When someone puts up a bluebird house they become a ‘bluebird landlord.’ The North American Bluebird Society’s Facebook page provides information needed on a timely basis to be a good ‘bluebird landlord including the following important information (headers and emphasis are mine):
- Bluebird Monitoring Tip: By Day 13-14, males have bright blue feathers. STOP ACTIVE MONITORING NOW to avoid premature fledging, unless you suspect a problem. You can still check the box from a distance to verify that the parents are feeding the young. One way to tell they are at this age is that the parents tend to only dip their heads into the box to feed (but may still enter to remove fecal sacs. Females have white edging on outer tail feathers.
By this stage, babies are strong enough to cling to the entrance of the nestbox to look out. They have a narrow ring of white feathers around each eye, and their breasts are speckled with gray.
- Mealworm & suet precautions: Natural food is plentiful in most areas of the country this time of year and should make up the primary source of nutrition for wild birds. Supplemental foods such as mealworms and suet mixtures should be offered in limited amounts, if at all, as baby birds need the nutrition of insects and berries for their bodies to be healthy and strong. Supplemental foods can be helpful during extended periods of rainy weather (when insects are not available) and during the colder months when natural food sources are scarce. Supplemental feeding also depletes calcium from the diet of egg-laying female birds. resulting in weak, thin-shelled eggs. If you do feed suet or mealworms to your wild birds, please limit the amounts so that they can also obtain necessary nutrients from natural food sources.
The North American Bluebird Society has a great webpage with lots of information about bluebirds including a number of ‘Fact Sheets’ with plans for bluebird houses, mealworms, monitoring and more.
Are you a ‘bluebird landlord’ this year?