Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Bluebirders Picture Gallery
NOTICE: The graphics displayed here and documents links are used with permission, I have no rights to distribute or to grant other permissions other than to enjoy these pictures and documents. Should you wish to get permission for another use please use the WWW link or contact me and I will assist you in contacting the proper persons.
I have recently made all the pictures into thumbnails, for the full size version just click on the picture.
In addition to the pictures on my web site here are some links
bluebirders have sent me of pictures they have taken:
|Wendell Long||Pam Ford||Emily Smith||Bruce Johnson||Mary Haik||A member of Bluebird-L posted this web site URL http://ditto.com/. This web site is a special search engine in that it can search out pictures (rather than text) such as bluebirds!|
to the left are of a male Eastern Bluebird and
fledgling were used with permission form Danner
Studios. These are just
two of the sculptures that Danner Studios has available.
This picture is of a Mountain Bluebird and is used
with permission from the photographer, Gary Crandall. Gary is
represented by The Stock
Solution photo agency.
Here is a picture sent to me by Bob Brown depicting
the first successful nesting (in recent years anyway) of Eastern
Bluebirds in Hog Valley, Brevard County Florida. The trail is sponsored
by the Indian River Audubon Society and is run by Judy Dryja. Photo by
Jim Dryja and is used with permission.
The next couple of pictures are of Eastern Bluebirds
and are used with the permission from Bob Atkins. Bob has these two
pictures as well as other bluebird pictures on his home page. He also
has many other fine wildlife pictures displayed on his home page.
This next picture comes from Julie Milota (Papillion, NE). The picture is of one of Julie's Bluebirds that she feeds in her backyard. She puts out mealworms six times a day. I only wish I could provide an audio clip of Julie calling her bluebirds in to feed (she wouldn't hear of it).
Here is another of Julie's pictures taken by Ruth Green at a trail on June Papst property in Sarpy County Nebraska of a soon to fledge (and now banded in the summer of 1996 - by Ruth) albino bluebird. There were actually two albino bluebirds in the brood from normal colored adults.
Here is a beautiful picture of an eastern bluebird
taken by Darrell Pogue.
This is an interesting picture from Dick Rasmussen's Trail at Lake Manawa near Council Bluffs. IA. The picture depicts a tree swallow defending a Peterson nest box against a Bull snake. The predator guard Dick used deterred this snake with the help of the parent tree swallow. The picture was taken by Gene Galloway and is used with permission.
And just because you set up a bluebird box doesn't mean all the creatures you get will be bluebirds. Here is John Sullivan's picture (used with permission) of tree frogs taking up residence in a bluebird nest box on a trail near Lincoln, NE.
These two photos taken by Jim Cook and illustrate a pair of bluebirds with bugs for their fledglings and a bird that is blue but is not a bluebird (but it is an indigo bunting).
The bluebirds were taken with a 90-300mm zoom (zoomed all the way out to 300mm), standing from 12 or so away, using 1000 ASA/ISO film at Little Bennett Golf Course near Clarksburg Maryland, about 25 miles northwest of Washington, DC in June, 1996.
The indigo bunting was taken with a 300mm lens and probably Kodak Royal Gold 1000 in June 1995 on a bluebird trail in Little Bennett Park near Clarksburg, Maryland.
First year Bluebirder Mary Powell sent me this picture from Fredericksburg VA; the pair of BB originally nested in her yard, they still come many times during the day to eat meal worms...this is a picture of "Fred & Ethel" in the milk jug she was using to dispense the worms...she has since upgraded to a wooden feeder shelf with an over hang.
Here is a picture sent from Brenda Kitchen (southern California - 12 miles inland from Malibu). She told the following story of her picture "mama, papa and 5 western bluebird babies that I "grew" on my property in a nest box outside my bedroom door. If you would like to publish it -- it's fine with me. They are eating from a platform feeder that I replenish twice a day with mealworms."
Both of these pictures were taken and sent via email to me by Linda Janilla - Thanks again Linda.
The above pictures were sent to me from Pat and Woody Mott of Oregon, IL via email, these birds represent some of their birds from their first year of bluebirding.
This male bluebird was taken by Ruth Edwards in her fields in Westport, MA on April 24, l999. Camera Nikon FE2, with a Sigma 400, 5.6 Lens with a 2 x doubler. The flower is quince.
These are two of the four pictures I received by email from Clarence Christie from POTTERVILLE MI of 1999 fledglings.
Here is a picture of a fledgling taken by Lou Weinfurtner in the spring of 2000. This is the one I am currently using as my background for my computer.
I have two pictures sent to me by Pauline Tom of Texas
that represent what can happen when house sparrows invade a nest
box. The pictures are very graphic therefore I didn't include them
here but the following link will bring them up: House sparrow devastation
above are those of
tree swallows who took up residence in a martin house. Dottie
Price (HICKORY HOLLOW BROWN COUNTY, INDIANA (50 miles south of Indianapolis) sent them to
me by Email.
|Gary Springer sent me these pictures of some Red-headed woodpeckers that used one of his Chalet nest boxes.|
|Just thought I'd send you a couple
pictures of the Red Headed Woodpeckers. They
will fledge very soon.
One of the chicks is on the inside top of the box. They both prematurely fledged when the flash went off. One out the hole and one out the side. I suspected that might happen so I had a rag in hand which I stuffed in the hole so I could stuff the birds back in the box until they calmed down.
Fortunately I was able to catch them. They were unable to fly once on the ground. They were pretty strong though. I was half way up the ladder with the second one when it forced its way out of my hands so I had to catch it a second time.
All went well with returning them to nestling status and the pictures of the adults on the box were taken the following day.
They've been quite a thrill.
At Cedarrun Refuge in NJ cedarrun.org we had a pair of blue birds hatch out 3 nests in 2001 There were 5 albinos for the year. Jane Eyre (sent by email)
Here is a picture and a story sent to me by Erv Davis:
I Was called to a
residence in Moiese Valley, Montana, on Thurs., March 7, to witness three
juvenile male Western Bluebirds flitting around in the living room portion
of the folks' daylight basement. The bluebirds had access the area via the
dryer vent when the lint screen (on the outside of the house) had been
removed to clean out the lint. After 30 minutes or so, and many snapshots,
we were able to release the bluebirds through the open basement door. What
a thrill! Erv
These pictures came to me via email and the sender wishes to remain anonymous
but lives in Pensacola, Florida, they represent their first bluebirds of
the year. They hatched 03/29/02 and 03/30/02.
This Picture from Michael Lavin is from his personal photo library. A picture from 1977. Nesting pair that used an old locust post in western PA.
Here are some pictures of blue birds but they are not bluebirds.
These pictures of scrub jays were taken by Bill Weller of San Antonio,
Here are some pictures sent to me by Tony that show some house sparrows and a "house trap" that he made. after the trap was configured he was able to trap a couple of house sparrows. The picture below is actually a movie, just put your mouse over the image and the movie should start.
Here are some pictures that were sent to me from Chris Davey of San Diego CA. He suspected he was feeding bluebirds. Although not real easy to tell from the pictures these appear to be western scrub jays.
I build nestboxes and have been lucky enough to have
bluebirds in my area every year for the last five since I put out my first
boxes. I acclimate myself to the birds throughout the spring by gradually
moving a chair and camera tripod closer and closer to the point that I get
within about 10 feet of them. I feed them mealworms so they begin to
welcome my visits. Once I am close enough I can shoot the closeup shots.
The first one is the male, Bert. The second shows Bert and his mate Betty
sitting in a tree. (Bert and Betty the Beautiful Backyard Bluebirds)
I live in the suburbs with an average sized yard, with house sparrows, cats, and raccoons around. I had put up a bluebird house and bluebirds did try to take up residence, but the house sparrows won the battle for the birdhouse. I thought that there would be no chance for having a successful bluebird nesting in our yard until a neighbor of ours two doors down showed us a pair of bluebirds that had nested and laid eggs in a tiny decorative birdhouse that was sitting on top of a post of a split rail fence. Unfortunately a cat or raccoon finally got into the nest and destroyed it.
I put up my bluebird house the next day hoping to get the birds to nest in my box which was more cat and raccoon proof than my neighbors, but again, even though the bluebirds showed interest, the house sparrows took over the birdhouse. Not giving up, I surfed the Internet to find some way of putting up a sparrow proof bluebird house. I found a few sites that had had some success in keeping out sparrows.
I tried using fishing line as was suggested in at least two of the sites. This time I had better success than previous attempts but I still lost out to the sparrows. I looked again at my neighbor�s birdhouse and tried to figure out what there was about it that discouraged the sparrows. One thing was that the birdhouse was so small that only very desperate birds would try to nest in it. Another thing was that it�s being low to the ground and on a split rail fence made it easy for egg eating critters to climb.
So I began the redesigning process that led me to my final design. I did not want to try a smaller bird house because
1) I already had a good birdhouse
2) It looked as if a small house could easily cook the birds in the sun
3) Anything that small would have been an easy target for raccoons and cats
But I did try moving the birdhouse closer to the ground (about 3 to 3.5 feet above the ground). This did seem to slow down the sparrow interest but not enough to stop them. I tried moving the birdhouse close to a white pine tree thinking that the more wary sparrows would not like this. An improvement, but again not enough. Then I tried reworking the fishing line to be sure that no sparrow could sit on any of the bolts (see attachments). I was finally getting to where the bluebirds could get in and out, but the sparrows had such a difficult time that they could not get in. Even so, sparrows would sometimes sit on the roof and harass any bluebird that came around. So next I put fishing line on the top of the birdhouse. I also left the tag ends of all the knots be 3 to 4 inches long as long as they were not in the main entrance way, it seemed that more stuff there was flapping around, the more the sparrows did not like it.. Finally I had a birdhouse constructed and located in a way that the bluebirds could get in and out of easily and that sparrows did not want any part of. There may be things in this design that do no good and there are probably parts that could use improvement, but at least this is one scheme that works without constant human intervention.
The bluebirds nested and laid eggs. No sparrows had more that a brief passing interest in the house. But would it hold up to cats and raccoons? Luckily it did. One day I noticed that many of my fishing lines had been broken, I assume by a cat or raccoon, but the birdhouse with the extra collar at the entrance had kept whatever it was from getting into the nest. I tied on more line and had no more problems.
The bluebird house. See attachments
The entrance way �rectangle� is 3-1/2� across the top, 4-1/2� across the bottom, and 6� high. The top of this �rectangle� is about �� above the top of the entrance hole. These dimensions are probably not optimal, they are what I tried first and they worked. In two of the pictures I have replaced the fishing line with dark green yarn so that it would show up well in the pictures. The bolts are 6� machine screw bolts and each bolt has two nuts and two washers used to attach it to house (the pictures with the yarn has a bolt in front of the house for you to see). There are 2 ceiling hooks (cup hooks) one on each side in front, and 12 ceiling hooks on top. The line is 10 lb fluorocarbon fishing line (mine was Berkley Vanish line). Be sure to use a fluorocarbon line, other lines will deteriorate in the sun. Even fluorocarbon line will become more visible over time.
I am not sure what the effect of the fishing line is, but sparrows seem to fly up to it, beat their wings against it, get frustrated, and then leave. Maybe they cannot see it very well, maybe they cannot see it at all. In any case, it blocks the sparrow�s progress and they cannot take the direct route straight in from the front like the bluebirds can. Also, the sparrows cannot sit on the fishing line and they just do not like being around it. The birdhouse looks strange, weird, and ugly, but IT WORKS!
This year I am going to put up two birdhouses. Hopefully I can get bluebirds to nest in one at least once if not more, and maybe I can get tree swallows to nest in the other. Just because I had success once does not mean it will work again, but I think that there is a pretty good probability that it will. I have no idea about the swallows.
For the last several days before fledging we could see a baby that had made it up to the hole and stuck its head into the hole, maybe this was to be sure it got fed first, or maybe it just wanted a view of the outside. Some times a parent would feed the bird at the hole and other times it would push its way into the box and (I am guessing here) feed one of the others. It would also pick up one of the droppings in its mouth and take it at least a few hundred feet away.
We had an incredible stroke of luck. My wife and I were sitting on the back deck watching the bluebird activity when the bluebirds decided to fledge. All five baby bluebirds fledged with in an hour (7:15PM -= 8:15 PM).
Only one had trouble with the fishing line, it came out of the hole and perched on the lower right bolt facing away from the house. It flapped its wings into the line for about 30 seconds before it turned around, spent another 30 seconds trying to balance on the bolt, and then flew away. A second came out and perched on the upper left bolt before flying away. A third came out and flew clumsily to the ground before flying away. Two others launched themselves from the box flying straight out to freedom.
A few interesting observations:
One of the babies made an emergency landing on the ground near a robin. The robin did not like this maneuver and attacked the baby chasing it up into the air while snapping at its tail feathers. Just about the time the baby made it into a tree, father bluebird came out of the sky and drove the robin away, chasing it least three houses away before I lost sight of them.
The just fledged bluebirds have very short tail feathers and they look like some kind of experimental bird design when flying. I think that the lack of longer tail feathers and having zero flying experience restricts some of their maneuverability. The babies would sometimes fly from tree to tree, trying to land but not being able to do so. Many times they would end up landing on the flat sloping part of a roof and then walk 10 - 20 feet to the ridge on the top of the roof where they would rest and then either fly again or be visited by one of their parents.
Once a bluebird flew into the side of a house and sort of slid down the side to the ground. By the time it made it to the ground, one of the parents had arrived and guided the baby back into the air and to a safe perch.
Talk about chaos, the fledglings ended up a few hundred feet away from each other, each in a different direction, with the parents trying to keep track of and care for all of them at the same time. But before 9:00 PM, the parents had somehow guided all five of them to a wooded park about two blocks away and that is where they stayed until they had matured to the juvenile stage with good flying skills.
I would never have expected to see all five of them fledge at the same time. I guess that I have seen too many nature shows showing raptors fledging where the bully would fledge early and the runt would fledge a few days / weeks later.
Anyway, the bluebird fledging was a really fun show and I can�t wait for it all to happen again.
Jim Dohnal email@example.com
I always lightly tap on the boxes if I have doubt they are home. Well to my surprise after snapping a picture and looking at it (digital camera) I don't know who was more shocked her or me! I quickly and quietly closed the top and left.....
Social Circle, GA
First year bluebirder, Kyle Nothem, living in Glenbeulah, Wisconsin. At first I had lots of house sparrow problems. Then I found out from your website about the PVC box. I attracted bluebirds instantly. I would love it if you posted these pictures on your website. In the picture of the nesting mother, I tapped the side first and took about 3 pictures, put the nest back and the mom never fled. I was shaken more than her.
As we have all heard a picture is worth a thousand words, that must make these two videos priceless. These two videos come from Tony in St Augustine FL.
Place your mouse cursor over the video's to play them.
(on the left) I built a Bluebird nest box and installed a camera in the box. I found that the House Sparrows were braking the eggs of the Bluebirds that laid eggs in the box. So I made a birdhouse trap to catch the Sparrows and kill them. The trap worked well. This video shows how aggressive the Sparrows can be. I don't know the species of the bird that was in trouble. I didn't get a good look at it.
(on the right) Chickadee's took this box in the summer of 2001.This is a video of one of them feeding their babies. At that time we lived in Spring Hill TN. We are now in St Augustine FL. I have built a few bluebird boxes and put them up for some of the neighbors. At first we didn't see any bluebird's but now we see them visiting the boxes everyday.
My husband and I live in Columbia SC .. we are very fortunate to have Bluebirds visit us on a regular basis. Last Spring, mom and dad Bluebird brought their young by to visit us.
Our Bluebirds will come to our kitchen window, peck on the glass until we walk into the room and up to the window. Once we acknowledge them, they have a routine of flying up to our covered porch roof, then fly to a small limb on a pine tree nearby. They have also been known to visit us at other windows as well. We have read bluebirds see their reflection and are reacting to themselves... but these little friends come when there would be no reflection from sunlight or inside light at all..
We have also noticed they seem to pal around with a few other Bluebirds, we don't know if these are their young from last year, or just two older friends!
My husband just built three bird houses for them. It is funny, the Chickadees are also interested in the "new houses on the block". I imagine one day, they will hold an auction and bid on which house they want as their own! We also provide a hanging feeder, suet and a bird bath.
Are our Bluebirds reacting to us?
These birds seem to be friendly with other birds and do not mind joining them on the suet ball.
I have provided a picture taken last year.... (2008)
I responded with the following: