Lake Texoma

Because Life is Better at the Lake

A Big Favorite! Bluebirds

Friends of Hagerman NWR
Friends of Hagerman NWR Foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to instill reverence, respect and conservation of our wild creatures and habitats through supporting environmental education, recreational activities, and programs of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

By Jean Flick

Spring is on the way and it’s time to think about nesting bluebirds. The use of bluebird nest boxes and bluebird trails, such as those found at Hagerman NWR, have been instrumental in the recovery of bluebird species across North America. On Saturday, March 10, Dr. Wayne Meyer, Associate Professor of Biology at Austin College will speak on Bluebirds, for the Second Saturday program at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. His presentation will begin at 10 am and is free and open to the public.

If this is the year that you want to be a part of Bluebird recovery by locating bluebird nest boxes on your property, it’s time to get started.  

Habitat assessment is critical for success. Bluebirds prefer open or semi-open areas, so a large, open, lawn with nearby perches is ideal. The North American Bluebird Society recommends keeping a minimum distance of 100 yards between bluebird boxes, however, local bluebird lovers report success with nest boxes that are closer together. 

Check out other birds in the immediate area. House sparrows and house wrens will destroy bluebird eggs and nestlings. Tree sparrows will compete for housing. Placing boxes in pairs 15-20 feet apart can help reduce this competition and remember that the nearer a box is to an area with human activity, the more sparrow competition there will be.

Connie Hardesty, Friends of Hagerman board member, reports that they have 6 boxes on 1.3 acres and had successful fledges in 4 of the boxes this year. Three of the boxes are 25-30 yards apart with bluebirds nesting at different times. HNWR volunteers Wes and Teresa Crawford have had success with one box on their ½ acre lot. Wes, chair of the Nest Box Monitoring Committee for FOH says, “Despite competition from sparrows, we have had 3 fledge groups from our box at home for each of the last 3 years, welcoming 12 new bluebirds each year.

Marilyn Pickens, Friends member and an enthusiastic bluebird lover, has a big yard with two nest boxes on each side of the yard. The boxes are 40 feet apart. She recommends keeping the boxes clean and removing nest material placed by any other birds because the bluebirds will not build with any other bird material in the house. And she reminds us to keep fresh water available for the birds, then sit back and enjoy from March till October.

Bluebird nest boxes and ready to install kits are available for sale in the Nature Nook at Hagerman NWR. The North American Bluebird Society ( provides detailed information about types of bluebird nest boxes and their placement for maximum success.

The eastern bluebird population hit record low numbers in the 1950s to 1970s, with roughly 90% of the population lost due to habitat destruction. Since the mid-1970s, efforts, including increased use of nest boxes, to restore all three bluebird species, have resulted in an increase in bluebird numbers in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count every year since that time.

“The recovery of the bluebird is a shining example of what can happen when ordinary people work together to save a species.”
Stan Tekiela in “Captivating Bluebirds”

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Water Level on 6/25: 618.40 (+1.40)

Lake Texoma Fishing Report from TPWD (Jun. 20)

Water lightly stained; 83–86 degrees; 1.07’ high. Black bass are good on Texas rigged craws, weightless Senkos and soft plastic jerkbaits. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Striped bass are good on slabs and topwaters. Catfish are good on trotlines.