Comments & Questions

This area is for comments and questions.  It is moderated by the leadership of the Missouri Bluebird Society and is open for you to get answers to your Bluebird related questions.


22 Responses to Comments & Questions

  1. George Kopp says:

    When is the best time to put up a bluebird house?

    • Jack Dodson says:

      Today is always a good day to put up a nestbox. While it is true that you are not going to get a nesting attempt in Missouri this time of year, bluebirds may start checking it out for next years use and you will be ahead of the game.
      Best Wishes,
      Jack Dodson

  2. Nancy says:

    I got a bluebird nestbox for my birthday. I live in rural Polk county Missouri. What is the best location and height for this nestbox?

    • Steve Garr says:

      Bluebird boxws make great gifts. The best location
      for me is one where you can watch your bluebirds. I like putting the nest box on a metal pole this helps discourage predators, plus if needed you can add a baffle later to stop snakes and raccoons. I like facing the nest box toward a branch or power line 25 to 100 feet away so the male bluebird can watch the entrance hole when the female is on the nest.
      Keep in touch,
      Steve Garr

  3. Karin Pelton says:

    I have a bluebird box in my back yard and I was told that it should be facing a certain direction and that its a certain height is this true and if it is what would that be? Thanks

  4. Claudia Trautmann says:

    What is the nesting and breeding season for bluebirds in Missouri? We have several bluebird boxes that should be cleaned out but I don’t want to deprive any bluebirds of their homes!

  5. Steve Garr says:

    Hi Claudia,
    In most of Missouri Bluebirds will nest an average of three times per season, often beginning in March ( sometimes before, sometimes after.) Really it is best to remove the old nest material after the babies have fledged after EACH nesting, not just at the end of the season. It is safer for the birds if you will do this. If old nest material is not removed, the nests tend to draw parasites and predators, plus the Bluebirds repeatedly build on top of the old nest putting their eggs and babies too close to the entrance hole of the box, and thus in jeopardy of being killed or removed by predators that reach into the box. Even if this years first nest has already started in your nest box you will be able to see the difference between the new and old nest. Remove the old nest material and you are ready for your bluebirds.
    Good Luck,
    Steve Garr
    Missouri Bluebird Society

  6. Carol Williams says:

    This is a comment & question I guess. Upon visiting the dam area at Branson, Mo this past week, I came upon a BB trail and was very excited, UNTIL I noticed the boxes were mounted on 4X4 wooden posts-very easy for predators to climb. There were Mo. Conservation Department signs on the posts, so I’m not sure if the boxes belonged to the Dept. or just put there by individuals. They were being monitored I’m sure because there were numbers on the boxes. Where might I begin to get this imnproper mounting matter looked into? I’m an avid Bluebirder and have had the same pair of blues for the past 3 summers, with lots of successful fledgings (along with a couple of failures due to ignorance the first year). The boxes look ok to specs for BB boxes, Except for these wooden poles. The trail area itself if very good, lots of open territory, but as this is the Lake of the Ozarks, there are still lots of woods & trees in the general vicinity, with snakes, racconns, etc. And by the way, I agree that the Sialis website is absolutely the best – I read it over and over my first bluebirding year. Thanks for any help.

    • Steve Garr says:

      Thank you for your email. I also think that the boxes need to be on metal post with a predator guard. I have known bluebirders that have been very successful mounting nest boxes on wooden post without a baffle. I prefer not to take that chance. Often predators find a nest box after a couple of clutches have fledged because of the odor that is left behind from the droppings. Baffles do work on wooden post but without some type of baffle or predator control on a trail you often end up feeding predators instead of raising bluebirds.
      I would rather see less nest boxes with baffles than a lot of nest boxes without baffles.
      Thank you for your concern,
      Steve Garr
      MOBS President

      • Carol Williams says:

        Steve, I forgot I had inquired about these improper trail boxes in Branson, MO. I guess I was waiting to hear from someone, and did not realize you had responded on this site. Is there any way for the MOBS to follow up with the Mo. Conservation Dept. about this? I believe I had contacted them, but got no response, so thought maybe this State Organization might have more influence.

  7. We look forward to hosting the 2010 Missouri Bluebird Conference in Jefferson City in September! Until available on this site, please click onto the following website to download a complete CONFERENCE BROCHURE and registration form, as well as a MAP and a Schedule of Events: or call 573-638-2473 for more information.
    We look forward to seeing you there!
    Steve Garr,
    Missouri Bluebird Society President

  8. george walther says:

    I live in South St. Louis County near Butler Hill and Lemay Ferry Rd.Three to five Bluebirds showed up 2-3 weeks ago and have been using the birdbath in my yard.I’ve put out mealworms but they haven’t seem to have discovered them yet or are not interested.Any suggestions.

  9. Veci Billings says:

    While out walking I have seen a pair of blue birds on the trail behinde the University of Missouri Sports arean. Is this common for them to be here during the winter?

    • Steve Garr, MOBS President says:

      Yes! Bluebirds are year-round residents in most of Missouri. Actually, parts of Missouri get even more Bluebirds in the winter than they have in the summer months, because some “northern” bluebirds do move down to our state in the winter before returning north for breeding season. Nest boxes on poles often make great roosting cavities for our bluebirds in the winter.
      Steve Garr

  10. Lynn McClamroch says:

    Hi all, I just have one quick question. I live in Kirksville, are there any other members in this area of Missouri. We have a new Conservation Office that would make a great meting place sometime in the future. Thanks for the info.


    • Regina Garr, MOBS secretary says:

      Hi Lynn,
      Thanks for your post. We have a few MOBS members in your area, but still have lots of room for growth! THANK YOU for thinking of MOBS with regard to meeting places in your area. It takes many members and volunteers to put on one of our Annual Conferences, and the more highly populated areas seem to provide a better base for that for now….however, the place you describe sounds WONDERFUL for a regional meeting of some sort ( perhaps 1/2 a day, or a couple hours?) and may be just what the area needs to grow membership!
      The EDUCATIONAL BROCHURE developed by the MOBS Board of Directors and downloadable for this website is a perfect tool for a meeting of that sort. Also- we are developing a power point CD that members can use to give programs on their own in their areas.
      Perhaps you could give a program at the new Conservation Office in your area! Email me at :, and I will email you privately if you have more questions.
      ALSO–IF OTHER MEMBERS in your area see this post and would like to help with a Bluebird meeting in Kirksville, PLEASE REPLY TO THIS POST!
      Regina, MOBS secretary

  11. Ron F. says:

    Are there any places in or near St. Louis to regularly observe bluebirds? I’ve been birdwatching for a while and have not seen many.

  12. Dave Hartwig says:

    What’s MOBS opinion on the Troyers short, slotted, sparrow-resistant BB house thats in the Troyers Bring Back the Bluebirds book. What are the pros and the cons?

  13. Becky says:

    We found a dead female bluebird on the ground right below the birdhouse where she had laid 5 eggs. Two weeks later we find a dead male right in the same spot! Could this be other birds doing this? They have nested here for several years with no problems like this.

    • Regina Garr says:

      Becky, we regret that we just received your message today, but hope you will still find this information helpful. In instances like the ones that occurred with your birds, we first check the back of the heads of the bluebirds for any injury. If it appears the back of the head was wounded (ie pecked by a bird), It is likely the culprit was a House Sparrow. The fact that you found the dead birds so close to the nest box is evidence that they were trying to protect their eggs. Of course, there are other predators that could have caused the problem. The good news is, even after such occurrences, generally that nest box can still be a productive box for other bluebirds. You may have to implement some predator control, depending on what caused the problem. Hopefully, you have, or will have new residents in the box soon!

  14. Mary LaRuffa says:

    I was lucky to get a pair of bluebirds to nest in my box the end of April. Unfortunately, my neighbor found a dead bluebird last week and I have not seen the mate in two days. Yesterday I checked the nest and there are five blue eggs in the nest. Will the other mate return? How long do I wait before I clean the nest?

    • Steve Garr says:

      I certainly appreciate your obvious concern for the Bluebirds!
      Before you do anything please check to make sure that when you are checking the nest box that it just happens to be when the bluebirds are not around. To check to see if a bird is entering the box, you can place a small blade of grass across the entrance hole. If the grass is still there the next day a bird has not entered the entrance hole. You did not specify which bird was found dead. Was it the male or the female? The female is capable of incubating the eggs without the male. It may depend on how soon the eggs are due to hatch whether or not the female would abandon the nest or not. I have had a female bluebird fledge a clutch of young bluebirds after the male was killed. To ease the burden of her hunting for food alone all of the time I supplemented her diet with mealworms. If it is the female that was found dead the male is unable to incubate the eggs and they probably will not hatch. Just because you are not seeing the mate does not mean that it was one of your nesting pair of bluebirds that was found dead. If you are going to remove the eggs and nest I would give it at least two weeks after the estimated time to hatch. The incubation for Eastern Bluebirds is 14 to 16 days, and the time does not start until the female starts incubating the eggs. Incubation does not always start after the last egg is laid, but that is the day we use to estimate hatch date. Sometimes the best we can do is watch and wait! Good Luck.

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