Bluebird houses for Horton

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

In 2016 the Tennessee Bluebird Trail dissolved their non-profit and were kind enough to donate the remaining balance of their funds ($387.93) to the Friends of Henry Horton State Park. After numerous conversations at our Friends meetings concerning how best to use the funds, we had a local craftsman named Joe Gamino (Joe is retired from General Motors in Spring Hill) and his woodworking assistant Carter Sublette offer to build several bluebird houses for us if we could provide the cost of the materials. We quickly agreed to proceed, as this would be an appropriate use of the funds that we received from the Tennessee Bluebird Trail.

The Friends group along with our State Park Rangers began researching how to best utilize the boxes at the park to have maximum benefit for the bluebirds. Our investigation uncovered a lot of interesting facts about bluebirds and how they habitat. Who knew that bluebirds were such Divas!

Here are just a few interesting facts:

• Habitat is the key factor to consider when setting up a bluebird house. Open rural country with scattered trees and low or sparse ground cover is best. Suitable habitat should include a fence line, wires, tree branches, or other sites where bluebirds can perch to search for food. If bluebirds do not like the habitat, they probably will not use your nest boxes.

• Mount nest boxes at least 50–200 feet away from brushy and heavily wooded areas—this is the habitat of the house wren, a native species that may destroy bluebird eggs and/or compete with bluebirds for nest boxes.

• Face the nest box away from prevailing winds, and if possible, face it toward a tree or shrub that is within 100 feet of the box to provide a landing spot for the young bluebirds when they first leave the box. This will keep them off the ground, away from predators.

We are looking forward to installing our 12 new bluebird houses around the park so make plans to come out and look for the bluebirds!

Photo submitted

Pictured from left, front row: Henry Horton State Park Ranger Shaun Rainone, Teresa Dugger with FoHHSP, Carter Sublette, Joe Gamino- master bluebird house wood craftsman, and Suzie Comsock from FoHHSP.

Back row: members of Friends of Henry Horton State Park Leanne Higdon, Stacey Cothran, Jerry Bussell, Jason Riley, and Pat Stewart.