Shady Grove Community Center 

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Shady Grove Ruritan


Bluebird Houses



Shady Grove Ruritan Bluebird Houses


Some 25 years ago, one of our members, John Kinney got an idea for a club fund raiser. He asked the members if they knew what a Bluebird was and most, if not all, indicated it was what is really a Blue Jay. So he thought it would be a good project to make Bluebird houses to attract them to our area thus helping end the Blue Jay confusion. So the club started building Bluebird houses under the careful eye of John Kinney in his wood shop. Regularly members, usually 8 or 10, met there to construct these houses for many years until John had to move. Houses now are being assembled in the enclosed pavilion at the Community Center.


The houses had to be made of rough-cut Hemlock 1!/8 inches thick, built to last and resist weather elements for many years. The rough surface also provides a very good surface for the birds to enter and maneuver inside the nesting box. The lumber was originally obtained locally but more recently from a local lumber company but John still insists on using Hemlock due to its good lasting qualities. An oblong opening is used for the entrance and the one side opens for easy clean-out with a pipe attached to the base for easy mounting inside a larger pipe of the correct height.


Over the years the club has made some 1100-1200 Bluebird houses, some have been in use for 25 years. A few years ago 50 Bluebird houses were installed on the property of local retirement facility.

For his efforts, dedication and knowledge regarding Bluebird houses, John Kinney has received two awards: one from the Pennsylvania Bluebird Association and one from the National Bluebird Association. Although John no longer is active as he once was he makes sure new houses are still being build as the need warrants. Is it no wonder we have many Bluebirds in our area and everyone knows what a Bluebird really looks like.


Each Spring the Bluebird Houses are sold at Kline's Store in Shady Grove.  More information will be available at a later date.  Price for 2013 will be $25.00 per



Place your nest boxes in good bluebird habitat. The best bluebird house will not attract bluebirds if it is in the wrong place. Here are some guidelines to follow for good bluebird habitat:

    1. Bluebirds nest primarily in suburban and rural areas.
    2. During breeding, bluebirds hunt insects by scanning the ground from a perch, spotting an insect, then swooping down to the ground to get it. Scattered young trees or shrubs, fence posts and lower branches of a lone mature tree make good hunting perches.
    3. Sparse or low vegetation is also important since it enables the bluebirds to see and capture insects. Cut meadows, mowed lawns and grazed fields are good.
    4. Nest boxes should be at least 100 feet from brushy or wooded areas where wrens are likely to be and preferably at least 1/4 mile from farmyards or barns where sparrows live.
    5. Good areas for bluebird nest boxes include open fields, fence rows, orchards where no pesticides are used, cemeteries, large lawns, golf courses, public parks, along open highways that are kept mowed and pastures.
    6. Proper spacing of your nest boxes is important. Bluebirds are territorial when breeding and will claim territories of 2-3 acres. Research shows they will generally not nest closer than 100 yards from the next box.
    7. To keep sparrows out, pair boxes 5-15 feet apart. The sparrows will only nest in one, leaving the other open for the bluebirds.
    8. Providing nesting materials is a strong factor in attracting nesting bluebirds since collecting nesting materials can take 100’s of trips. Bluebirds like soft grasses and fragrant pine needles as nesting material. Provide these     nesting materials in a specially designed container, an empty suet cage, or simply gather bunches of material and situate in the bark of a tree.



Buebirds usually begin nesting in the first half of March. These birds lay from three to six eggs, and the incubation period is about 14 days. Young birds fly about 16 days after hatching. Two and three broods per year are common. Bluebirds are year-round residents of Missouri. They are the official state bird.

Ground Forager

The birds forage by fluttering to the ground to grab an insect, or occasionally by catching an insect in midair. Bluebirds can sight their tiny prey items from 60 feet or more away. They fly fairly low to the ground, and with a fast but irregular pattern to their wingbeats. Males vying over territories chase each other at high speed, sometimes grappling with their feet, pulling at feathers with their beaks, and hitting with their wings




Sparrows can be a problem. Tear out their nests and temporarily plug the hole until they move elsewhere. Wasps can also be troublesome and may even drive bluebirds away. Spray wasp nests and remove them. Predators such as cats, raccoons and snakes can destroy nests. An inverted metal cone or a metal sleeve can help keep these animals from nests. Steel pipes coated with grease also can be used to mount the boxes.