This bluebird nesting box is designed to be attractive to bluebirds, simple in design and construction, easy to monitor, and resistant to inclement weather and predators. Birdhouses are not one-size-fits-all so always choose a nesting box plan that is intended for the species you wish to attract.
This excerpt from Audubon Birdhouse Book is used with permission from Quarto Publishing Group USA who also provided a review copy of this book.
There are 3 species of North American bluebirds: Eastern, Western, and Mountain.
- All three types of bluebirds migrate north for breeding season, which is when we get to enjoy them here in Canada.
- Diets vary based on location and all consist mainly of insects plus some fruits and berries.
- There have been various initiatives over the past 50 years to protect and grow bluebird populations that were in decline due to loss of habitat. Our inclination to remove dead trees and clear forests removes vital living quarters for countless insects, birds, and animals including these beautiful birds.
Tips for Choosing a Nesting Box Site
- Bluebirds prefer a nesting site away from other birds competing for the same food sources, including other bluebirds.
- Optimal nesting sites include wide, open country backyards near forests or wooded areas.
- Chickadees and titmice are not competing for the same food and may nest in a bluebird nesting box if the location suits them. You can set up two boxes, up to twenty feet apart, to allow bluebirds in one and other, non-competing birds, in the other.
Also consider adding bee, bat, or owl boxes if you have a larger property.
Attracting Wild Birds to Your Garden
- Avoid the use of any products toxic to birds and their food sources including caterpillars.
- Grow plants, trees and shrubs for habitat and be messy: dead and decaying things nourish life.
- Keep pets out of your garden.
- Choose plants that provide food, nectar, or habitat for other living things.
- Birdhouses: Use as decoration only.
- Nesting Boxes: Choose species-specific designs.
- Bird Feed: Provide nutritious food.
- Bird Feeders: Clean frequently. Remove feeders immediately if you notice any sign of disease or problems like salmonella, trichomoniasis, aspergillosis, or avian pox are reported in your area.
TIP: Use a motion-sensitive wildlife camera in your garden to see what goes on when you’re not there.
Bluebird Nest Box Plans
Dan Sparks and other members of the North American Bluebird Society (NABS) designed this updated bluebird nesting box. The aim was to make it attractive to bluebirds, simple in design and construction, easy to monitor, and resistant to inclement weather and predators.
This was named the Xbox simply because it came from the design marked X. It has proven to be beneficial, providing safe, dry housing for countless, happy bluebirds.
Lumber: cypress (used here), white cedar, hemlock, or local weather-resistant wood with low toxicity.
- One 1 x 10 x 11″ (roof)
- Four 1 x 6 x 10″ (front, sides, and back)
- Two 1 x 6 x 4″ (floor and inner roof)
- One 2 x 2 x 9″ (pole-mounting block)
- Exterior screws: twelve 1 5/8″ (basic construction); two to six 1 1/4” (roof to inner roof); and two 2″ (pole mounting block to back)
- Caulk or sealant (sealing between top and inner roof)
- One 2 1/2″ galvanized nail (bent, latch nail)
- Mounting: One 1/2″ x 5′ galvanized metal conduit, one 1/2″ x 4-5′ steel rebar (for stake), and one conduit coupler (you can see how this works in the photo below)
Hole saws (you can see them here on Amazon) were used for the Xbox entrance and ventilation holes, as well as the mounting block. A table saw with its blade lowered was used for the drip kerfs on the underside of the roof and for the ladder kerfs on the inside of the front.
The back piece of the Xbox is attached to the inner roof. Two deck screws (15/8”) are installed with an impact driver.
Test-fit the attached back, unattached sides, and inner roof. Use a pencil to mark the placement of the recessed floor. Drive in screws.
Top of sides are attached to the inner roof above the entry hole.
Pivot screws, driven into the front piece from the bottom of both sides, allow the front to open easily for checking and cleaning.
One galvanized nail (21/2”) is bent to create the latch nail. Drill the latch nail hole slightly downward.
The mounting block for the Gilbertson pole system is installed on the back of the Xbox with two exterior deck screws (2”). Note the predrilled ¼” hole on the mounting block.
Apply a bead (line) of all-purse low VOC caulk to the tip of the inner roof prior to installing the exterior roof.
The Gilberton pole system is easy to assemble. Drive rebar into the ground, leaving two feet above ground. Attach to the end of the conduit. Tighten upper, shorter screw against the coupler. Slip coupler over rebar. Tighten lower, longer screw against the rebar. Clean pole with steel wool and coat it with furniture polish. Add baffle if needed.
The Xbox is place onto the Gilbertson conduit/rebar pole, ready to become home for bluebirds and others.
Get the Book
The Audubon Birdhouse Book includes plans for building and locating nesting boxes for:
- Berwick’s, Carolina, or House Wren
- Prothonotary Warbler
- Eastern, Western, or Mountain Bluebird
- Ash-throated or Great Crested Flycatcher
- Tree Swallow or Violet-green Swallow
- Juniper, Oak, Black-Crested, or Tufted Titmouse
- Barred Owl
- Eastern or Western Screech Owl
- Barn Owl
- Norther Flicker
- American Kestrel
- Black-capped, Carolina, or Mountain Chickadee
- Wood Duck
- Hooded Merganser
- Purple Martin
- Mourning Dove
- Barn Swallow
- American Robin
- House Finch
- Eastern or Say’s Phoebe
Find out which species are present in your area and build one a home.
Here is some footage from my backyard birdcam:
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛