Date: 5/22/20 6:24 am
From: Kent Clizbe <kent...>
Subject: [va-bird] Re: Bluebird Box Question

Here’s a few snippets from my experiences with the never-ending bird battle
for control of “bluebird” boxes.

1. Tree swallows vs. Bluebirds: Every spring, this battle rages. It’s a
toss-up, 50/50, over which species wins. The nastiest battle, in my boxes,
was last spring: A tree swallow pair won the initial struggle. They had 4
nice hatchlings, 3 or 4 days old. A pair of bluebirds began peering in the
box, visiting while the swallows were away. Then they battled the swallow
parents, chasing them around. Within 2 or 3 days, the swallow parents
stopped visiting. The bluebirds immediately began nest-building
activities—bringing material to the box. Within 3 more days, the bluebirds
had a nest with 2 eggs in it. The bluebirds raised a brood of 4. After they
fledged, I cleaned out the box. The bluebird nest was built on the swallow
nest—mummified swallow hatchlings included.
2. Bluebirds vs. House finch: This spring, bluebirds won the swallow
battle. They built an early nest—in late March. By early April, 4 healthy
bluebird hatchlings were beginning to sprout their blue feathers, probably
7-10 days away from fledging. Early one morning, from inside the house, I
heard a loud squawking, rhythmically repeated, one very loud squawk, over
and over, seeming to come from the area of the box. When I opened the box to
investigate, a house finch exploded from inside, and fled the scene. Inside
was a bloodbath. Each bluebird chick’s head was bloody and raw. All were

So, it’s up to you, I guess, in how much you want to interfere with the
“natural order” of the struggle for survival. I clean out finch and sparrow
nesting material from my bluebird boxes (and from behind my shutters, and
the decorative trim on the front porch, and do all I can to dissuade them
from nesting around the house). Finches seem to be a pest, to me.

The bluebird vs. swallow battle is more difficult to referee. Not sure if I
would/could/should interfere as they struggle for supremacy.

Good luck!

Kent Clizbe

571 217 0714

<mailto:<kent...> <kent...>

* From: "Ann" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "morann"
for DMARC)
* To: "va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
* Date: Fri, 22 May 2020 00:28:16 +0000 (UTC)

I have a situation that I need advice to handle. I've had one family of
bluebirds fledge and it looked like the parents were starting a second
in the box. This morning I noticed what looked like nesting material in the
hole opening. (I have one of those PVC boxes, which I turned to the first
I saw a house sparrow try to take over my wooden box.)Â When I checked,
what it was; I gently pushed it back and it didn't go very far; it feels as
the entire box is full of nesting material! Yet, I've seen both birds go in
out; granted, I've not watched carefully for the past couple of days (doing
genealogy). I'm wondering if I should empty the box. I was assuming the
was laying eggs again as the second family, or attention to the box, began a

couple of weeks ago. Has anyone else encountered this situation? When I
reinserted the nesting material it really didn't go down much, which makes
think the box is full of that material. How can that be? Any suggestions for

help would be appreciated.
Thank you,Ann DonaldsonRuckersville
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