Beginning January 24, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Howard Nursery will once again sell bluebird nesting boxes to the public. Each year, about 9,000 bluebird nesting boxes are sold or provided to Pennsylvanians. The boxes sell for $7, and customers may choose from assembled boxes or kits that can be assembled as a wood-working project.
It’s not too early to purchase and place these boxes as bluebirds are early nesters that often raise two broods per season beginning in early spring.
“Bluebirds are early nesters, so now is the time put up new nest boxes, as well as to clean and repair existing boxes,” said Dan Brauning, Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Division chief. “These bluebird boxes enable Pennsylvanians to help wildlife in a natural way. Also, building nesting boxes is a great project for individuals, families or civic organizations interested in connecting with wildlife. These box designs are proven to attract bluebirds and other native species, such as tree swallows and house wrens.”
Providing nesting boxes specifically designed for bluebirds is a great help to these cavity nesters. The introduction of non-native house sparrows and starlings in 1851 and 1890 have been the primary cause of bluebird decline as these species compete with bluebirds for appropriate nesting sites.
Bluebird nesting boxes are made with perchless openings only one and one-half inches in diameter in order to exclude larger starlings. Ideally, the boxes should be erected on a free-standing pole three to five feet above the ground, facing south, and facing a nearby tree or fence, if possible.
Sales will continue while supplies last, and office hours are Monday-Friday from 7:45 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Game Commission’s headquarters is at 2001 Elmerton Ave., just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81 in Harrisburg. To order by phone, call the Game Commission’s Harrisburg office at 1-888-888-3459. If ordering by phone, shipping and handling costs will apply depending on how many boxes are ordered.
For more information on bluebirds, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.p.us), click on “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, and then select “Bluebird” in the “Wild Birds and Birding” section of the page. Also, information about additional wildlife nesting structures can be found by putting your cursor on “Self-Help” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then clicking on “Download Forms and Brochures” in the drop-down menu listing, and then clicking on “Wildlife Homes Order Form” in the “Agency Programs” section.
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