It's hard to believe the market season is almost upon us. The propagation shed is full, the little high tunnel has been retrofitted to be a cold frame and the tomatoes are being hardened off to be planted this weekend in the high tunnel known as Mama Bear. But the best thing? The bluebirds are back.
The bluebirds are a by-product of my attempt to attract purple martins. I made gourd houses and as soon as they were hung, a tree swallow took over. Throwing rolled up socks at him did nothing to deter him. Hmmm, time to do some research. All the internet sites gave basically the same advice: build him a house.
So off to lumberyard with bluebird box blueprints in hand to buy cedar board. After some sawing, nailing and uttering some words my mom wouldn't much care for, I had a bluebird box. And it worked. He seemed quite pleased with his new home.
That fall I noticed some new birds....bluebirds were inspecting the box. Needless to say, more houses were built over the winter. The first year, both the tree swallows and bluebirds did great. Then came the house sparrows. No amount of patrolling kept them from harassing the bluebirds and tree swallows. I even bought a pellet gun, but nobody's going to confuse me with Annie Oakley.
This year we bought PVC boxes. We'll use a couple of the cedar boxes to trap sparrows. So far, so good. A bluebird pair has claimed the PVC box and the sparrows don't seem to care for it. If any of you out there have experience with the PVC boxes, it'd be great to hear from you.
The martins? Well, that didn't work out. But we've enjoyed the tree swallows and bluebirds so much, I'm not the least bit disappointed. As the saying goes, two outta three ain't bad.