I have always enjoyed watching nature around me, a condition that likely resulted from growing up in West Virginia where we could only get one TV channel (WCHS – in Charleston), if the TV was working, which was not always the case. We had to entertain ourselves during any free time after the chores were done and we loved to be outside in the fresh air. Mom loved us being outside, too! There is so much to do out in the yard or the woods if you are fortunate enough to have woods near your home. I live in the city now but still find things to investigate and experiments to conduct in our 1/4 acre city habitat. And I still do not have cable.
One of my favorite activities is bluebird watching. Our front yard is relatively open and is bordered by my driveway and the neighbor’s. I read that blue birds like open space and undisturbed nesting sites so I was not sure we would have any takers when we stuck up our first box. I think we found the box at Ace Hardware and devised our own scheme for mounting it. The box below is in the original location but is the second generation and is one I made rather than purchased. A future blog entry will show the steps and provide the dimensions. It is a great DIY Dad project to do with the kids.
In the next picture we can see how close to the driveway the box is actually located. We have had a bluebird couple raise their babies in that location every year since the first Spring after we hung the box.
So I pushed the envelope and erected a second house across the yard next to the neighbor’s driveway. You can see the red rings I added in the photo around the houses to get an idea of the spacing. (This is my first attempt to edit an image so feel free to offer suggestions!)
Bluebirds are territorial and there will be one family using the east box beside the truck while the west box sits empty. Once the first family raises its young and moves on, a second family will start – using the west box. That has been status quo since the second box was added and it is thrilling to watch. I snapped this photo of Mr. Bluebird who is very protective of his family (more on that later!) He paused in his chores long enough to pose then warned me I was getting a might to close to his babies.
Here is a close-up picture of our second box, purchased from Lowes. I am sure Home Depot and even Wal-Mart carry them now.
Earlier this year I added a third box but it is 350 miles away in West Virginia in my Mom’s back yard. We are hoping she will have her first grand-birds next Spring.