Bluebirds make the most delightful backyard tenants due to their gentle nature, beautiful coloring, sweet song, and insect-controlling eating habits. If you live within their range, and wish to have them nest in your yard, there are some things you should know about their food and housing needs.
Mealworms are available live, roasted or canned. Live mealworms are obviously the closest match to a bluebird's native diet, while roasted mealworms have a longer shelf life and do not require refrigeration. Canned mealworms are processed in a way that locks in their nutrients and juices. If you choose to offer fruit, you can cut fresh fruits, or offer a number of varieties of dried fruit such as blueberries, cranberries, raisins and cherries. Some owners use a seed blend with fruit in hopes of attracting bluebirds to feed at their traditional feeders.
Place your bluebird house 5 to 6 feet off the ground. Ideally, it should be located on open land, not in a wooded area, although a few nearby trees are okay. Some landlords believe the nest box should be located within 50 feet of a tree, with door facing the tree, so fledglings will have a place to fly to and perch after their first flight attempts. This will help them avoid falling to the ground and becoming prey to predators. Another thing you need to know about attracting bluebirds to nest is that there is a difference between nest spacing and nest pairing. Bluebirds are competitive with each other, so they require nest spacing of at least 100 yards from each other. However, bluebirds have been known to nest adjacent to swallows, so you can pair nest boxes 10-25 feet apart to allow a bluebird family and a swallow family to live in close proximity of each other.
Other Ways to Attract Bluebirds
You will also want to plant native species that produce berries bluebirds eat. Bluebirds are known to consume the fruits of plants such as flowering dogwood, eastern red cedar, holly, American elderberry, and pokeweed. These plants will also attract other species that are interesting to watch, so they are well worth the effort.