Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Second Eastern Bluebird Brood

In spite of having heat indexes of 100+ degrees day after day, all five eggs have hatched. The Styrofoam added to the nestbox roof must have helped keep the eggs from baking. 

The fifth chick to hatch looks much smaller than his or her siblings. I have named this wee one Tiny. 

Tiny is positioned at 8:00 in this photo. Can you see the difference in size? Apparently Tiny hatched 48 hours after the others. According to The Bluebird Monitor's Guide (by Cynthia Berger,Keith Kridler,and Jeff Griggs) "Having chicks hatched 48 hours apart will make it difficult for the parents to properly feed, brood, and fledge them.  Let's hope Tiny will make it!

Tiny is now the only one fooled by my whistles to get the chicks to gape for the camera. The others just hunker down knowing I don't have any food. 

When checking the nest I look for ants and/or blowfly lave. They are just two possible problems that could harm or kill the nestlings. None where found this morning. 

Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed watching Mama and Papa with their beaks of food for the little ones. They are one hard working pair and work as a team!

My main concern now is that a snake will not be stopped by the baffle and reach the nestbox. As the nestlings grow they produce a stronger scent that snakes (raccoons and cats) can smell. Wish I could  take off from work and guard the nestbox until they fledge....but I don't think my boss would understand. 

At All About Birds/Eastern Bluebird I found these cool facts:

  • The male Eastern Bluebird displays at his nest cavity to attract a female. He brings nest material to the hole, goes in and out, and waves his wings while perched above it. That is pretty much his contribution to nest building; only the female Eastern Bluebird builds the nest and incubates the eggs.
  • Eastern Bluebirds typically have more than one successful brood per year. Young produced in early nests usually leave their parents in summer, but young from later nests frequently stay with their parents over the winter.
  • Eastern Bluebirds occur across eastern North America and south as far as Nicaragua. Birds that live farther north and in the west of the range tend to lay more eggs than eastern and southern birds.
  • Eastern Bluebirds eat mostly insects, wild fruit and berries. Occasionally, Eastern Bluebirds have also been observed capturing and eating larger prey items such as shrews, salamanders, snakes, lizards and tree frogs.
  • The oldest recorded Eastern Bluebird was 10 years 5 months old.
Wishing Peace, Health, Wealth, Love, and Bluebirds of Happiness to ALL!



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