Tag Archives: bluebirds

Bluebird Boxes Made of Wood Are Best

Baby Bluebirds

Managed nest-box programs can significantly increase local populations of Eastern Bluebirds and other cavity-nesting species. Poorly designed boxes, however, may become population sinks rather than source centers. Internal box temperature is an important determinant of box success. Bluebird eggs and nestlings, for example, cannot survive temperatures exceeding 107′ F (41′ C).

Several researchers have investigated construction materials and nest box temperatures. Lawrence Zeleny in 1968 and Robert M. Patterson in 1980 studied wood, metal, and plastic bluebird boxes. Wood Duck boxes also have been studied. J. A. L. Mertens in 1977 developed a model predicting box temperature for any material and ambient temperature, but its complexity discourages amateur use.

The goal of this project was to examine the effects of construction material on nest box temperature and to develop a graphed model of the relationship.

Instructions for Basic Bluebird Nest Boxes


Bluebirds are insectivorous during the nesting season, feeding mainly on ground-dwelling insects. Ideal bluebird habitats are open and barren or short-cut/sparsely grassed areas (so they can see their food) with a few trees nearby (for perching).

Pesticide and herbicide-free cattle or horse pastures, cemeteries, acreages, abandoned orchards, hike-and-bike trails, prairie coulees, lightly traveled roadsides, abandoned railroad rights-of way, golf courses, open areas in parks, the edges of meadows, clear cuts adjacent to or within forested areas that have been recently burned, and sagebrush flats provide excellent bluebird habitat.

Bluebirds will also nest on the fringes of towns and cities, especially if they were nesting in those areas prior to development.

Lenker Blue Bird Box Instructions

Poor bluebird habitat includes areas that they naturally shun (i.e., city centers, densely wooded areas, or intensively farmed areas where there is a lack of natural habitat), areas where they are in competition with House Wrens or House Sparrows, or locations where the boxes are at risk of being subject to predation or vandalized.

Instructions for Building Bluebird Boxes:

Bluebird boxesBluebird boxes

Lenker Bluebird Box Instructions

Lenker Bluebird Box

Instructions for the Lenker Bluebird Box:

1. Cut all boards to lengths indicated and acquire all required hardware.

2. With two 1 5/8′ screws fasten the front to the left side. Keep the top of the side 1/4″ below the top of the front, (important for proper cross-ventilation).

3. With two 1 5/8″ screws fasten the back to the side keeping the side 2 3/4″ from the top of the back, (important for proper cross-ventilation).

4. Place the bottom between the front, back, and side 1/4″ up from the bottom edge of the box: with one 1 5/8″ screw fasten the front to the bottom; with one 1 5/8″ screw, fasten the left side to the bottom; and, with one 1 5/8″ screw fasten the back to the bottom.

5. Place the right side, angled side to the top, between the front and back leaving 1/4″ space below the top of the front and the top edge of the side, for ventilation. Make a mark about 1″ down from the top of the front. Using a square, make a mark, exactly the same height, on the back edge. This is the height where the nail or screw will be placed to make the hinge for the door. Nail in the first nail through the front and into the middle of the right edge of the side board. Next nail the second nail through the back into the right side, again into the middle of the edge. The side will open for monitoring the nestbox from this hinged opening.

6. With two 1 5/8″ screws fasten the top to the back keeping the roof 1/4″ above the side for ventilation. Fasten two 1 5/8″ screws through the roof into the top edge of the front.

7. With a drill bit larger diameter then a #6cc nail ( or other nail to be used as the door lock) drill at a 45 degree angle downward through the front and into the door side. The door lock will be placed in this hole to secure the side and to allow easy monitoring access by removing the nail, the angled hole is required to ensure the nail does not come out on its own.

8. Make small kerfs cut with a saw or deep scratches wit a nail on the inside of the front, below the hole, in order to make a ladder, which will make it easier for the baby birds to climb to the hole to get out (fledge).

9. Set your box out and get ready for bluebird nesting season!

Instructions for Basic Bluebird Boxes