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Bluebirds/House war between Bluebirds and chickadees


Hi!  We've had our box up at least three years and have had good success.  this year it seems we have a bidding war going on.  We've given the chickadees their own house.  I looked in the bluebird house and it looks pretty well built out of pine needles.  I just saw a chickadee go in and come right back out.  my question is whether I should clear the nest out?  I don't know whose nest it is.  I've seen the male bbird and have heard him calling out for the female.  I'm just concerned the bluebirds will go somewhere else.  Is it too early to clear it out and let them start again?  Thanks

Please don't clear it out. Chickadees build moss nests and grass and pine needles are what Bluebirds use. Even if a Chickadee gets a box first that is a nice event, often 7 or 8 babies. I deliberately put boxes for them in Oak wood. Also they have only one family a year and it moves quickly and the Bluebirds usually nest after them.

A good idea is to have more than one box, and they need to be 100 yards apart. If your yard is small you can cheat a bit by putting one box in front of your home and one in back so they can't see each other as they are very territorial. Or use neighbor's property or along the road to your home. Ok even if it is high speed as cars stir up and knock down insects and there are fewer snakes and four legged predators.

If you don't already have it please send your mailing address to me at and I will send you my free Bluebird book that will make you experts. More than 3300 copies are out across the U.S., Canada and bermuda. Happy Bluebirding! Bob Walshaw.


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Bluebird Bob Walshaw


Questions about setting up and monitoring Eastern Bluebird houses. This includes where and how to put up houses, trouble shooting, fighting predators, especially the killer house sparrows and helping other small cavity nesters such as Chickadees, Titmice, Carolina Wrens, etc. Send mailing address to me at for a free 20 page Bluebird book.


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