Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MVFN Bluebird Boxes 

MVFN bluebird boxes are built by volunteers and are based on the Peterson oval design. Studies show that the Peterson oval design is more user-friendly to the Eastern bluebird and has a lower mortality rate than other designs.
The truncated conical shape of the nesting cavity reduces the requirement for nesting material; hence less energy is expended by the nester. The thick wooden back and roof acts as a thermal barrier to shield the young from temperature extremes. The oblong entrance hole is the correct dimension for bluebirds and the angled front discourages predators. The front opens for cleaning.



Establishing Peterson Bluebird Boxes (Houses)

The house should be located in the open, away from shrubs and trees, with the entrance opening 5-6 feet from the ground and with the entrance facing away from the prevailing winds. Bluebird boxes should be mounted in pairs, about ten to twelve feet apart. Tree swallows and chickadees often take over one box but won’t tolerate another family of swallows nearby. However, they have no issues with bluebirds.

There are many keys to long-term success with these boxes, especially location, location, location! Please refer to the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society website at for more detailed advice.

The import from Europe of the starling and the English house sparrow in the latter part of the nineteenth century saw these cavity dwellers take over much of the availability of nesting holes that the bluebirds needed. Man’s intervention with man-made bluebird nesting homes helped greatly to re-establish these beautiful songbirds into our area. Many of the Peterson Bluebird boxes constructed and sold by MVFN have gone to property owners who have space to establish a bluebird trail. Other rural applications are possible, including establishment within and around a series of apple trees, the birds’ favourite habitat.

At first, tree swallows and chickadees (photo below by Gloria Opzoomer) made MVFN Peterson bluebird houses their home at Gloria Opzoomer’s, but Gloria eventually reported eggs and baby bluebirds in the houses.

Chicadee 'chicks' in Bluebird nest box 021

 To Purchase an MVFN Peterson Bluebird House

To purchase one of the MVFN Bluebird Boxes, please contact Joyce (613-257-4879) or Al (613-256-2602). They are $20 each, with proceeds going to MVFN’s habitat creation projects. The houses are made from donated, repurposed wood and were constructed by Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist volunteers. Two 3” Robertson screws supplied are for wood post installation or Tee rail.

Volunteer Building Workshops

The bluebird boxes were created by many volunteers who participated in the Bluebird Box building blitzes which took place over the course of several years. Special thanks go to MVFN member Al Potvin for Herculean efforts in providing materials, protocols and venue for the building sessions, and to Mike McPhail who was dedicated to MVFN’s habitat creation program and for many years led the bluebird house building efforts.

bluebird building blitz


photo by Mike McPhail