Attracting Bluebirds in an Urban Setting
By: Marlys Shirley/BBRP Dakota County Coordinator
Yes, this is possible with perseverance! My husband Glen met Clarence Rothford from Burnsville in 2010 and talked bluebirds over coffee. Clarence’s enthusiasm included attending the Bluebird Expo and purchasing a membership which gave him the basics to successfully attract bluebirds. We went to his home in a residential neighborhood and sited a pair of PVC nest boxes in his backyard. No bluebirds appeared that year.
In May, 2013, Clarence called to say he’d seen a bluebird in 2012, but it did not nest. But now he was excited to see a pair that was feeding on mealworms he was providing! In July he reported his second nesting of this pair. By the end of August he’d successfully fledged 10, and he’d had a ball with all of them over the summer.
Clarence’s bluebirds had found a safe nesting site AND mealworm treats besides!! They returned in 2014 and 2015! This year he fledged eight in two nestings of the season, and has called us to say he is thrilled to see seven at a time this fall enlivening his yard and enjoying his mealworms. Even the neighbors are now telling him of enjoying seeing these “jewels of blue”! Clarence says besides a BBRP approved nest box mounted on a rebar and conduit pole, get those mealworms out early in spring so bluebirds have something to eat when they return. He started feeding with an aluminum pie plate and bungee cord on his deck. Now he uses a roofed oriole feeder with double cups in which he puts a handful a couple times a day.
Could anything be more delightful in an urban setting than a bluebird family enjoying your yard?!