Building a Bluebird Nestbox


I was a little concerned about the distance when I registered my kids for this activity, but it seemed like such a great place, the activity seemed like a lot of fun and it was FREE! I was not disappointed. The kids showed immediate interest from the moment we stepped onto the walkway heading up to the main building of Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary in Wales, MA.

My oldest daughter (middle child) Abigail was the first to notice the walkway was imprinted with the footprints of different animals and we explored our way up talking about what animals they could be from. 11 year old Caleb decided, for some reason only known to him, that it was necessary to also use his sense of smell to explore and got 2 year old Emily down on the ground so they could smell their way to the door.
It felt good to not have to wander around lost. We were greeted by a nice woman as soon as we walked in the door who asked if we were there for the birdhouse class. She then told us to enjoy exploring the wonderful displays while we waited for the others to arrive.  

Caleb checking out the display of birds
Abigail loves to discover the weather from day to day.
We even discovered what some of those prints in the concrete were!
Abigail loves space and the sky. She was quickly drawn in my this poster.
Ok, there’s nothing this child doesn’t love to learn about. Here she is looking at the turtle shells.

Right on time the group was lead down to a room where all the tools and materials were set up. Before we got started though they had everybody sit down in chairs (set up away from the distraction of the tools) for a quick discussion about how everything was going to happen. Then they got to go to work. They set everything up in stages and had at least 1 helper from the sanctuary to help at each table. A blessing to those of us with more than 1 child or, as in my case, a rambunctious 2 year old. I was able to easily help Abigail when she needed it. Caleb, at 11, didn’t really need any help but I did hold his birdhouse once so he could hammer in a nail. I’m proud to say I still have all my fingers. Neither one of them hit my fingers once, though Abigail and I might have had a close call or 2!


Caleb and Abigail liked the night time display.
Emma wants to play too!
Caleb hard at work
It was easier for some of the shorter kids to hammer their project on the floor
Mama was too nervous about the 2 year old with the hammer so someone gave us a puzzle to do. She did get a chance to hammer a nail towards the end. Another mom with a younger child let Emma try. She only hit herself in the head once!
Putting on the door to keep the bluebirds safe from predators and other birds who might try to steal their nests.

A quote from Abigail: “My favorite part was building the birdhouses. I learned that bluebirds need lots of help because of predators like raccoons and other birds like Starlings that like to steal the bluebird nests and build their own on top, it can sometimes kill the bluebird babies already in the nest”.

A quote from Caleb: “My favorite part was building the bird box and I learned that most types of blue birds are endangered”.
What mom learned: “I learned to give my kids space, they are far more capable than I give them credit for and I am so proud of how their bird boxes came out. About the bluebirds, I learned that thet are a member of the thrush family and related to the robin. Starlings are a natural enemy of bluebirds because they often take over bluebird nests and kill the baby bluebirds inside. This can be prevented by making sure the entrance hole in the box is no more than 1-1/4″D so that a bluebird but not a Starling will be able to get through. I also learned that raccoons can be prevented from climbing the poles that house the boxes by applying machine grease to the base of the pole and adding an additional square of wood around the opening to the box (Our boxes do not have these). Many farmers use bluebird boxes around their fences to help bluebirds nest and to keep unwanted insects from infesting their crops”.