“Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly.” ~ Wizard of Oz
Bluebirds are a joy to see with their beautiful blue plumage. Their coloring has been said to resemble the blue sky above and the red dirt below! Three kinds of Bluebirds call Texas home, the Eastern, Mountain, and Western. The Eastern Bluebird is the one most commonly seen in the Parker County area. They are useful around houses and farms as they have a hearty appetite for many kinds of insects.
- What to plant
Bluebirds prefer open grassy areas with small trees and shrubs. In addition to insects, bluebirds eat berries and fruits. Some good native trees and shrubs to plant in the north-central Texas area include Yaupon and Possum Haw Holly, Rough Leaf Dogwood, Elbow Bush, Eastern Red Cedar, and Pokeberry.
- When to prepare
January – March is time to get bluebird houses out. Bluebirds begin nesting in late February – early March. If you have existing houses, clean them out at this time. do go ahead and remove old nests. A bluebird nest is neat and tidy, constructed mostly of grass. By comparison, an English Sparrow nest is sloppy and made with various materials, twigs, paper, string etc..
Use a house that can be opened, preferably from the side, so that it can be cleaned out yearly. An easy way to mount a house, drive a 4’ piece of rebar into the ground about 2’. Slide a 6 to 7 ft galvanized steel pipe over the rebar. the smooth steel pipe makes it harder for predators ( snakes, cats, raccoons) to get access to the nest box. Mount the houses at about 5-6 feet. English Sparrows are also a threat to nesting bluebirds. If you notice sparrows trying to nest in a bluebird house, remove their nesting material. You might have to do this several times before the sparrows give up and go look for a house elsewhere.
Female birds will lay 4-5 eggs. The male Bluebirds will bring food to the female while she is nesting. Eggs will hatch in 13-15 days. Male and female will help feed the young for about a month till the young birds can find food on their own.