Although it may seem a bit early to be thinking about bird houses, January is a good time for bird lovers to put up a series of bluebird nesting boxes, commonly called a bluebird trail.
By early March, many songbirds will be making their way to the Sunflower State, including the eastern bluebird. With its brilliant blue and red colors and melodic song, the bluebird becomes an instant favorite of anyone lucky enough to see one.
Unfortunately, most people never get that chance. Loss of natural nesting holes and competition with the non-native house sparrow and European starling have all contributed to this decline.
However, bluebirds are making a comeback and can be encouraged to stay and nest in Kansas by any group willing to put up a series of nest boxes.
Bluebird trails consist of 10 or more boxes mounted on fence posts or pipes. Because bluebirds feed primarily on insects caught in relatively short grass, boxes should be placed near pastures, hayfields and meadows. Bluebirds will not nest in heavily wooded areas. Boxes should be placed about 100 yards or more apart because the birds are territorial. Rural by nature, bluebirds seldom nest near towns or houses.
Any organization wanting to establish a bluebird trail may obtain as many as 10 free boxes from Wildlife and Parks.
Contact the Pratt office at 620 672-5911, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, for the name and phone number of your local biologist, who will order the boxes for your group.