Bluebird Nest Box Cataloging

It’s a sunny winter day and all of a sudden several bluebirds in a group start taking turns looking into all the nest boxes in your yard. If you have added white pine shavings to facilitate winter roosting, the bluebirds may start hauling the shavings out.   What are they doing? 

Don’t get your hopes up that the bluebirds are going to start building a nest in one of your nest boxes. Bluebirds go through a process of nest box “cataloging” on sunny days during the winter months.  The purpose of the cataloging phase is to identify roosting spots for the winter as well as suitable nesting sites for next nesting season.   

The bluebird group is generally comprised of last nesting season’s parenting adults and some or all of their offspring.  The group is referred to as the “extended family.”  Part of the cataloging process is to acquaint the offspring with nest box selection criteria.

Before the next nesting season, the extended family will break up and mates will be selected.  Bluebird couples become quite territorial during the nesting season when it comes to the geography around nest boxes.

Bluebirds cataloging #2 11-11-2007

Bluebirds “cataloging” nest box

Bluebirds cataloging #3 11-11-2007

Bluebirds on nest box inspection tour

Bluebirds cataloging #6 11-11-2007

Bluebird inspecting interior of nestbox

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Bluebird Shepherd


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