One of the most welcome signs of spring is the emergence of the cheerful bluebird. Three varieties for this colorful insectivore can be found in North America: the Eastern, the Western and the Mountain. Suffering a population reduction of nearly 90% in the 20th century, bluebirds have been unfortunate victims of deforestation, an increase in competition from starlings introduced to North America in the mid-1800s, and a marked increase in the use of insecticides. Although these problems continue, in the last few decades its numbers have stabilized and are now increasing, thanks, in part, to initiatives taken by bird lovers and gardeners through the construction of bluebird houses.
Easy to build, these DIY shelters can be constructed from scrap lumber. Assembled with specific dimensions designed to replace the natural hollows and cavities found in mature trees, a homemade bluebird house will provide a safe location for bluebirds to nest and hatch their eggs. Mounted along the perimeter of open fields, gardens or large lawns, they provide ideal housing for bluebirds that may otherwise struggle to locate natural shelter and easy access to insects on which to feed.
Introducing subsidized housing for these tiny songbirds provides more than just a feather in your conservational cap. Not only are bluebirds a treat for the eyes and ears, they do a great job of keeping insects at bay. This is a DIY project that will pay off all summer long.