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......
LATE SPRING & SUMMER BLUEBIRD LANDLORD DUTIES
Now that the Bluebirds have decided on a nestbox and hopefully laid their first batch of eggs for the year, do not think you can just sit back and let nature take it's course. As a Bluebird landlord you need to monitor the boxes during nesting season, which usually lasts thru August. Monitoring is easy and quick. You should try to check the boxes at least once a week and twice if you have the time.
If possible, monitor the boxes in the afternoon. Do not monitor near dusk or dawn. Also, be sure to keep track of when nestlings hatch, so you do not monitor once they are more than 12-14 days old. They might leave the box, when you open it and before they can fly. It is normal for the birds to dive bomb you while you do this. Don't worry - they come very close, but seldom touch people!
There are many things to check for and it is a good idea to record what you find in the boxes. You will want to record what species of bird is nesting in each box, if they have eggs and how many. When they have hatched, record an estimated date that they will fledge, so you know when to stop monitoring each box. Here s a link to a form, which you can use for recording your data: NEST BOX MONITORING FORM
Be sure to check for eggs, which do not hatch. If it has been more than 72 hours since the the last of the eggs hatched and there is still one or more unhatched eggs, you need to remove them from the nest. If the eggs start to rot or they break, it could attract predators.
If a nestbox has been disturbed you might see a damaged nest, broken eggs or even nestlings on the ground or muddy marks on the pole. Broken eggs or nestlings on the ground with no evidence of anything climbing the pole can indicate that sparrows have invaded the nest. If there are footprints around and on the pole, it was likely a raccoon or squirrel. You will need to wax or grease the pole or put on a predator guard. See our Problem Solving page for more information.
One never ending job for the Bluebird landlord is preventing sparrows from nesting in your boxes. Each time you find a sparrow nest in one of your boxes, remove it - including any eggs or young that may be there. Sparrows are not a protected species. See our Problem Solving page for more information on sparrow preventation.
Once there are nestlings in a box, you should always check for blowfly infestion and malnourished young. See our Monitoring Nest Boxes page for more information.
Make a quick visual check of each box to make sure that there is not any rotting wood, a knot which has fallen out or anything else that could cause the box to be drafty or get wet. Drafts and dampness are bad for nesting birds. If the box is empty, take it down and repair it. If it is already inhabited, try to stuff cloth in the hole or possibly duct tape on the outside of the box.
Once the nestlings fledge, you should remove the old nest and clean the inside of the box throughly. If necessary, scrape out dried on droppings. Then clean the entire inside of the box with a solution of 10% bleach and 90% water.
Note: The above information contains excerpts from our Monitoring Nest Boxes page. See that page 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