I returned a few days later with a pocket tool in hand, so I could add a natural perch to the nest box pole. Swallows and Bluebirds frequently perch above the nest box that they are defending from interlopers. The first Tree Swallow to approach immediately chose the dead stick over a plastic pipe. I positioned the camera so that the background was very distant and entirely featureless. Isn't that a lot more pleasing to view?
There was also a tangle of briars that had been brush hogged in the fall. Some of the briars had remained. Noting that the Bluebirds were hunting from a perch on a briar stem, I jammed another dead stick into the pile to add another option for the birds. That, too, brought immediate results.
It only took me fifteen minutes to find some nice branches and stick them into place. The results were pretty immediate.