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......
NESTING SEASON CONTINUES!
First broods have already fledged and many second broods are ready to fledge. A couple of easy ways to tell whether there are still babies in the box are to watch and listen. If Mom and Dad are flying in and out, they are still feeding babies. If you don't see any activity but you hear lots of little chirps from within, there are still babies in the box. You should monitor your boxes to be sure the babies are all right. Especially in the terrible heat we have been having this Summer. Monitor in the afternoon or evening, if possible. As you approach the box say someting in a soft tone. Open the box slowly and carefully. Be very careful not to let any babies fall out. Sometimes they rest against the side or front of the box.
Do not monitor the box past 12 days after the eggs hatched. Opening the box later than that could result in a baby falling out of the box and prematurely trying to fly. If he/she cannot fly they could fall to the ground and get hurt. Check to make sure there are not any ants, spiders or wasps in the nest. Also note whether the nest is dry. If it is noticeibly wet, there may be a crack that you need to caulk. Check to make sure all babies appear to be alive. And check for blow fly infestation. See our Monitoring Nestboxes page for more information.
Help Mom and Dad out by supplementing their diet with meal worms. They are so busy catching food for their babies that they barely have time to eat. If you feed them about the same time each day, they will get used to that and be waiting for you to come with their meal worms. Or try whistling each time you take food out and soon they will come when you whistle!
Once the babies have fledged, you can help Mom and Dad by cleaning the box. They may use the same box for their next brood. Or another pair may use it. Remove the nest, scrape the box out with a wide putty knife. Then wash it out with a 10% bleach/water solution. Leave the box open for a few hours to dry out. Close it up and it is ready for the next nest to be started!
If babies have fledged and you have not seen any Bluebirds for a while, the season is likely over for you. Do not forget to fill out the 2018 End of Season Form and send it to us. You will find a link to it on our Downloads page.
As always 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