Attracting bluebirds in your backyard or garden is always challenging. These songsters never show up by accident. It takes some planning and little maintenance. These delightful creatures are great to have around for pest control. A survey found that bluebirds’ diet includes 68% of insects (1). Here are some useful tips to attract them.
1. Install a Hunting Perch
These beautiful birds love to fly and perch in open spaces, especially around the places having perches. Bluebirds scan the field and look for insects from high vantage points. As they spot something tempting, they flutter down and grab the meal. They use smaller trees, shrubs, lower branches of trees, and fences to find out their meal on the ground.
Installing hunting perches is a great way to make your garden bluebird friendly. Make sure to provide 3-4 feet high perches such as wire fences or fence posts to allow these birdies scavenge from. If you do not have trees in your backyard, you may utilize poles of 6 to 7.5 feet height and make them T-shaped to let bluebirds perch on.
2. Tempt With Live Mealworms
Bluebirds love to eat mealworms since their diet includes a large portion of insects. You can serve up live mealworms in a birdfeeder or in a shallow dish to entice them.
However, do not install the feeder too much close to the nest box, or else it will attract predators. These delightful creatures consume different insects, especially during their nesting season, when the hatchlings require abundant protein.
If not mealworms, you can add some berries to your feeder. Bluebirds like to eat berries such as elderberry, holly, and sumac. In fact, you can grow these berry shrubs in your yard to treat them with fresh, ripe berries. You can also use suet in form of shreds and crumbles to attract these birds.
3. Play a Recorded Bluebird Song
Another to attract a bluebird is to play a recorded bird song. It will probably help attract the bluebirds of your neighborhood to your yard. However, avoid doing that excessively particularly during the nesting season. It could draw these beautiful birds away from crucial activities like caring for their babies, guarding their nest, and getting food.
If you do it over and again, such practice will interfere with their survival and behavior. In addition, it could increase stress in these birds, since female bluebirds chirp or sing in situations like when a predator is present (2),(3).
4. Use Bluebird Specific Feeders
You can place a feeder for a bluebird, which specifically has a large roof and small entrance hole. While choosing a feeder, make sure it has enough capacity to fill with live mealworms.
You will need large roof feeders to protect it from rain. In addition, you will need to ensure the birdhouse you are buying is squirrel proof. Note that bluebirds are attracted to blue color (4).
Therefore, installing a birdhouse will be quite helpful in enticing them. Place the birdhouse at the height of 4-6 ft. Other than this, remember these birdies become pesky if they find any doubt over the comfort and safety of a place. So, make sure to keep animals such as squirrels, cats, and raccoons away from your area to have bluebirds around your house.
5. Add a Birdbath
Birdbaths can be an excellent attraction for bluebirds since these birdies need to bathe to maintain their feathers. Other than this, they would be able to drink water from your birdbath. While bluebirds attract to the sound of moving water, you can install a small dripper or fountain to entice them.
The glittering sparkles and splashing sounds will capture their attention, and they are likely to flock around your garden. However, make sure to choose a birdbath that is large enough to accommodate more than five birds at a time. If you live in Northern side and your area experience freezing temperature, make sure to install a heater with a birdbath.
6. Install a Nestbox
Bluebirds like a nest in natural cavities, especially in woodpecker holes. Other than this, they usually nest in wooden birdhouses. You can install a nestbox in your yard designed specifically for bluebirds.
Choose an appropriate place to install the box so that they would come over your place regularly. Install a nestbox at 4-7 feet height. Ensure its entrance hole faces the East.
Doing so will give the box morning sun, yet prevail winds and avoid heat. After you install the nestbox, leave it up year-round. Bluebirds flocking to find nest sites will probably find yours and nest in the spring. They may roost in your nestbox throughout the winters.
7. Provide Nesting Material
Adding nesting materials in your yard will certainly attract bluebirds since they love collecting them. You can offer them cotton scraps and pine needles. Keep in mind these birdies preferably collect material like fragrant pine needles and soft grasses.
You can have pine trees near the nestbox; place some pine needles inside the box and some on the ground. This would help get these beautiful birds to start visiting the nest.
8. Provide Natural Shelter
These beautiful birds usually prefer to live around mature and widely spaced trees. For this reason, there are slight chances that they visit a yard with a thicket-like dense area of plants. If you have mature trees, do not cut them off. If you do not have such trees at your place, you can grow berry bushes.
Not to mention, it is a favorite food source for these birds. You can utilize these bushes to provide shelter to birdies. Install roosting boxes in winters for bluebirds to protect from cold breeze and freezing temperatures.
9. Eliminate Common Threats
Cats kill 3.7 billion birds every year (5). Newly installed nestlings are more likely to face an attack from this critter creature. If you are installing a bluebird feeder and making your yard to attract these birds, beware of roaming cats and adopt the means to keep them away from your nesting site.
As mentioned earlier, do not give bluebirds any doubt over comfort and safety of your garden. When they find any place unsafe for them, they are likely to fly away. Besides cats, house sparrows may also create stressful situations for bluebirds.
10. Plant Native Plants
Since these birds love to eat berries and other fruit during winters, it is a great idea to plant berry-growing shrubs and trees to attract them. Note that bluebirds enjoy eating berries and fruits of sumac, red cedar, dogwood, elderberry, hackberry, blueberry, Virginia creeper, and bayberry.
However, make sure to plant these shrubs and trees at different spots of your backyard. If you want to make an incredibly attractive habitat, you can grow them scatter with herbaceous flowerbeds and open grassy lawns.
11. Keep Your Fields Open
Bluebirds are more attracted to open areas, especially the places having low grass and perches. So, if you want to attract them to your garden or yard, make sure to trim your lawn grass. This will allow bluebirds to perch on branches/poles and hunt insects easily.
Bluebirds are always a delight to have in your garden. Watching or drawing these beautiful creatures and listening to their harmonious chirping brings tranquility to your mind. Not only this, they will keep your backyard free of insects and pests. So, if you want them to flock to your vicinity, make sure to follow these tips.