published Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Garden tips: How to attract bluebirds to your back yard

Bluebirds have made a dramatic comeback in the area. (AP)
Bluebirds have made a dramatic comeback in the area. (AP)

Bluebirds, often seen twittering around a princess in Disney movies, are pleasing to both the eye and spirit. No wonder they are considered a symbol of happiness.

“People enjoy watching them because of their beauty,” said David Stone, vice president of the Chattanooga chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society.

While bluebirds are not any more beneficial to a garden than their feathered friends, they do eat plant-destroying insects.

Thirty years ago bluebirds were rare in the area, Stone said. Then nest boxes became popular.

“The bluebirds have made a dramatic comeback,” he said.

Manmade boxes in which birds can build nests, nest boxes attract winged friends by offering them a place to build a home.

Stone offered some tips on creating and placing nest boxes specifically for bluebirds.

1) Create a wood box about six inches in height and depth and nine inches in width.

2) For bluebirds, the hole in the nest box should be an inch and a half in diameter. Otherwise, larger birds might try to take over the box.

3) Place your nest box in a fairly open area of your yard.

4) Bluebirds are primarily insect eaters, but there’s no need to place insects in the box to attract them — they’ll just eat the bugs that they find feeding on your plants.

5) Keep your eyes peeled; bluebirds live in Chattanooga year-round, Stone said.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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EaTn said...

I've had a bluebird box for years and each year a bluebird couple nests there. The box is on a 10 ft pole.

July 16, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
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