Bluebird Home Drawing

IS THERE A NEED TO FEED BLUEBIRDS?

BY JACK FINCH

(REVISED JANUARY, 1994)




Bluebird Homes

 

    Home

 

Events

the berries through a 1/2-inch mesh screen and then filter the berries over a 1/4-inch mesh screen. Berries can be cleaned with a large fan. Remove all damaged, dark or wormy berries by hand. Store in ventilated UNSEALED containers at 29-32° F. A small container of water, one inch deep, that alternates from freezing to thawing makes a good temperature gauge.  Check refrigerator temperature daily.

 

If necessary, grade through ALL the berries once every 10 to 12 days. Place bad, dark or moldy berries on the top feed tray or scatter on the ground under the feeder or birdbath. The damage berries can also be placed under low bushes for many of the birds that prefer protection while feeding. Another use for damaged berries is to plant them immediately into WELL DRAINED soil, about 1/2 inch deep. Some seed will germinate the first spring and the others the following year. For best germination, the flowering dogwood (Cornus Florida) seed needs to receive the proper stratification or cold treatment.
 

I have kept a few berries in sawdust mix, just below freezing, for over six months. Berries mixed with equal parts by volume of dry wood sawdust or fine shavings keep well in storage, maintain quality, and last longer than any method tried to date. Berries layered with paper towels in plastic buckets keep well also. As you will see, this is an area where much research needs to be done.

 

There is a three-step training program to help the bluebirds become accustomed to this feeding process. The first step is to help them find the feeder; the second is for them to go inside to feed; and the third is to have them eating raisins and currants when the dogwood berries are gone.
 

Training must be done early BEFORE the severe weather begins. It may take as little as a day or as long as a month for the bluebirds to find the feeder, though most find it in less than a week. This training is important for it stands to reason that if the bluebirds know where the feeders are, they can visit them with no delay and will be able to roost during a cold storm with a full crop (craw).

There is a three-step training program to help the bluebirds become accustomed to this feeding process. The first step is to help them find the feeder; the second is for them to go inside to feed; and the third is to have them eating raisins and currants when the dogwood berries are gone.
 

Training must be done early BEFORE the sever weather begins. It may take as little as a day or as long as a month for the bluebirds to find the feeder, though most find it in less than a week. This training is important for it stands to reason that if the bluebirds know where the feeders are, they can visit them with no delay and will be able to roost during a cold storm with a full crop (craw).

 

Place the feeder in the best location to observe. This, however, may not be the ideal spot for the bluebirds to find. Feeders can be placed in areas not suitable for nest boxes. The south side of some form of windbreak provides an ideal location for feeders on very cold windy days.
 

To encourage them to start taking food, it is helpful to place two, three or more temporary flat, open trays on support posts near their regular hunt perch sites. Feed on these trays will be visible to birds perched above. Place no feed inside to begin with until the birds actually start investigating inside.
 

It sometimes helps to place a few berries around the bird bath or in the ground below the feeder.
 

The best bluebird feeder is a flat top nesting box that has had very little modification. The slanting roof can be used if proper supports are made to level the top tray.
 

The top feed tray is constructed on 1/8-inch x 1/8-inch wire mesh, 6 inches square and 3/4 inches deep. This tray rests on two wires or 1/4-inch cleats on top of the roof. The drainage under this tray is necessary. Two small 18 gauge copper wires stretched across the

To Page:    1   2   3   4   5