Monday, March 19, 2012
Bluebird House Spring Cleaning
I was sure I saw the brilliant blue flash of a passing bluebird. That immediately moved the cleaning and repair of the bluebird houses to the top of the do it now list. The job was more difficult and time consuming this year. Several houses had come down over this past winter. Ed had some posts to reset and houses to rehang. We place our bluebird houses in twos hoping that the bluebirds will stay in one and the tree swallows will settle in the other. This method works well for us. We have a dozen boxes spread out over our land. Each set of houses is isolated from the others to increase the chances of getting the beautiful birds to nest.
This house is an example of almost total success. Bluebirds made a nest using grasses. The lower nest was made and used to raise a bluebird clutch. The upper stick nest was made by wrens. For some reason the bluebirds left after raising their young.
This nest box has the two bluebird nests, but it has more! The white stuff at the top is milkweed fluff. It means that mice have made a nest and spent the winter in this bluebird box. Bluebird boxes need to be empty in the spring.
Ed flipped the contents of the nest to the ground. Unfortunately our mouse tenants were at home at the time. I let out a shriek as a brown and white furry creature ran across my feet disappearing into the tall grass. Ed tells me I did quite a dance to avoid the speeding rodent. Thank goodness I had the camera so no viral video of that is available. Perhaps I'm not really sore from weeding, but instead from my fancy mouse-avoiding footwork done on uneven ground.
Now the houses are ready for the returning bluebirds. We just need to check back to make sure the mice stay gone. Actually I'm quite sure Ed will be doing that!