Houses for Bluebird Trails

Protect the bluebird's nesting habitat by offering bluebird houses, safe from predators.

Easy to Clean, Tried-and-True Bluebird Houses for Bluebird Trails
Protect Nesting Bluebirds from Invasive Cavity Nesters with the Gilwood House’s Smaller Nesting Cavity, a Tried-and-True Bluebird House Design Originally Created by Field Expert Steve Gilbertson

CONCORD, N.H. — Like many nesting birds, bluebirds are susceptible to losing their nesting box to larger, invasive cavity nesters, including House Sparrows and starlings. However, there are natural ways to discourage these unwelcome cavity nesters. According to, “Boxes should be properly designed (with correct hole size) for small cavity nesters you want to attract, with a door or roof that opens for monitoring and cleaning, and be solidly constructed so they will keep rain and predators out, and last for years.”

Bluebird house specialist and creator of the Gilwood house Steve Gilbertson, spent years on his bluebird trail testing bluebird houses to see which one they prefer. He observed bluebirds paid, “a lot of attention to these four elements [entry hole, nesting depth, cavity size and ambient light level] when selecting a nestbox.” Originally designed by Gilbertson, the Gilwood Bluebird House uses several of these features to deter larger birds. The 3/8 inch metal wire rod stretches across the entrance to reduce the entry hole to 1-1/2 inches to keep out larger birds, while letting in the desirable amount of ambient light and ventilation to attract nesting bluebirds. Since starlings and other invasive nesters prefer larger nesting cavities, the Gilwood’s proven 4-1/4 x 3-1/2 inch flooring provides bluebirds with additional, and necessary, protection.

After years of trail research, “[Dick Peterson and myself] discovered that the birds, when given the choice, were more inclined to choose a nest box with a floor size of between fourteen and sixteen square inches. A floor size in this range would serve another purpose: it deters the European Starling, a competitor species that prefers a much larger cavity.”

Gilbertson continued, “The Peterson nestbox has a nesting area of around fourteen square inches [at nest level], and starlings almost never attempt to nest in that box! even though they can squeeze through the Peterson oval entry.” Although Steve Gilbertson is now retired, his legacy of proven bluebird house designs continues to live on at Duncraft, where the durable Bird-Safe® Peterson Eco Bluebird House is now available in new colors: classic Duncraft green and brown.

“It is our responsibility to keep the birds safe by designing and building a nestbox that is tight and dry, won’t overheat and is easy to monitor,” noted Steve Gilbertson, who is recognized for his vital contributions to bluebird recovery. Two new Duncraft bluebird houses pay heed to Gilbertson’s insight with a double layer roof on the Bluebird Trail House & Pole and Gilwood Bluebird Slotbox & Pole to better reflect the hot sun and prevent nestlings from overheating.

Protect your bluebirds from predators with the following tried-and-true bluebird house designs, inspired by Steve Gilbertson: Gilwood Bluebird Nest Box & Pole, Bluebird Trail House & Pole, Gilwood Bluebird Slotbox & Pole, Bird-Safe® Peterson Eco Bluebird House and Bluebird House with Pole & Noel Guard available at

About Duncraft

In 1952, Duncraft, based in Concord, NH, became a leader in the backyard bird feeding industry with their original Flight Deck Windowsill Feeding Station, an innovative design at the time, bringing birds close-up while enjoying bird seed, peanut butter and water right outside your window. Today, Duncraft manufactures more than 600 original bird feeders and houses, designed for intermediate to advanced bird lovers. A national provider of backyard bird feeding supplies, Duncraft connects you with the products you need to succeed in your bird feeding adventures with products for beginner to expert bird enthusiasts. Browse 53 expertly crafted bluebird houses at

SOURCE Duncraft | Wild Bird Superstore



“Eagle Scout Project: Creating an Eastern Bluebird Trail in Maryland.” Nowaskey, Scott. Duncraft’s Wild Bird Blog, 2016. Mar. 28, 2016. <>.

“How to Make and Enjoy Your Own Blue Bird Trail,” Wells, Richard. Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, 2016. Mar. 28, 2016. <>. 

“How to Start a Bluebird Trail: Ten Steps to a Bluebird Trail.” Sialis, Mar. 24, 2016. Mar. 28, 2016. <>.

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