I gather fresh, dried grass clippings in the fall & "cup shape" it in 
the cleaned boxes so winter roosting birds have a warmer place to roost 
than in just a bare box or on a tree limb. We've had bluebirds & downies 
spend nights in the boxes in winter & tree swallows that come too early 
also roost in the boxes. I make the cup a bit deeper & wider than birds 
would for nests. In spring I remove some of it when I see birds showing 
interest in nesting. This sometimes is helpful if we have a cold, wet, 
perhaps snowy spring that delays nesting.

During nesting season we may have a lot of rain. Nesting material gets 
wet or blow fly larvae are so prolific that just lifting the nest to 
scrape out the larvae isn't enough so the nest grasses need to be 
replaced. I keep dry lawn clippings or some pulled dry grass just for 
that purpose.

Since blue birds often/usually nest twice I clean out the old nest, 
sterilize the box & put new grass in. Tree swallows don't ever nest here 
twice but they leave a real mess in their boxes. To encourage bluebirds, 
especially if it's getting well along in summer, if they want a 
different box, it's really important to scrub out swallow fecal matter & 
other mess & put in fresh"starter" grass.


On 3/22/2020 3:35 PM, Maureen Cowen wrote:
> *What is starter grass?*
On Mar 22, 2020  Fritzie Blizzard <> wrote :

Bluebirds are checking their dwellings. I have blocked the openings to 
keep male house sparrows from "fixating" on certain boxes & driving away 
other box nesters. Bluebirds won't start nesting here just yet &*I 
already have put new, dry starter grass in the boxes.*

Fritzie B.,

Union Springs


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