Description and Criteria


The Michigan Bluebird Society offers grants to qualified individuals and organizations in the form of Bluebird nesting boxes, poles, predator guards and accessories in order to expand the available nesting opportunities for Bluebirds and other native cavity nesting birds.  Also, the program will help those involved with the projects become more educated on Bluebird conservation.  

The projects intended for the grants MUST be on properties that provide a suitable nesting habitat for Bluebirds.  Further, the Society requires that any nesting boxes provided under these grants MUST also have provisions for monitoring during the nesting season in order to increase nesting success and to prevent predators/invasive species from using the boxes.  Only proposed projects that are within the borders of the state of Michigan will be considered.  Due to limitations in resources, the Society cannot guarantee that every qualifying project will be approved in a given calendar year.  Further, each project is considered individually and the Society can grant a part or all of the nesting boxes and accessories requested in the grant application.  Grants are either approved or turned down by the MBS Board of Directors.  If a grant is turned down, the applicant will receive feedback including reasons for the decision.  

Organizations/Individuals Qualified To Receive Grants

The intent is to provide nesting boxes and accessories to groups or individuals in the non-profit sector that have either limited or no resources to acquire materials by themselves.  Examples are schools, nature centers, nature preserves and sanctuaries, local park systems, public properties of various kinds like libraries, and public owned golf courses. 

Individuals can also apply for grants for Bluebird trail projects NOT on their own properties.  Examples could be trails on private preserves, golf courses, public properties and cemeteries.

Organizations/Individuals NOT Qualified To Receive Grants

For-profit organizations and businesses such as office parks, golf courses, and plant nurseries are not qualified to receive grants.  Individuals applying for grants for their own properties are also not qualified. 

Types of Suitable Properties For Grants

A key criterion for all grant applications will be how suitable the habitat is to attract nesting Bluebirds.  An otherwise qualified organization grant will be turned down, if it is determined by the MBS board of directors that the location of the nesting boxes is highly unlikely to attract Bluebirds.  Since Bluebirds are most successful nesting in open, grassy habitats, these are the types of locations for nesting boxes preferred in grant applications.  Examples are farm field borders, pastures, meadows, open parkland, metroparks, golf courses (non-profit ones), fields, and the like. 

Other Key Criteria For Grants

In addition to being a qualified organization or individual, and having suitable Bluebird habitat, other criteria for projects being approved include:

      1.  Provisions for the boxes being monitored actively during nesting season MUST be in place prior to the grant being approved and fulfilled.  This will include (but not be limited to) the control of house sparrows.  Due to the importance of nest box monitoring in the successful fledging of young Bluebirds, it is requested that applicants figure out who specifically will be doing the monitoring work.  The Application provides a place for the applicant to describe their monitoring plan. 

  .     2Reporting of nesting season results each year by the grantee using the MBS Nesting Season Summary Form which can be downloaded from the website. 

3. The installation location of all products received through grants in this program must be within the borders of the State of Michigan.

Products/Services Provided For Grants

Here is a list of possible products that could be included in grants.   Because each project is different, it is impossible to say which of these items would be necessary.  

     • Gilbertson PVC nesting boxes     

     • Traditional cedar nesting boxes

        •  Metal cylinder Raccoon/Predator guard

        •  Sparrow traps

        •  Passive sparrow control devices

     Gilbertson Pole mounting systems and hardware

         Other hardware/accessories as deemed appropriate

In addition, MBS may be able to provide expertise and training for projects depending on the needs of the applying organization or individual.  If possible, MBS will send a representative to survey a grant location, either before the grant is approved or after.  Also, training on monitoring and nest box management may be provided if needed – at no charge to the grantee. 

Grant Application Process

1. Applicant fills out the Nest Box Grant Application form and mails it to MBS at :  Michigan Bluebird Society, P.O. Box 2028, Ann Arbor, MI   48106-2028.    Click here to download the Grant Application Form.

      2. The MBS President or another designated board member will do an initial review of the application to ensure the project meets the criteria laid out above and that all requested information has been included.  If the application is deemed incomplete or fails to meet one of the major program criteria, the application will be sent back to the applicant via mail with a reason(s) for rejection.  At that point, the applicant can choose to resubmit the application once the problems or omissions have been corrected. 

      3. If the application is complete and deemed reviewable by the Board, copies of the form and accompanying documents will be sent to all MBS board members for their review.   Feedback on all applications will be requested within 3 weeks.

  .      4. During this period, the Board may request applicants to provide additional information or clarification of information on the grant form.  Also, it is possible that an on-site review of the project location will be arranged by an MBS representative (board member or County Coordinator).

      5. At this point, the Board will vote on the grant – either at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting, or via email.  The timing will depend on other activities currently occupying the Board and the timing needs of the applicant.  However, the Society will usually try to complete the process as expediently as possible.  An approved project will also include the level of funding – whether partial or fully. 

NOTE ON TIMING:  If the Grantee would like the materials furnished under the Grant to be provided in time for the start of the nesting season, it is strongly advised to have the grant application submitted by early March at the latest.  This will give the MBS adequate time to review the application, come back with questions, send out the information to the MBS Board, wait for feedback, make a decision, start gathering/producing the grant materials, and schedule a day for delivery.  All this can take 3-4 weeks allowing for delays due to people being gone, other tasks/events going on within MBS, and availability of people. 

6.  Once a decision is made, the applicant will be contacted with a decision.  If the project has been approved, the letter will include what materials will be included in the grant and rough timing.  If the project was NOT approved, the reason(s) for rejection will be provided. 

At any point in the process, the grant applicant may contact MBS via the general contact email on the website to check on the status of an application. 

Grant Fulfillment

As stated above, when a grant is approved,  it could be for all or part of the project scope originally requested.  MBS would then attempt to schedule the delivery of all materials prior to the strat of the next nesting season, or within 2 weeks of the award date, if the current nesting season has already started.  Whenever  possible, MBS would try to deliver materials in person to save shipping.  In either case, MBS will work with the grantee’s representative to make sure all materials are acquired and delivered.  Items delivered in person would require a signed receipt provided by a responsible individual from the organization receiving the grant. 

NOTE:  Although most materials provided for grants will be new, it is possible that some items in like-new, lightly used condition could be provided as well. 

The grantee and MBS will work out whether help is needed with location and installation of nest boxes, and coordinate these activities with the schedules of both parties. 

Although the grant materials will be turned over to the grantee or his/her representative, the spirit and intent of the Nest Box Grant Program is that all nest boxes and equipment are to stay at the physical location that the grant was approved for.  All grant materials will become the property of the property owner or steward where the boxes are located, and not necessarily the grantee (unless he/she are the same).  For example, if a teacher at a school receives a grant and he/she were to take a job in another state, the nest boxes and equipment provided via the grant would remain the property of the public school district or private school, and NOT belong to the teacher. 

The MBS requests of all grantees that in the event that a change in management or ownership of the property where the grant materials are located causes the monitoring and maintenance of the nest box trail to cease,  the MBS would retain a right of first refusal to take the nest boxes and hardware back so that a new location can be found for them. 

NOTE:  All products and materials provided under this grant program will, upon delivery to the grantee, become the property of the grantee.  The grantee will then become 100% responsible for their management and maintenance. 

Grant Follow-Up

MBS expects that each grantee will submit a Nesting Season Summary Form each year for the nest boxes provided under the grant.  This form is obtained by downloading it from the MBS Monitoring Nest Boxes website page.  Also, if there is a MBS County Coordinator for the county where the grant project resides, he/she may periodically visit the site.  If so, such visits will be coordinated with the grantee.  Finally, the MBS Newsletter Director may contact the grantee or grantee organization to request information to help publicize the project.  However, this is certainly optional for the grantee.