Of all the bird species native to North America, bluebirds are some of the most beautiful. During the decades of the 80's and 90's, bluebird populations were in serious decline which spawned nation wide efforts to assist them. One of the most dramatic developments to arise from the movement to assist the bluebirds may have been the inspired design of the Peterson bluebird house and the bluebird trails
created with them.
The Peterson bluebird house is a wonderful example of design and function which meets the needs of birds and bird lovers
alike. While providing an excellent location in which to raise their little birdie families, these houses are fairly simple to build, mount and maintain. You will need to have just a bit of wood working skill to build these houses because you'll be cutting some angles which will need to match up. Within this blog post you'll find some links to pages which should help you decide if the building of a Peterson bluebird house is a project you'd like to tackle.
- Materials: Project wood (cedar is best), 2 1/2 inch long wood screws, One 3 inch nail or metal pin
- Tools: Table saw, screw driver, wood drill bit 1 3/8.
- Time: The first one will take a couple hours to build. After the first one, you should be able to build them at a rate of about one per hour.
- Steps: Start by cutting all your parts according to the plans provided by Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. The original Peterson bluebird house had seven wood components but some designs now include a "predator block" which makes the opening more difficult for uninvited critters to disturb the inhabitants. The predator block is simply a block of wood 3 1/2 inches square and 1 1/2 inches thick which has an opening identical to the entry hole and attaches over the entry making it more difficult for predators to reach into the house (see my illustration above). You can add a couple saw kerfs to the block to assist entry and exit.
- First attach the inner roof support and the floor to the back board, then attach the two sides. I recommend drilling pilot holes for all attachment points and I suggest using exterior quality screws rather than nails.
- Next, attach the front of the house which is designed to swing down for spring cleaning so don't make your pivot attachments too tight. The nail or metal pin is used to secure the flip open front by inserting it through a hole drilled through the side and into the edge of the front board.
- Finish your assembly by attaching the roof. Making your roof larger than designed will help to discourage predators and making the roof thicker will help to slow temperature changes within the house throughout the day.
Once you have finished building your bluebird houses, the next step is to get outside and place them. Bluebirds like to nest at the edge of open fields along thickets and hedgerows. Place the houses 4 to 6 feet above the ground and if you put up multiple houses it's good to have anywhere from 10 to 100 feet between them. Often times your bluebird houses will be attractive to other species such as swallows
. The best way to control this situation is to place your houses well away from heavily wooded areas or building structures.
It's time to get busy building your bluebird
houses now because spring is just around the corner. We invite you to submit links to your favorite bird houses, feeders and baths. If you have tips or suggestions regarding bird benefiting items, won't you please submit them? I'd love to create a gallery of your beautiful and practical bird lover projects!
Watch bluebird videos
Bluebird trail trouble-shooting
Suburban bird tips