Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hey Bluebirds, we are ready and waiting

Houses are built to live in,
more than to look at;
therefore, let use be preferred before uniformity,
except where both may be had.
                           Francis Bacon

Walking into the barnyard, the aroma of the resident skunk hits me like a brick. My face and nose scrunch up. Being the brave girl that I am, I stand behind My Hero. You know, just in case there is more than the smell lingering. 

It is officially bluebird house building day, here on the farm. Project, Habitat for Eastern Bluebirds, has officially begun. Oh, this is what we have been waiting for. A beautiful, warm sunny day in March means that it is almost, moving day, so we must hurry.

The bird houses that line our fence lines, and surround our hay fields have always attracted the Eastern Bluebirds, every year. We are very lucky that they love to come back. We like to be known as welcoming hosts. This I have to say, is one of those wonderful highlights of my spring. These birds are the prettiest blue shade I have ever seen. Those little birds can make the even bluest of days, happy.

The houses that sit on fence posts, right now are more than twenty years old. They were built by My Hero, and I back then. Not bad, for two people who possibly did not know how to build birdhouses. The time has come for rebuilding or repairing. Time and the elements, have changed them. Visually, with the weathered wood and algae, they are very appealing. But, our abundance of squirrel families has done damage. If you thought this was going to be a warm and fuzzy tale, be warned. This part may scare you.

Yes, I did not know till a few years ago, that squirrels eat baby birds and will do anything to get into the nest. It is not something I ever want to see again. The houses turned into squirrel feeders. It was horrifying. The squirrels chew the opening until they can get in. We tried to fix that over the years, but they are clever little creatures. We hope our new blueprint plans will stop them.

Starlings, along with other predatory birds will try to get into the nest too. We have tried to build deterrents. Tomato can lids, which I had used for the last night’s dinner of chili, were placed behind the homemade wooden collars. The lid should keep the squirrels from chewing the entrance holes bigger. The homemade wooden collars should keep out those long-beaked birds. This design may not be as visually appealing to some, but we used what we had. I am pretty confident this will work. After time and the elements do their magic, the houses will appear weathered and beautiful to fit in this environment once again.

Seven birdhouses are now complete. We mounted them all, behind the house and on the fence line facing into the pasture field. They look awesome if I do say so myself. My Hero is indeed a great builder. We only used wood that we had on hand and tools we had. This means that other than a bit of time (a whole day) they cost next to nothing to make.

I did learn a little tip, a very important tip. If any of you think about going to build birdhouses with your significant other, this may help you. My Hero and I do work very well together. But, a man and his tools have rules, very important rules. This rule to remember would be “Never”, ever use a wood bit to drill through those tin can lids. Apparently, that is a bad, bad thing.

We are going to try to the find time to make a few more houses, this weekend. It is muddy here so farm stuff is on hold. We would ideally like to eventually replace or at the very least repair all the houses that we have built here on the farm. We are now ready, for the house scouter.

I am off to open some more tin cans of tomatoes and create some kind of supper. We will need them for more houses. I cannot wait till the birds return. I am sure they will be very pleased. I do know one thing that makes me very happy. Whatever houses that the Eastern Bluebirds do not live in, we look forward to those Tree Swallows moving in. So, it is a win, win.

It looks like we finished just in time. Our first potential tenant has arrived.



  1. And you don't even need a rental agreement! I enjoyed this very much, building along with you and your Hero. *hugs*

  2. awesome job! great thinking, too.

  3. Great job indeed on those bird houses. They have been waiting and you're ready for their arrival. I don't see those blue birds around here in the east.
    My son witnessed a squirrel stealing Cardinal eggs from a nest in a tree in front of our house last year and he was rather upset at the sight but there was nothing he could do. The squirrel had already done it's bad deed. We get a lot of Cardinals around our place which wasn't always the case. They are such pretty birds to look at.
    Pretty soon you'll have so many bluebirds at your feeders.

  4. What a great story and beautiful houses! I love that you and your Hero use your precious time to help the bluebirds. Clever idea with the tomato can lids too. Maybe I'll have the chance to see some of your tenants soon.

  5. How absolutely lovely. I hope all of those houses are filled. Quickly and productively.

  6. May the Bluebirds of happiness be safe.

  7. The new houses look lovely and I hope they're all filled with tenants and babies in no time.

  8. Oh my! I do hope the Bluebirds fill your houses soon!

  9. Bluebirds are very gentle quiet little birds. It's a good thing they can have several clutches of eggs each year/

  10. How fun for you both to build these bird houses , Papa and I love to build birdhouses together as well in his wood working shop we built some last year and we also like to paint them with non toxic paints of course and will be putting ours out again for the season this week . Hope the Bluebirds enjoy their new homes . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

  11. Bluebirds are gorgeous, and so are tree swallows! You are so lucky to get them! I had one nest of blue birds, and then...well let's just say...cats do the same thing as squirrels, except they just use their climbing skills and their long legs and sharp claws to reach inside. I was so upset! Enjoy them...and post more pictures once moving day happens! :)

  12. A wonderful idea, they do look the part those houses for the birds.

  13. What did birds do before humans built them houses? Love the colour of the bluebirds and you and your hero have done a great job. Go into business and sell them as a sideline.

  14. Wow, your first little blue bird must have been watching what you were doing? First thing you know, the houses will be all filled.

    Yes, oh yes, you do NOT use wood drill bits on metal. That's a no no. My dear husband and I worked well together too and I miss that 'big time'. I always enjoy hearing about other couples who work well together too.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

  15. I like "save the day" people . . .
    Let us know how the Bluebirds are doing in their new houses.
    I had a Bluebird house and Bluebirds too for a few seasons . . .
    Unusual here because we have so many trees.
    Bluebirds seem to enjoy more open spaces.
    I removed the house when I noticed the opening being whittled away . . .
    Not happy with the thoughts of squirrel predators . . .
    Aren't they pretty . . . I do love my bird friends!

  16. Those nest boxes are fantastic. I'm sure the bird population will be very happy living in them.
    Lynne x

  17. Oh, I LOVE bluebirds! How lucky they will be to take up residence at your place!

  18. B,

    Pretty bluebirds you have!!! I love your birdhouses, you and your Hero did a beautiful job.
    Squirrels can be a nuisance at times.

  19. I have never heard of eastern bluebirds! The birdhouses are great and now I have to go and do some googling!

  20. Beautiful bird. Great job on the bird houses. I never knew that Squirrels to that.

  21. Oh my, you have a bluebird there already? Lucky you. I must get our new house up soon but I don't expect any for a few weeks here. We had swallows the past 2 years. Do raccoons ever get into your houses? That happened to a neighbour and it got the eggs or babies out of it. I think your design is probably a really good one that will keep out the predators. How high from the ground are they on the posts? We have one feeder up on a steel post screwed into a stump about 5 feet high so I'm thinking the new one should go at the end of the cedar fence post brackets which would only be about 4 feet up. I hope you get some tenants soon. Thanks for the tips on design.

  22. I am anxious to see pics! Looks like a job well done.

  23. Homes for bluebirds! How wonderful to be able to provide those beautiful little creatures with ready made homes. I am sure they love you and will return in numbers to thank you.
    We don't have bluebirds in Oz but we do have a blue wren whose colour is so brilliant in the mating season it well and truly outdoes both the sky and the sea.
    It is sad to read that the squirrels take the baby birds. I suppose in the food chain these things do happen but it is always unpleasant to think of it. Hugs. M

  24. What a very informative post! I was going to ask you what has been chewing our bluebird house openings, but now I know. Makes me sad. I think your knew house plans are fool proof! We are going to have to re-do our bluebird houses. We do have a lot of dead trees around here for them as well. I will have to do a post someday on our tree in the front yard. I think that's where most of them live! I love them. I bet if you would have put a call out on your blog for tomato can lids you would have gotten plenty of them without having to eat tomato-y food every night for dinner! We are very muddy here too, with more rain expected. My Shug got the tractor stuck in the mud, kind of tore it up, then tried pulling it out with a back hoe and really tore it up and won't let me blog about it! He's not happy.

    Cindy Bee

  25. awwww, so sweet!! i hung my spring wreath on the front door a few days ago and the birds have already found it and are building a nest. every year, no matter what, i must say they are very predictable!!! i am pretty sure it's robins, it's been robins the past few years!!!! and i must add that i have 10 very beautiful, very accommodating bird houses but they always choose the wreath over the bird houses!!

    we have blue birds in this area of new jersey but they never come to my house!!!

  26. ... and may you have plenty of visits for those lovely bird houses

    All the best Jan

  27. Hellooooo there Grace girl !
    I can never get over the colour of these birds .. it is so pretty and unusual it seems almost fake ! LOL
    I love that you guys have made so many birdhouses ... I am not handy (nor is Garden PA but don't tell him I said that !)
    So I buy the houses ... and cross my fingers.
    The birds have been singing here like crazy ... and we had a bit of a thunder storm this afternoon ... I guess Spring is trying to arrive with a trumpet call ? haha
    Joy : )


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