Mariton: Check Your Nest Boxes
It is not too early to begin getting bluebird boxes ready for the breeding season. Bluebirds have been singing almost every morning in the yard. They will soon be looking for places to raise a brood. If you are going to put up boxes for the first time take advantage of the fine weather we have been having. Now is the time to repair and replace your older nest boxes. It is also a good time to clean out any debris left over from last year. You can leave nest box doors open so they can air out for a week.
In checking over the records from the different preserves the earliest that Bluebird nesting activitiy has been recorded is March 9. That is very early; most years nesting starts in late March or early April. If you start now, your nest boxes should be ready. Our nest boxes also attract Tree Swallows, Chickadees and House Wrens, all of which nest later in the spring.
I checked boxes this week, and a quarter of them had mice nests. Those that were not active were removed and the side was left open to air. The active nests were left undisturbed, but I left the door open. Those mice will relocate by next week, when I will remove the nests and let them air another week. By then bluebirds will be moving in to boxes. It is not too early to get started.