A Study to Determine the Preference of Nesting Box Entrance Hole Size of Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird): Year 2

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Virginia Tech. Powell River Project


For a second breeding season, nesting box preference was tested between boxes with large entrance holes and boxes with the traditional entrance hole diameter. As in the previous season, birds (Eastern Bluebirds, chickadees and tree swallows) nesting along the trail at the Powell River Education Center, preferred the boxes with the traditional sized holes; however, there was limited activity in the large holed boxes with one pair of bluebirds successfully fledging four chicks. Bluebirds, tree swallow and chickadees were active in field 1, while only chickadees were active in field 2. Chickadees were the most successful during the 2011 season fledging sixteen chicks, while bluebirds and tree swallows fledged nine chicks each. Chickadees built two nests in field 2, but one nest was abandoned and the second was lost to predation, resulting in the loss of four eggs. By mid-June, the grass in the field 2 has grown tall, and nesting activity ceased. Student volunteers from the general biology classes at Mountain Empire Community College assisted in the replacement of weathered boxes and the monitoring of nesting activity. A student from Lee High School assisted in the placement of the pan traps fulfilling part of his service requirement for an AIMS Scholarship.