Bluebird enthusiasts might have one or two nestboxes to monitor, or they might have scores!
When a line of boxes are located along a fence row, for example, we refer to it as a trail.
Monitors check the nestboxes throughout the season, recording important data such as bird species, numbers and dates of eggs, hatchlings and fledglings.
Nestboxes should be inspected and cleaned in March, before the birds begin to take up residence.
When birds begin to nest, monitors should check the boxes on a weekly basis. When this frequency is not possible, chose a schedule that fits your time, while allowing you to gather the most accurate data possible.
When the nesting season comes to an end, the boxes should again be inspected and cleaned.
Checking a Nestbox
Approach the box quietly
Tap gently on it to alert occupants
Open slowly and peek inside
Make a mental note of eggs or young and conditions in the box
Close the box
Move away and record your observations
A Monitor's Toolkit
These are a few recommendations of what you could have with you when you check your boxes. You may find other items are useful; your kit should have what you need, without being too burdensome to carry!
1. A small notebook and pen or pencil for recording notes
3. Screws and nails to make repairs
4. Pocket mirror for seeing in high boxes or hard to see corners
5. Disposable hand wipes
6. Putty knife for cleaning boxes
7. Face mask or hankerchief to cover your nose and mouth when there is dust
9. Bar of Ivory soap; rubbing soap in box walls and ceiling will deter wasps
10. Bottle of water and energy bar -- for you!