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Click to go to Audubon Society of Omaha Home Page Audubon Society of OmahaEastern Bluebird

Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists Classified

Hand Warmers in a Nestbox


From: "Dottie, Hickory Hollow, Brown County, Indiana" yumyumkatts"at"voyager.net
Subject: Hand Warmers and BB's
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 15:28:21 -0500

Some of the Purple Martin people are using hand warmers placed in a sock to keep their baby Martins warm. Maybe it would work as well on Bluebirds. I have three partial BB nests started and we just went thru a terrible ice storm. Who knows what April/May will be like here in the Midwest.

Dottie, Hickory Hollow
Brown County, Indiana
(50 miles south of Indianapolis)


From: "Dottie, Hickory Hollow, Brown County, Indiana" yumyumkatts"at"voyager.net
Subject: Heated Bluebird Box--Post #1
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 20:45:04 -0500

Saturday, February 23, 2002Below is a post that I received in response to my post of hand warmers in BB boxes. The Birder would like some input regarding his design of a heated box. This is post #1. Please also see post #2.

Your responses will be appreciated.

Dottie, Hickory Hollow
Brown County, Indiana

----- Original Message -----
From: traveldude
To: 'Dottie, Hickory Hollow, Brown County, Indiana'
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 3:52 PM

Saturday, February 23, 2002

Hi, here is what I do to keep the nests warm.

Find attached a couple of photos of the experimental heated bird box complete with wireless thermometer.

I see about 66 degrees F already and give or take 39 degrees in an identical unheated box. The unheated box varies quite a bit as the sun goes behind clouds etc.. A really cold night will be the real test.

The heater is regulating the floor temperature to approximately 86 degrees. The temp probe is a half inch or so off of the floor.

Comments will be most appreciated as I really am an engineer and not a bird man!

Paul

**

From: traveldude
To: 'Dottie, Hickory Hollow, Brown County, Indiana'
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 7:31 PM
Subject: RE: Heated Box

Hi Dottie,

I really don't know a lot about it either as it is new stuff.. The floor of the box is maintained at 86 degrees F. I engineered and built one and now have approximately 6 on my property as of a couple of days ago. My plan is to put out a dozen or so out and see what happens.. I really would like some input to help me find out if this is what is needed and if not what changes should be made. I have put rubber bands over the holes in my boxes so "bad birds" can't get in. As of a few days ago all apartments are open for occupancy here!

Paul, 35 miles south west of Boston

**
From: Dottie, Hickory Hollow, Brown County, Indiana
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 3:54 PM
To: traveldude
Subject: Re: Heated Box

I don't know about your box as I'm not that experienced a Birder myself. However, with your permission, I will forward your e-mail over to the List and ask them for input. Should be quite interesting. How about it?

Dottie, Hickory Hollow
Brown County, Indiana

...


From: "Karen Louise Lippy" brdbrain"at"superpa.net
Subject: Fw: Heated Bluebird Box--Post #1
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 08:54:55 -0500

Saturday, February 23, 2002 I have not seen any discussion of this box on-line. I personally am not sure having heated boxes is good for the birds. I think the difference in temperature from inside the box to the outside temperature might be drastic at times. Not sure how this difference would affect the birds.

Do any of you educated people have ideas with some scientific basis to confirm or refute my concerns.

I don't feel I know enough about this to make a valid objection, but just going by a gut feeling. Karen from South Central PA


From: "Keith & Sandy Kridler" kridler"at"1starnet.com
Subject: Re:Heated nestbox
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 08:13:38 -0600

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
These are just my thoughts because something like this would need to be very closely monitored and temperature readings kept all during the day and night.

Incubating eggs need to be kept right at 99*F for best hatching results. 107*F for a couple of hours kills most of the embryo's in the egg.

In years past Purple Martin landlords have heated colonies to save them during very cold spring or summer weather. I do recall where some sort of heat tape that worked great for one season had the thermostat hang and ended up cooking eggs and young in the entire house.

I prefer to let nature select the birds for their area as the penguins hatch eggs in sub zero conditions without a nest:-))) On the scientific end of this I would like to see something like this developed using non threatened species (like bluebirds) as we never know when a single nest of the last individuals of a species might need to be saved! I would think he at least needs to work closely with Cornell or at least share all of his data with them at the end of the year. I see a need for the testing and data collected IF something like this is shared. MANY times an individual has the expertise needed to do the job correctly IF they can work with the "experts". KK


From: "Fawzi P. Emad femad <at> fpemad <dot> com
Subject: Re:Heated nestbox
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 09:46:28 -0500

Like Keith, I offer what I think, I have not tested such a heater, but here is my thinking for you to ponder.

First, it needs power to generate the heat, so a wire has to reach the box. This may be an inconvenience in most cases. Of course, batteries (may be sun powered) can be used, but that is a bigger hassle.

We do heat our own homes, so why not a nestbox? Well, when our thermostat gets stuck, we don't freeze, and we don't overheat, we go to it and do something (I would fix it, or we would call the A/C repairman.) The Bluebirds cannot do much in this regard. Moreover, the Bluebirds have a coat of down under their feathers. If you have slept under a rich down comforter you know it will keep you warm down to below 0*F. So, I doubt the birds need to be warmed up. This may not be true if they decide to stay up north and the temperature drops down drastically as may happen sometimes.

So, I think there can be a time when we need to use such heaters. This is true in my case where the nestboxes are close to home (hence I can send a wire several hundred feet out) and my Bluebirds stay here all winter. Rarely, we will get a winter when the temp. drops to -20*F. Too cold for the Bluebirds and they could die. Even the roostboxes I make for them will hardly protect them. Then I wish I had such a heater.

Conclusion: I agree with Keith, the project should be researched and documented. Such a device can be valuable, but not for general use by everyone everywhere... Only in rare cases.

Fawzi

Fawzi Emad in Laytonsville, Maryland


From: "traveldude" traveldude"at"net1plus.com
Subject: RE: Heated nestbox
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 10:09:41 -0500

Hi Keith,

The floor of the box is kept at approximately 86 degrees. Both the heater and thermostat are solid state so there is no possibility of thermostat hang-up and no moving parts. I would be extremely pleased if someone could jump in and suggest some science to see if there are any benefits. The heater is very gentle and can be left on all year round as there will be no heat given off when the surrounding temp reaches 86 degrees. I have just built 5 heated boxes and installed them outdoors with another 6-7 to be completed and put out within the week. I have installed LED indicators on each box to show they are being powered.. A future thought is to engineer an "occupancy detector" in the box that will change the color of the LED indicator as well. Red for heater running, green and the heater is running and mom is home perhaps.. Any thoughts?

Paul of Mazzzchusetts


From: "dean sheldon" dsheldonjr"at"hotmail.com
Subject: PAISING BLUEBIRDS:NATURALLY
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 10:39:47 -0500

In my opinion, it is truly hard to believe that there are those amongst the faithful who would even begin to entertain the notion of HEATING nestboxes.  We have gone from setting out well-designed boxes in optimum habitat and letting nature take its course with our monitoring of the situation....to the almost complete manipulation of the nesting activity. It is really hard for me to believe it all: feeding mealworms is now a given; insulation of boxes for summer/winter; shade roofs; roost boxes for winter; an obsession with trapping/fancy predator guards....and now heating of boxes during periods of low temperatures. WE are too much into the bluebird game. Personally, I favor a return to the basics: find a likely nest spot, put up a box, monitor the activity in a conventional manner, keep records and quit the intrusive mangement which has become such a big part of the picture. WE are making this all much too complicated. And, in the process, we are driving away those who would like to become a vital part of the bluebird picture. Dean Sheldon, Ripley Township, Huron County, Ohio (just south of Lake Erie)


From: "Bruce Burdett" blueburd"at"srnet.com
Subject: Re: PAISING BLUEBIRDS:NATURALLY
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 11:01:08 -0500

To: Dean Sheldon, et al,

I agree with you wholeheartedly about this tendency toward over-management of Bluebirds, or any natural species. The notion of heated houses has a certain Electronic Age appeal, I suppose, but I'm pretty certain that the birds don't need them, and they could quite possibly have unforeseen harmful side effects.

Good houses, good locations, and thorough, conscientious monitoring. I think that's all we should be concerned about. It strikes me that many of the things we do are designed more to entertain us than to assist the birds. I've met any number of people who would never dream of putting up a house outside their own yard. If they can't see the birds from their windows, they're simply not interested.

Bruce Burdett, SW NH


Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 10:20:31 -0600
From: Kate Oschwald bbnestbox"at"1starnet.com
Subject: Re: Fw: Heated Bluebird Box--Post #1

I am personally very uncomfortable with this concept. I know heated houses makes humans and other creatures less able to adapt to temperature extremes outside without protective clothing--people, horses and dogs need blankets and coats to go outside in winter, to name a few!

Do we want baby bluebirds or nesting females to lose their ability to cope with outside temperatures?

Kate Oschwald
Paris, TX


Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 10:37:01 -0600 (Central Standard Time)
From: "Phil Berry" mrtony8"at"mchsi.com
Subject: Re:Heated nestbox

Fawzi, et al.,
'
Several years ago, maybe 1993 or 1994, we had a "killing frost" here in NW Florida (and most of the south), in March or early April. I recall attending our annual meeting of the Alabama Ornithological Society, A fellow bluebirder from northern Alabama brought slides to show us of hundreds of dead bluebirds. They had gathered, as many as a dozen per box, to escape the cold. One picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. In conditions such as these, a little heat could have gone a long way.

Phil Berry
Gulf Breeze, Florida


From: "Bobby Wilson" bluebirdbob1"at"bresnan.net
Subject: MICRO MANAGEMENT OF BLUEBIRDS
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 16:58:56 +0000

Come folks what do you think that really good sleeping bags are made of? I have one that is good to -45* and it does not have a heater. Don't you think that this list is getting out of hand.

I do not have nesting boxes in my back yard. I just provide well built boxes that are mounted to keep predators out in good habitat and let nature provide for our beloved bluebirds.

If you have a comment on something why not just send it to the person who posted it not the entire list.

Bob Wilson Grand Junction Colorado


From: TomGaryH"at"aol.com
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 10:12:17 EST
Subject: Re: Birdhouse heaters

Hi Folks,

Many interesting thoughts have been posted. I have to agree that a central location for collecting data in this area would be great. If some nestbox  monitors were to routinely provide the capability to artifically warm nests it would be nice to be able to learn the details and the sucesses and the failures of their work. A lot might be learned through appication of off-the-shelf technology, makeshift designing, and general observation. Interaction with some in the scientific community could result in more statistically acceptable information. Perhaps lessons learned from such experimentation could be instrumental in prolonging survival of any number a threatened/endangered species. I just hope in future the citizens will never allow our ever encroaching government to mandate that all monitors must provide artifically heated nests and dens before becoming liscensed to participate in the hobby of caring for wildlife.

Tom Heintzelman
Milton, Santa Rosa County, FL (western panhandle, inland) U.S.A.
30 38' 33"N 087 03' 32"W Zone 8 Eastern Bluebirds


From: "Fread J" firefrost2"at"hotmail.com
Subject: Heated Nestboxes------Very Long!
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 10:28:34 -0600

There seems to be some dissention concerning the idea of adding heat to nestboxes. Should I perceive this correctly, the reason against such an action is due to "manipulation of our environment".

Let me drag out my soapbox here.

I, like my highly esteemed colleague, Mr. Krider, agree and encourage this man to investigate much, much, further. He obviously has put some thought and intuitive thinking into this and I am quite impressed. He comes to us for support and interaction. Those with less foresight fail to see how advantageous this would be in a winter roost box when temperatures plummet to record levels killing blues by the hundreds! I like the idea of being able to know if a blue is sitting on eggs simply by seeing a different colored LED on the front of my nestbox, for the less I disturb her, the better she is. I say, "Give the man encouragement to proceed with his investigations!"

Like Mr. Krider, whom I hold with and in the very highest regard, I think that his project has merits. We could assist him in his research by providing valuable data. He needs lots of experimentation and tons of data which we have at our disposal. Who can tell what his research lead to?

CONCERNING MANIPULATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT

To those who cry manipulation, I ask you, if a tree died in your yard, would you remove it? Knowing full well what a magnet it is to attracting all forms of life. Do you use fertilizer in your gardens and upon your lawn? Have you chosen a mono-culture of grass for your lawn? Do you use household chemicals such as cleaners etc? Without getting red-faced with shame, do you recall what you flushed down the drain.....that liquid that you did not know what to do with it???

To those who cry "manipulation", are you familiar with the term 'synergistic'? It comes from the word synergism, whose etymology goes back to the Greek word 'synergos' meaning 'working together'. The definition of synergism then, is the cooperative interaction of two ideas, objects, or organisms which has relevance in many fields. In business, cooperation of subsidiaries and parts of a corporation result in an enhanced combined effect. In theology, it is the combination of divine grace and human will through which individual salvation is achieved. In physiology, it is the cooperation between muscles that allow for coordinated movement of our bodies.

Another way of explaining the definition of synergism is the separate inputs produce an output which is greater than or different from the sum of the separate inputs. Read that again. Read it slowly so you can be sure you understand the definition.

Now, how in the world is he going to tie all of this heavy stuff back into Bluebirds???? Well, remember the manipulation thing? You and I are so manipulating the entire earth system now that we possibly have started the proverbial snowball rolling downhill! Scary? You bet!

That is why we gather on this channel. We have manipulated the environment so definitively, that lines which form and support the Great Web of Life are being nonchalantly severed. The Web is sagging badly, near breaking point. Our beloved blues are only a token of what we have done.

Remember all those chemicals we talked about earlier? Where are they now? "Out-of-sight, Out-of-mind Theory" no longer works anymore! Draw a nice refreshing glass of tap water. Brilliantly lucid, positively clear......and loaded with an alchemist's nightmare of chemicals now.

Wait! Our water supply is "Approved", you say. Yes, they have settled out the largest particulates and treated the water for bacteria. However, between those tiny molecules of hydrogen and oxygen are spaces known as interstices and those interstices are where a dark secret lies.......a terrible secret which we are only now beginning to realize!

What if you knew you were actually drinking HGH (Human Growth Hormone) in your drinking water? It was flushed down the drain. What about the female hormone Estrogen? Yep, it was flushed down the drain in urine combined with birth control pills. Now, in your city, there are sewers running to drains in every business establishment. I wonder what they have poured down their drains? All drains lead to ground water. Where do you get your water? Starting to see the picture, now?

Take every conceivable chemical, stir it up into a "witches's's brew", then pour it out upon the heaving breast of Mother Earth. That is what we have done for over 200 years now. In silence, She has accepted all we have done. Now, with our age of technology, we have peered into those interstices between the molecules of hydrogen and oxygen.....and we have jumped back in fear!

Now comes that nasty little term "synergism". Separate inputs, produce an output that is greater than, or different from the SUM of separate inputs. Ever hear of "MSDS sheets"? That stands for Material Safety Data Sheets and are produced to govern our safe handling of materials. Prestigious Oxford University has a site to view these. I encourage you to go to this site and simply click around on things and read. Spend some time there, you will benefit from it.

http://physchem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/ 

I have an immeasureable curiosity, a great interest in understanding the world around me. In doing so, I gain a greater appreciation of life and the world around me through a deeper understanding. I encourage all to be the same way. It is only through educating ourselves that we might be able to
figure out some way, some alternative, short of leaving this blue globe in search of another habitat, to undue what we all have done.

The snowball of our troubles has started rolling downhill, it is gaining momentum. Can you and I slow it down? Could we ever stop it?

Manipulation? We have so manipulated all that is around us, the very basics of life itself: air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat....

So, let's go back to synergism. Take two very common chemicals which many reading this right now have used: dieldrin (a chlorinated hydrocarbon) and endosulfan (a man-made chemical not occurring in nature).

The word dieldrin is associated with Rachel Carson's epic book "Silent Spring". Use started in the early 50's and continued to 1987 when registry was refused. Thirty-seven years of surely what must be millions of tons applied to the breast of Mother Earth. It was used as an insecticide for food crops, same as endosulfan. Dieldrin's sister chemical Aldrin changes to dieldrin when exposed to the sun. So, add another few million tons of it to the pile, too.

Both of these chemicals, dieldrin and endosulfan, occur in our water, our air, our soils. Endosulfan was used as an insecticide and as a wood preservative....that should have caught our attentions right there! If it preserves wood, what is it doing sprayed on my vegetables at the supermarket!

The toxicology of endosulfan: causes severe central nervous system damage stopping the cells from communicating with each other. It shows up as hyperactivity (which we are treating thousands of children for now), nausea, dizziness, headache or convulsions. Severe poisoning equals death. Long term studies on animals shows staggering damage to kidneys, liver and quite possibly stops the immune system from functioning properly! Lawn companies routinely use endosulfan to spray lawns both privately and commercially (like parks, game fields,etc.) all those places that children play........

The Environmental Protection Agency, which was recently crippled by funding and personnel reduction, has listed over 1,300 sites affected with dieldrin on its National Priorities List! These are sites with serious chemical damage and pollution. I wonder where they are.........

We have two chemicals here we have talked about: dieldrin and endosulfan out of hundreds of thousands of chemicals. These two chemicals react with each other synergistically. We have proven that in laboratory testing. They react so violently with each other that they form a new chemical that increases estrogenic effects over 1,600 times more powerful than either chemical alone.

Endosulfan. Dieldrin. Two widely used chemicals on our foods; in our water, in the very air we breathe. Manipulation on the grandest scale imaginable......and we worry about heated bird nestboxes?

Fread J. Loane
Horticulturist
Tulsa, Oklahoma


From: "Jim McLochlin" bluebirdbox"at"cox.net
Subject: Heating Nestboxes and other methods of nestbox micromanagement
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 20:15:51 -0600

Overall for the average trail owner I agree 100% with Dean that the use of heaters and other micromanagement techniques discussed on the list at times seem silly, way over board, and might not even be in the best interest of the birds as a species. I must admit my first reaction was to smirk.

On the other hand for a bluebirder who has one or two nestboxes in the near vicinity of his/her home micromanagement even one that would go so far as to heat a nest box may not be so silly. This type of bluebirder may have a lot at stake in that one or two nest boxes. They could see their whole years efforts in bluebirding be exhausted in one nest failure. If micromanagement of the nest attempt resulted in success, I doubt very little effect on the species as a whole would result. If an enterprising person wanted to go to the efforts of designing and testing a micromanagement technique I see nothing wrong with that process.

My thoughts really go much further. What happens if that person who did have success went the next step and evolved from being a backyard bluebirder to being full scale trail monitor? I suspect that most micromanagement techniques either learned or exploited as the best thing to hit bluebirders would quickly become unacceptable to a typical trail monitor. I suspect that most micromanagement techniques are either too costly in a monetary sense or in time commitment for a full scale trail.

However is it wise to discourage technological advances as a means to solve any bluebird problems? The way I see it we have this list because of technological advances with all of it's advantages and disadvantages. However even this list only represents (I would suspect) less than 1% of the active bluebirders, so what is the effect of this list?

Don't believe for a minute that I encourage micromanagement or technology as solutions to bluebirds and bluebirding. They are just another avenue that is available to let us enjoy the experience. That is what bluebirding is about for most of us. For others it might be an occupation, in any case bluebirding through the use of technology allows us to get closer to the natural world by connecting on this list. For some backyard bluebirders micromanagement might allow that same point of access.

Jim McLochlin
Omaha, NE
41.279N -96.060W


From: "Karen Louise Lippy" brdbrain"at"superpa.net
Subject: Re: Heating Nestboxes and other methods of nestbox micromanagement
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 06:41:48 -0500

Jim,

An excellent post.

When I asked to have a discussion on this topic, it was not my intention to discourage the gentleman who is working on it. I had reservations as to its successful functioning as a heating device without having a detrimental effect on the birds. He had asked for input. I thought he might have intentions of commercially marketing this box. If it is tested and deemed safe, more power to him! I would not purchase one, but as he can see from posts here, there are people who would.

Much of what we do for the bluebird today is not necessary to sustain the species. But each person who looks into a nest box gets a magical window into the life of a bird. This glimpse can give them an appreciation and respect for birds they would never get otherwise. Only birdfeeding comes close to matching this ability to bring birds to us. Nestboxes do more. They bring us the moment by moment struggle for life, death and procreation. Can anyone who becomes involved with even one nestbox ever look at birds the same?

While the bluebirds may not need the heater to sustain their existence, perhaps some moniters do. Karen from South Central PA


From: "Fawzi P. Emad femad <at> fpemad <dot> com
Subject: Re: Heating Nestboxes and other methods of nestbox micromanagement
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 08:04:43 -0500

There is little doubt that the concept of heating nestboxes is a research idea. It has not been tested yet (as far as I know.) Hence, if designed well (our engineer friend probably knows how to do this well) testing it is an important project. We can discover something we did not know before. This is not micro-management. It is research and requires data collection, etc. Cornell has already asked for research projects by little-trail guys (like myself) and this would qualify as one such project. In my case I would test it in our yard around the house.

One can make guesses as to the results. For example, I agree with Dean and Jim that it will probably not catch on in the case of trails, especially long ones, far from civilization. On the other hand, I would not mind testing one with proper sensors so I could record temperatures, bird reaction, etc. I must admit though it would be much more fun to observe the birds using a little digital camera in the nestbox (nestcam.) One of these days I might do this, but it is costly and requires digging the yard for the wires.

Fawzi

Fawzi Emad in Laytonsville, Maryland
femad"at"comcast.net


From: "Dottie, Hickory Hollow, Brown County, Indiana" yumyumkatts"at"voyager.net
Subject: Heated Nestboxes - Dottie
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 09:07:02 -0500

I have enjoyed the discussion on heated nest boxes very much. All the comments have been so interesting and informative. I'm sure "Traveldude" has found it all very helpful. He sure came to the right place. Thanks to Karen Louise Lippy for getting the discussion started and to all of you who responded.

Dottie, Hickory Hollow
Brown County, Indiana
(50 miles south of Indianapolis)


Date: Mon, 01 Apr 2002 10:56:24 -0500
From: Tina Phillips cbp6"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Heating Nestboxes and other methods of nestbox
micromanagement

Karen,

I think everyone has done a great job of chiming in on this subject and offering sound advice about the heater in nest boxes debate. I believe much like Dean that less is more, the less we disturb the better off the birds will be. Let us not forget the role that natural selection plays in all of this...the name of the game is survival of the fittest, not survival of the most managed.

I have a few other comments for the engineer that designed the heaters. Mostly I am concerned about how heaters would effect a female's incubation rhythms. If for instance the heaters make it so warm that the female must stop incubating and leave the nest box, what effect does that have on her instincts to incubate? If she spends less and less time on the eggs, will they be rotated enough so that the amniotic fluid does not stick to the shell, as they would if the female was on the eggs routinely? We do not know, and thus may be putting these birds in harms way to satisfy our own curiosities, even if with good intentions.

The Birdhouse Network is currently beginning a pilot study of incubation rhythms in Eastern Bluebirds in which we place small data loggers inside and outside nest boxes, and which record ambient temperature throughout egg laying and incubation. After this initial data is analyzed we can begin to answer a slew of questions relating to incubation patterns. This may lead to further studies of this sort, created and designed by ornithologists,
not engineers.

Until further scientific research is conducted, I suggest this type of experimental manipulation be left to non-native birds only.

Tina Phillips
The Birdhouse Network
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14850


From: "Kathy Clark" lilbirdie2u"at"hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Heating Nestboxes and other methods of nestbox micromanagement
Date: Mon, 01 Apr 2002 23:46:40 -0500

Tina on that note I agree wholeheartedly!!!!! PA will be participating in the study.. and while I see the "curious" side of things.. I just suspect something in disguise.. I'm sorry if I'm wrong and apologies sent already. As far as just myself in my contacts with other bluebirders.. those with just a box in the yard etc. that are only having problems I strongly recommend a trail in another area. Not all are successful nestings even under the best of circumstances. Look around you on your travels.. I am sure some will find abandoned trails. and many of them are now again very successful ones. I hope to see the results of the tests done by Cornell next year hopefully. I myself look for trails for folks who are frustrated with their box in their yards.. THey make the most superb monitors in my opinion!!!! Kathy Clark


From: "Gilliam, Jay" jay.gilliam"at"pioneer.com
Subject: Micromanaging...The Perfect Nestbox
Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 09:43:00 -0600

        I've been away from the PC for a while and am now going through the 200+ Messages that I've received from the list in the last few days and thought I would add my opinion on micromanaging. 

        If a person has a nestbox in their backyard and want to micromanage it, I don't believe it will have an adverse effect on the overall population of bluebirds, in terms of evolution and survival of the fittest.  On the other hand, I believe you can have an adverse effect if you take micromanaging too far, as with box heaters.  There is a potential problem with heating the box if it is done while egg-laying is occurring because the eggs will begin incubating and the timing of the hatch will not be synchronous.  This could cause problems with the babies developing at different rates and could even lead to siblicide as it does with species that do not hatch synchronously.  I have a large trail and would not even think about micromanaging. 

        I believe the birds need the bare essentials that are found in nature...a cavity that can hold a clutch of birds that will remain dry and in the proper habitat and safe from predators.  Nature will weed out the unfit individuals and the population will evolve to survive another generation.

        How far will micromanaging be taken?  Will there someday be a nestbox with a built-in heater to keep things warm, a ceiling fan to keep things cool, a built-in mealworm feeder, a vane that keeps the box turned away from prevailing winds at all times, a box-cam so every little thing can be monitored and fixed if it doesn't meet with what we think is right, a mechanism to turn the box to face a nearby shrub at the time of fledging, and anti-cat/coon/sparrow/snake devices?? 

        We are going to have losses of bluebirds on our trails.  It is not always going to be because we didn't do something right.  If a person wants to give bluebirds the best chance of increasing their numbers, they should start by focusing on where the box is placed and then provide a box that will remain dry and protect it from predators.  One suggestion I have is to make a list of all of the factors you can think of that will affect the outcome of a nesting attempt and rank them as to importance.  Then take the top three or four and focus on them first, these will most likely be the ones that will meet the  critical needs of the birds.  Once you are sure you can meet the crucial needs of the birds using the boxes, then you can start to work your way down the rest of your list with the non-necessity items if it will make you feel better about what you are doing to help the birds.

Thanks---
Jay Gilliam
Norwalk, IA


From: "Matt Hadis" mattartoo"at"hotmail.com
Subject: Birdcam and heater Questions to the group....
Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 20:12:23 -0400

Hi all!
I've got a question.

I've read an awful lot of posts concerning the colds effect on eggs and babies, and a lot of posts about monitoring and micro-managing, etc. I really don't want to get into it all over again. My reason for posting this question is to ask if there is any interest from anyone in this group to use any of the inventions I've made that address the above problems.

I can easily provide a PASSIVE nestbox heater (emphasis on the word passive....) to fit whatever box you are happy with if anyone is interested in such an item. I can provide such an invention for a REASONABLE price (considering it will last forever and require no maintenance and cost next to nothing to run all year round). My invention is sitting in the bottom of nestboxes that have birds and eggs and babies in them so I can tell you already that the birds involved are very happy with central heating...

So the first part of my question is if anyone is interested in such a thing? If you are, send me an e-mail and we will chat back and forth and I will build you whatever you need in case it gets really cold and wet again. Part 2... I can -and have- fitted boxes with camera's of all shapes and types. These allow me to look in on anything that is nesting in my boxes without rapping on the side and opening up the door to peek. (It still startles me when bird flies out!) Depending on what you like, I can equip any box with a daytime camera or a really slick infrared camera that allows you to watch what's going on in the nestbox at 3am if your so inclined! I can do this also at a REASONABLE price if you are interested! If you are curious and sincerly interested in seeing what is going on in the nestbox without disturbing the box, tell me what you have and what you want and let me see if I can help you out some. All these project are a hobby for me that I have recieved a lot of enjoyment from and I am simply trying to allow others in this group to play with the same inventions I'm playing with. My web site is www.bluebirdhouse.com but don't go by those prices. Let me know your from BBL and I'll do better. Thank's all! Matt:)


From: "Matt Hadis" mattartoo"at"hotmail.com
Subject: Whoops....
Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 07:56:35 -0400

Hi all,
I just noticed in my last post that I had given the wrong address to my website... Try www.bluebirdnest.com if your interested in seeing more about heaters and nestcams and such.
Thanks!
Matt:)


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