Trail Information

What is a Bluebird Trail?

A bluebird trail is a series of nest boxes installed in the same area.  Because bluebirds are territorial, a trail requires a relatively large area.  Parks, pastures, fields, cemeteries and other large, relatively open areas can support a bluebird trail.

Setting up a Bluebird Trail

Habitat is the key factor to consider when setting up a Bluebird trail. Open country with scattered trees and low or sparse ground cover is best. Suitable habitat should include perch sites, such as a fence line, wires, or tree branches where Bluebirds may perch to search for food. Because bluebirds hunt from above, dropping to the ground to capture insects, they generally prefer low grass. Areas with very tall grass makes hunting more difficult and may be less attractive to bluebirds.

Pastureland, acreages, parks away from human traffic, and mowed areas such as cemeteries, and golf courses are all good locations for a Bluebird trail. In each case, pesticide use must be considered; try to avoid areas with any pesticide application.

Nest boxes should be spaced 100 yards or more apart to provide enough territory for nesting bluebirds. 

Avoid brushy or heavily wooded areas; this is the habitat of the House Wren.  House Wrens are native cavity nesters that will compete aggressively with any other species using the nest boxes.  Installing nest boxes at least 25 yards from the nearest treeline or shrubby area will reduce conflict with House Wrens.

Avoid areas where the House Sparrow is abundant (i.e. around houses, farmsteads, and animal feedlots).  This non-native, invasive species will attack and kill bluebirds and other native species.

Boxes can be mounted in pairs where Tree Swallows are abundant. When paired, boxes should be mounted 5 to 25 feet apart. This provides nesting sites for both species and helps to prevent competition between them.