Want a nest box that is virtually impervious to the elements, will last many years, and that requires almost no maintenance? How about a nest box made of PVC?
Modified all-PVC Gilbertson Bluebird nest box
The modified Gilbertson nest box in the photo above is constructed entirely of PVC material. The circular nest cavity is made of 4” diameter PVC S & D pipe. The rest of the nest box is made of rot-free PVC board. As a plus, the nest box has excellent thermal properties resulting in lower nest cavity temperatures. The PVC does not absorb radiate energy to the degree that wood or metal does.
You can add a decorative touch to the nest cavity by using stick-on decals from a craft shop. Be sure to spray the surface of the attached decal with a good quality exterior sealer also available from craft shops.
Tip: sometimes you can obtain scrap rot-free boards from contractors who use the material during construction. You may have to go to a job site or to the contractor’s storage area to pick up the scrap material. Just tell them that you are building bird houses from the scrap.
Blue Bird Shepherd
Just when you think you understand bluebirds, they throw you a curve ball. In this case, four curve balls. The bluebird couple are now working on the 4th nest of the current nesting cycle. The first completed nest was built in a Home-For-Bluebirds nest box in our neighbor’s front yard. For some reason, the nest was abandoned before any eggs were laid. The second complete nest was built in a Gilbertson style nest box in our yard near the back door. That nest was abandoned before any eggs were laid. The third complete nest was built in a standard wood nest box in our back yard. That nest box was abandoned before any eggs were laid. The fourth nest is currently under construction in the nest camera box in our back yard.
The reason for the vacillation between nest boxes is a bit of a mystery. The female bluebird is very young. This may be her first nesting cycle. Whatever the reason, she has been working very hard the last few days building nests. Hopefully, this nest will be the one and we’ll see some blue eggs in the next few days.
YouTube video of male bluebird trying to feed female bluebird
YouTube video of female building nest in nest camera box
Sizing up the job!
Contemplating the next move!
The bluebirds selected the modified Gilbertson nest box over the nest camera box. The nest in the Gilbertson is ready to go. Bluebirds can build a complete nest in a Gilbertson nest box in a couple of hours including the lining. We should be seeing some blue eggs within the next couple of days.
“The winner” – modified Gilbertson nest box.
Bluebird nest in Gilbertson nest box
“The loser” – nest camera box.
A bluebird couple started investigating nest boxes in the back yard. They put a small amount of pine straw in two of the boxes one of which is nest camera box #2. Bluebirds sometimes have trouble making their minds up which nest box to select and may even spend several days vacillating between boxes. This indecision is usually associated with a young female who has never built a nest before. It will be interesting to see which box they select.
Male Bluebird inspecting the nest camera box
Young female bluebird inspecting the nest camera box
There are “birds of blue” and there are bluebirds. Occasionally, other bird species are mistaken for bluebirds. There are three primary species of bluebirds (Mountain, Eastern, Western) along with some identified sub-species.
Primary Bluebird Species
Some “birds of blue” that are commonly mistaken for bluebirds.
Happy bird watching. Feel free to send bird photos along with a description of the sighting(s). With your permission and appropriate attribution, the photos and sighting descriptions may be posted to the BLOG.
Adult male bluebird feeding mealworms to the juveniles from the last clutch and to the adult female bluebird who is tending five eggs in the Gilbertson nest box.
Adult male bluebird feeding juveniles from last clutch
Adult male bluebird feeding female incubating the eggs of the next clutch
Mealworms really help out bluebirds when they are feeding their young and while the female bluebird is tending the nest.
If you want a “bluebird friendly” yard, be sure to provide mealworms.