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Eastern Bluebirds: Do We Have Tenants Yet?

Our friend Phil gave us a cedar bluebird house two years ago, and John mounted it on a post on the edge of the vegetable garden.  We fenced off the raised beds to keep hungry deer and other creatures from devouring the plants, and the posts make a great spot for the bluebird house.  From my plant room on the Eastern side of the house where I sit for morning meditation, prayer and coffee (hopefully in that order), I can watch the bluebirds dart in and out of their house. They are so lovely and funny at the same time, and their sweet, warbling trills are the sound of spring to me.

We took down the bluebird house in the fall to clean it out. They had layered nests in it so it was a good thing that we did. It’s as if instead of tearing down your old house and building a new one on the lot, you just piled a new house on top of the old!  The nesting material was to the top of the little opening.

John cleaned it out, then had the idea to make new houses. He used Phil’s as a template, which was the easy part. The hard part was getting my dad’s old table saw, dusty and unused for the past decade, to work again.  Finally the happy sound of a table saw and the rich tang of cedar and pine dust filled the air.  Hammering, sawing, and a triumphant shout from the cellar an hour later, and John emerged with another bluebird house.

We’ve hung the second house far enough away from the first, we hope, so the two families won’t mind one another.  It’s on a pine tree on the edge of the big clearing, a great spot for bluebirds. They love to perch atop the fence posts around the vegetable garden and dart down to the ground to snag an insect or two. Because I use only organic gardening methods, I don’t worry that they’re getting a beakful of pesticides with every beetle or insect they munch. And hopefully they will munch plenty!

This morning as I sat in my plant room watching the rain wash the garden, the bluebird returned. They darted in and out of the old house as if they were young married couples with a real estate agent comparing properties.  An hour later I was at the kitchen table eating breakfast. The kitchen windows also face East and the vegetable garden.  I saw more bluebirds perched on top of the fence posts and a male flew over to John’s newly made nest box. He didn’t go inside yet, but sat on top and look down, cocking his head as if curious about the new box.  I hope we have tenants soon!

We found a very inexpensive cedar bluebird house at Lowe’s yesterday, which will be placed on a pine tree at the back of the flower garden next to the driveway. Like all of our bluebird houses, it will face south, and I hope that it has tenants soon, too.  The sooner my bluebirds come, the sooner spring arrives…and the sooner I recruit my volunteers to eat up all the insects plaguing the garden!

For more about the Eastern American Bluebird, visit Cornell University. 

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  • Jessica
    March 15, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Been thinking about a bluebird house this year. Do they have to face south? 🙂

  • Jeanne
    March 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Jessica, and thank you for leaving a comment. I’ve always read that bluebird houses should be placed with the entrance facing south or southwest. I’ve noticed some farmers around here placing them with the doors facing east. I think as long as the prevailing winds don’t blow right into the nest box it should be fine. Our prevailing winds are generally from the west. Happy gardening, Jeanne