From Xplor for Kids
February 2011 Issue

Xplor More: Time to Build a Bluebird House

Publish Date

Feb 01, 2011

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What’s red, white and blue, eats bugs, and sings in the spring? It’s Missouri’s state bird, the eastern bluebird. In early March, bluebirds search for hollow trees or abandoned woodpecker holes in which to nest. Even if your yard lacks these natural cavities, you can still have bluebirds. Just build a bluebird box.

  1. Ask an adult for help.
  2. Gather materials. You’ll need a board 5 feet long, 6 inches wide and 1 inch thick, plus some nails or screws. Cedar lumber is best, but other types of wood can be used. Avoid treated lumber because the chemicals are toxic to birds.
  3. Round up some tools. You’ll need safety glasses, a tape measure, a saw, and a hammer or screwdriver.
  4. Follow the bluebird box plans at www.xplormo.org/node/2937. xplor more time to build a house

Location, Location, Location

Bluebirds are picky about where they nest. Here’s how to persuade a pair to use your box.

  • Put your box up before March.
  • Select an open, grassy area with scattered trees such as a backyard or pasture. Avoid brushy areas unless you want house wrens in your bluebird box.
  • Hang your box 4 to 6 feet high on a post. Face the box toward a tree or shrub. Bluebirds will hang out there to watch for insects to pounce upon.
  • Space boxes at least 125 yards apart. Bluebirds need plenty of room to find food for themselves and their babies.

Spring Cleaning

Keep your bluebird family happy by checking your box often and keeping it tidy.

  • Inspect your box every February. Repair or repaint it if necessary, and clean out any old nests inside.
  • In March, begin checking your bluebird box once a week. Bluebirds lay 2 to 7 pale blue eggs in a tidy, cup-shaped nest of woven grass. Starlings and house sparrows build messy nests using many different materials. Remove sparrow and starling nests. Your box is for bluebirds!
  • Once a bluebird pair

Also in this issue

Photos With Nop and Dave: Cranky Snake

Nop Paothong lay belly-down on the forest floor, trying hard not to irritate the large and quite venomous cottonmouth coiled 3 feet in front of him.

You Discover

With winter almost gone and spring right around the corner, there’s plenty for you to discover outside in February and March. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Wild Jobs: Bug Detective Rob Lawrence

Bad bugs beware. Insect investigator Rob Lawrence is on the case.

My Outdoor Adventure

At first, Cedar was content to watch his dad and uncle snag paddlefish.

Vulture Culture

The sickly sweet smell of rotting flesh hangs in the humid air. A large black bird circles overhead, homing in on the scent. It soon spies the source, a dead opossum swollen in the sun like a furry balloon.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole Leclair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Alicia Weaver
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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