Red, White, and Blue…What type of house do the birds prefer?

In Announcements, by , on February 25th, 2014

[Sustainability meeting today at 12:20 p.m. in CASTL]

Our monochromatic earth (covered in white snow) for the past few months won’t last forever. Even in the vast whiteness, some fleeting blasts of color appear. Cardinals, or more appropriately male cardinals, are a vibrant red. The females are described as green, greyish-green, or brown. Bluebirds are, as their name implies, a brilliant blue. Again, it is the male with the bright coloration and an orange chest, the female being a drab grey. Blue jays also are blue, with grey and black bands on their bodies and a grey underside. The males and females are both pigmented. Jays are a loud, raucous bird and you will know if they are in the area.

Yes, spring will arrive, or at least that’s what groundhogs say. Even though it still seems far off to us it is not in the birds’ perspective. Some are beginning to look for materials to make nests. Bluebirds nest in holes in trees. They readily adapt to using a bluebird house for their nest. The size of the opening is critical – too small and they can’t get in, too large and other birds, notably starlings, take over the boxes. One and a half inches seems to be just right.

Cardinals and jays like to build their nests in/on open boxes as in the wild they weave nests of sticks up in the crotches of tree branches. You can provide a wooden box about the size of a small child’s shoe box and they will be quite happy with it. Please place it high enough in a tree and in a location that will receive some overhead cover and shade for the baby birds so that it is not disturbed too much. You can put a “roof” on it and they are OK with that as well.

So get out, enjoy these last days of winter, and keep your eyes peeled for the red, white, and blue.

Speaking of patriotism, what can be better for our country than to conserve its natural resources? Find out how NU is grappling with issues related to decreasing our carbon footprint at the Sustainability meeting on Wednesday, March 26, at 12:20 p.m. in CASTL (St. Vincent’s Hall).

We need everyone’s help in assisting with the Earth Day celebrations on campus. Do you know of a group/organization/industry that has a sustainability commitment that would be interested in participating? If so, please send the contact information to Mark Gallo ( or Stephanie Cole Adams (