa Bluebird Conservationists follow them on Facebook or email President, Chris Parks, chparks@gmail.com.

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The North American Bluebird Society
The NABS has great resources on the following topics.

Getting Started with Bluebirds
Frequently Asked Questions
Nestbox Plans
Nestbox Recommendations
Monitoring Bluebird Nestboxes
Predator Control
House Sparrow Control

For more information, visit their website.

IMG_5314IMG_5320IMG_7447IMG_6867All of these images were taken by my aunt, Julie Hidder. Follow her on Instagram here. Do you have bluebirds in your backyard?

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic summary of the seminar! Your photos are brilliant and inspiring. Thank you for gathering this information in one spot. Wonderful post.

    1. Melissa Peterson says:

      Thank you!

  2. susurrus says:

    We don’t have bluebirds in our whole country, but after enjoying these pictures, I’d like some!

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Good information, thanks for sharing it.

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