WELCOME TO THE MICHIGAN BLUEBIRD SOCIETY!
Male bluebird feeding a female bluebird - photo courtesy of Dave Kinneer
The Michigan Bluebird Society is a group of individuals dedicated to helping bluebirds and other native cavity nesting bird species in the state of Michigan. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an affiliate of the North American Bluebird Society.
Why There is a Need to Help Bluebirds and What You Can Do
Because of habitat loss, environmental pollution, and competition of non-native bird species (House Sparrows and European Starlings), bluebirds have suffered large declines compared to their original numbers. However, bluebirds have been shown to thrive in areas where there is human-provided housing that is actively monitored. As a result, through the efforts of many people, bluebirds have increased in numbers in the last 10 years. Putting up a nest box is the easiest and most important thing you can do. Not only are you helping bluebirds to populate, but watching a pair of adults build a nest, lay eggs, and feed their young is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things you will ever experience. Just ask any bluebird landlord - you'll be hooked and changed forever!
The Michigan Bluebird Society is an affiliate of the North American Bluebird Society.
Video: Learn How To Become A Bluebird Landlord in 8 Minutes
Michigan Bluebird News......
FALL AND WINTER BLUEBIRD ACTIVITIES
As Fall begins many people feel that there isn't anything they need to do for our Bluebirds. Babies have fledged and many times the adults seem to have disappeared. But be aware that they may show up again in September and October and visit nest boxes. They usually do not bring any nesting material to the box, although the female may spend some time inside. They may chase off intruders, and males may perch on the roof, wingsave and sing like they do in the Spring. You may also see flocks of Bluebirds.
What are they up to? Are they confused? Homeless? Thinking about starting another brood so late in the year? There are several reasons that Bluebirds (and other species) check out boxes in the Fall. Below are a few:
1. Prospecting: Previous residents scope out future nest sites or migrants passing thru the area get curious. (Eastern Bluebirds may leave for migration from early September though December, depending on your location).
2. Weather: Temperatures and day length mimic breeding season temperatures & day length, so it is possible they are confused.
3. Looking for roosting spots. Note House Sparrows WILL use boxes for roosting. Do not allow this, as it gives them a jumpstart on the next nesting season.
4. Searching for bugs.
It is a good idea to put up any new boxes in the Summer or Fall. It gives birds a chance to check them out before they migrate. Maybe they will be back to nest in that box the following year. It also lets the boxes weather a bit. Some people think birds prefer a weathered box, although there does not seem to be any research to prove this.
Suggested Fall and Winter Bluebirding Activities:
Clean Out Nest Boxes: This should be done after each nesting, but better late than never.
Roosting: Prepare nest boxes for Winter roosting by sealing up ventilation holes and/or insulating the floor.
Waterproof Nest Boxes: Late Summer (after nesting season ends) or Fall is a good time to do annual waterproofing of nest boxes, because you should do it when the box is not in use. Double check the caulking of the various seams of the box and re-caulk if needed before waterproofing.
Icicle Prevention: If you're in a really cold climate, and the roof allows icicles to form in front of the entrance hole, birds could get trapped inside. To avoid this, mount the box so the box is tilted slightly to the side so water drains away from the entrance hole, or make boxes with a roof that is slanted so it drains to the side or the back.
House Sparrow Prevention: All Winter, take your preferred steps to guard against House Sparrows, if they are in your area.
Feed: Offer suet (you will have to train them first) when temperatures are below 40 degrees and insects are not active. Bluebirds will also readily accept meal worms in the Winter.
Plant: Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs & vines that produce berries that will attract birds and help them survive the Winter.
Water: Eating snow for moisture uses up extra energy. A heated birdbath can help birds. You can also use a heated dog food bowl (less expensive than a heated birdbath) with pebbles in the bottom to keep it shallow.
Note: The above information is an excerpt from sialis.org/fall.htm. See the site for more information.
Please don't hesitate to contact MBS with any questions or problems you might have. We are available to assist you in your bluebirding efforts. To find a County Coordinator near you or for a general contact at the MBS, please go to Contact Us.
Your friends at the Michigan Bluebird Society