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Kiru

Bluebird House Question

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Hi all,

I'm new to backyard birding and want to put up. Bluebird house for eastern bluebirds (we are in Maryland near Baltimore). I've purchased a Peterson box from a local wildlife store and plan on putting it up this week.

I'm probably thinking too hard about all this, but wanted to get some feedback from more experienced birders. 

We have a conservation easement on our property, which is where all of our trees (very thin where we are) are. I was planning on mounting the house on one of those trees but was concerned about causing damage to the trees with screws. Any of you have any experience with these easements or have any advice for screwing (or mounting it another way) the house to the tree without damage? The reason I'm concerned is that we could potentially face fines for damage and we have a neighbor that I wouldn't put it past them to report us (though they are violating it so we might be safe lol)

Also I have read that we need about 50 foot of space in front of the box with some small trees or shrubs. How necessary is this? We would probably face it out our house otherwise, but the best way to face it for this purpose would be into the wind or at our evil neighbors.

I can upload some pics if you need but I'll have to resize them a little later or upload them somewhere.

Thanks for any advice you have on this situation. 

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I would strongly urge you to consider another option.  I wouldn’t be as concerned about damage to the tree as I would damage to the nest.  Mounting a nest box on a tree just invites all kinds of predators to enter it.  Whether they may go after the eggs or the hatchlings, there is little to protect them.  A much safer option is mounting the box on a pole with a baffle.  That gives the parents the best shot at defending the nest.

Face the opening away from where most bad weather comes from.  Trees or shrubs within 50 feet is normally recommended because fledglings aren’t great flyers and need a safe place to land.  Our closest trees are more likely 80 feet from the boxes, and most make it fine.  The ones that don’t usually land on our feeders, and eventually make it to the trees.

Good luck.  Not much better than knowing you helped contribute to the Bluebird population.

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11 minutes ago, Chaseman said:

I would strongly urge you to consider another option.  I wouldn’t be as concerned about damage to the tree as I would damage to the nest.  Mounting a nest box on a tree just invites all kinds of predators to enter it.  Whether they may go after the eggs or the hatchlings, there is little to protect them.  A much safer option is mounting the box on a pole with a baffle.  That gives the parents the best shot at defending the nest.

+1

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It certainly would be preferable to me as well and maybe I will look more into it. Our problem is that we are a new construction and our top full is almost completely rocks. We also recently had nor'easters with extremely heavy winds, so we were concerned about getting it in deep enough with both of those issues.

We had our feeder on a t post and we took everything down in those winds!

I'll look up some guides and see hard my husband sighs at me! We dont have any tools like a post hole digger or driver. 

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I am from Baltimore county and  experienced those winds too.  They did take down the feeders i had up for the goldfinch - I have since remedied that so fingers crossed it will not happen again

I have two bluebird boxes - both Peterson i got from Walmart (other places had the exact same house for up to three times the price).  Anyway both of mine are on trees - I used screws to mount a backboard that the longer screws that came with the box went into the backboard not the tree.   So far so good...last year i had two broods..the first fully successful..the second - not so much but at least three did successfully leave the nest.

The male blue bird kept watch over the box for the most part and chased away any thing it felt was ..intruding.

I do agree though that the best means to mount them is on a pole...but if you cannot ..you cannot.  As was said...face the opening away from the prevailing wind.  I think you are correct.  I would not worry that the screw will damage the tree ID..the tree is more than 5 times the length of the screw and the screw is not copper...not many of those but... and in most cased a tree that is thin would not be a good idea anyway..not stable enough even the the regular winds we get in Baltimore county

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Please do not mount on a tree... When I did that 3 years ago, none of my bluebird chicks survived.  Since mounting on a pole with a baffle I have had much more success! 

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