Last week, my youngest son and I enjoyed building a bluebird house together with other members from his Cub Scout den. Their leader had done most of the hard work by measuring all the parts needed, cutting them out and preparing them for the boys (and parents) to build.

We learned a few things about bluebirds that night, and I added a few things as well, since my late Grandfather was very fond of bluebirds and succeeded where others did not in attracting the most loved and useful bird year-after-year to his gardens in Laporte. I mention useful, because the bluebird diet consists of about 80 percent insects and small invertebrates, and 20 percent plants.

Bluebird houses can be mounted on poles and fence posts in pastures, fields, large lawns or cemeteries and are usually satisfactory in providing the best protection from predators. Less desirable locations are trees, because of the threat of climbing predators like cats, raccoons, snakes and squirrels.

If you use a fence post, be sure to mount the box where livestock can’t get to it. Fence posts can be purchased from your local hardware or farm supply store. When possible, face the boxes toward the next fence post so that the birds can look into the entrance hole from a perch. Ideally, the bluebird house should face an open area with a tree, large shrub within 25 to 100 feet in front of the house. The young birds then have a good chance of reaching this when they make their initial flight to safety.

Bluebird houses should be mounted at a height of from 4 to 5 feet above ground, measured from the ground to the floor of the house. There is differing opinions on which way the house should face, your main objective should be to deter climbing predators, but allow for easy monitoring. Ideally, face the boxes away from prevailing winds keeping in mind to avoid direct midday sun.