Helping Eastern Bluebirds Shelter at Home

Today I’ve invited my brother-in-law, Peter Mordy to write below about a big project he’s been working on over the past four years by building and posting nest boxes in southern Ontario in Canada.


Peter Mordy

A life-long interest of mine has been building, putting up, and monitoring bird nest boxes.  I moved to Brighton, Ontario, in January of 2017 and I’m now in my fourth year putting up nest boxes in this rural area.

I spend my winters building the nest boxes over the cold months, put them up in March, and then monitor until the end of summer.  To find the best habitat, I look for farms with fenced-in short-grass pasture—cow, horse, sheep, or goat farms are ideal—and I use the fence posts in these areas to support the nest boxes.  (I always gain the permission of a farmer before I put any nest boxes on his or her property.)


My nest boxes are designed for Eastern Bluebirds, but I am glad to have any bird or mammal use them.  (Though, I am not so keen on insects taking up residence.)  To date, my nest boxes have harboured six species of birds:  Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow, House Wren, House Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, and Great-crested Flycatcher.  As well, they have held the nests of two species of mammal (Field Mouse and Red Squirrel).

Over the past four years I have put up approximately 220 nest boxes and I plan to continue expanding my nest box empire for the foreseeable future.


Peter Mordy and empire in progress

From time to time I check on the boxes and below are photos to give you an idea of what I find when I’m monitoring.

Typical Eastern Bluebird nest clutch

A typical bluebird nest: blue eggs in a nest made of only grasses, no feathers.


Eastern Bluebird nest 1

An Eastern Bluebird nest with an unusual clutch of six eggs.


Eastern Bluebird nest box 2

Very pale (albino?) Eastern Bluebird eggs.

Eastern Bluebird nest box 3

Nest box #97, built in 2019.

Eastern Bluebird hatchlings

Four young Eastern Bluebirds about ready to leave their nest box.

House Wren nest

House Wren nest.

Black-capped Chickadee nest box

A Black-capped Chickadee nest, made of mosses, fur, and bark strips. The eggs are white with brown spots.

Black-capped Chickadee nest hole

Black-capped Chickadee at its nest hole.

House Sparrow nest

House Sparrow nest.

Eastern Bluebird nest with cowbird eggs

This bluebird nest contains two Brown-headed Cowbird eggs.

Bluebird incubating eggs

A bluebird incubating its eggs.

Tree Swallow nest

A typical Tree Swallow nest, made of grasses with many feathers. The eggs are white.

Tree Swallow nest in box

A Tree Swallow on its nest. The nest is actually behind the bird, where all the feathers are.

Young Eastern Bluebird on nest

A young bluebird that will soon be ready to leave its nest.

Field mouse in nest box.

Why, hello there! A field mouse looks out from its nest in a nest box.

House Wren Winter Wren

A House Wren nest that has been built similar to how a Winter Wren would construct its nest, with a small entrance to the nest inside the twig jumble.

Typical House Wren nest

A typical House Wren nest, with an open top to the nest (unlike the previous picture). The eggs are brown. Nest is made of twigs and lined with feathers and grass.

Savannah Sparrow nest

A Savannah Sparrow nest, found in a farm field. (Nothing to do with bird houses.)

Bluebird nest 2

A bluebird nest built on the twigs of a wren’s dummy nest.

Great-crested Flycatcher nest

A Great-crested Flycatcher nest, built in a nest box that had had its entrance hole greatly enlarged by a squirrel. The six eggs are marbled brown on a brown base.

Pile of Eastern Bluebird nest boxes

As long as there are Eastern Bluebirds I will build boxes for them.