Friday, 1 April 2016

A Bluebird Trail at SpruceHaven

22 March 2016

     As regular readers of this blog will know we have been installing nest boxes at SpruceHaven in an attempt to help cavity nesting species which often have difficulty finding nest sites. 
     Eastern Bluebirds Sialia sialis are not only very appealing birds, they are also subject to intense competition from introduced species such as House Sparrow Passer domesticus and Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris. They really do need help from their human friends.

     When I mentioned the idea of starting a bluebird trail to Dave, Sandy and Jamie, the proposal was greeted with great enthusiasm, and we determined to start with six boxes. We will be vigilant in keeping the House Sparrows out of these boxes, but we will be quite happy if Tree Swallows Tachycineta bicolor grace us with their families in a couple of them. 

     John Lichty, ever willing to help, came out with his usual reservoir of enthusiasm and resourcefulness and the task began. Sandy and Jamie were there to help carry the requisite poles and boxes to their appointed spots.

     Before long the first pole was pounded into the ground.

     John drilled the holes into the boxes, carefully lining them up with the holes in the poles.

     The boxes were then mounted on the poles.

     Conventional wisdom has it that the boxes are best mounted in tandem; often one side is then occupied by bluebirds, the opposing side by swallows.

     John and Jamie quickly formed a working alliance and everything proceeded smoothly and quickly.

     Jamie was adept at using the post pounder to drive the poles into the ground. We first pounded snow fence posts into the earth, then the aluminum mounting pole was driven in over the top of it. The snow fence pole thus stabilizes the mounting pole and holds it in place.

     Here is the line of six boxes, all equidistant from each other and as straight as we could get them. Sandy was reluctant to let us get away with even a minor deviation from centre.

     John and Jamie seem to be congratulating each other on a job well done.

     Both Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows will be returning over the next two to three weeks and we will be anxiously checking our boxes to see whether we have been successful.
     As always, kudos to Dave, Sandy and Jamie for their commitment to wildlife, their stewardship of the land and the vision they have for a harmonious relationship with all the organisms with whom we share this planet.


  1. Hi. Awesome work. Birds are stunning.

  2. Excellent idea David,it won't take long before they have new owners.

  3. What a great idea to use these aluminum-covers. No cat can climb to the nest boxes!!
    I hope all the work will be rewarded with 6 nests. Gr Jan W

  4. The Bluebird and Tree Swallow are brilliant, and the boxes well planted, lovely.

  5. It will be interesting to see the results, the only nesting box I have here no birds seem interested in :-(
    I saw swallows here yesterday so ours have obviously arrived back. It looks very cold still from the way everyone is dressed! Have a good weekend Diane

  6. Hi David. Good and valuable work from the Bluebird Buddies. There you are, a ready made name and incentive to broadcast your work to other interested people who might wish to join a worthy cause.

    It's interesting about swallows and bluebirds using opposing sides of the box. Never heard of that until now. "Build one get one free".

  7. Hi David, You certainly keep yourself busy, wonderful idea as to erecting the boxes and will with the design be hopefully vermin proof. Super images of the bluebird and swallow.
    Regards John

  8. Oh superb pictures David.
    Your post is very interesting

  9. Hope the bluebirds come and use the boxes.............

  10. The birds are lucky to have you all to help them be reasonably safe..

  11. Fantastic to do that, David. I hope the birds will come to their new houses. Have a nice sunday. Greetings, Joke

  12. Hi David

    Good that you have put down nests for the birds.
    Beautiful bird pictures.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  13. Great work there, by you and the rest of the team, David. I hope that all your efforts are fully rewarded. I look forward to hearing news of your future tenants.

    Our love to you and Miriam - - - Richard

    1. You'll be able to check them with me next year, Richard.

  14. Un trabajo fantástico el que estáis realizando en vuestro país, ánimo amigos canadienses!!!. Un fuerte abrazo desde España.

  15. Hello David, I do hope your work will bring a lot of birds to these lovely nestboxes. Great job. The pictures of the Bluebird and the Swallow are most wonderful.

  16. Hello David,
    Great that you've made birdhouses for the birds.
    I hope that many birds are nesting in the boxes.
    Best regards, Irma

  17. Very interesting, David, what a rich idea!
    I am surprised that you've put up those boxes out in the open, I would have thought the birds would feel more vulnerable since most species dislike being seen entering their nest, but if it works that way it's great!
    A lovely post, congrats to all of you :)

    1. Both Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds are grassland species, Noushka, and prefer to have a clear line of flight when they leave their nests.

  18. You do good work by placing the hives David.
    Beautifully portrayed.
    Splendour birdies the first two pictures.
    Greetings Tinie

  19. Dearest David,
    Let's hope those perfect boxes will soon receive their inhabitants and may that be the Eastern Bluebird.
    Our Blue Birds have their nest almost next to a tree...
    Sending you hugs,

  20. Fascinating post and also to see the great thought that goes into lining up the boxes in line. Loved the photos, thank you very much.

  21. Well done with the work. I hope it pays off!

  22. You all are doing great work. Our daughter has tree swallows in her bird houses...I wish she had a bluebird too (it would be a western bluebird in Oregon of course, but they have the same enemies).

  23. You are doing good work David :-)
    The Eastern Bluebirds Sialia sialis is a beautiful bird. I'm really jealous of all those beautiful colored birds that you have there. Just beautiful.
    Dear greeting jess, Helma