I have had the opportunity to watch a pair of Eastern Bluebirds arrive in early Spring, select a nest box that we offered, build a nest, incubate and then feed their chicks. In fact, I have documented much of that activity in early blog posts. But, while I have been privy to that lovely experience for three years since we moved into our new home and put up the boxes, I have never observed the chicks fledging – taking their first awkward flight.
This year, again I missed such an event with a pair of Tree Swallows that set up residence in a box in the front yard, laid four eggs, fed their young then – dang if bad weather didn’t keep me indoors for a few day – I simply missed the event.
So, while observing the Bluebirds taking larger and larger insects and worms to their chicks, I had a wild idea! For less than fifty dollars I ordered a trail cam. I programmed it for still shots and video, and Robert slogged out and stuck it on a pole near the Bluebird’s box. “Don’t disturb them!” I prodded. “Don’t stay out there too long! Did you hear the chicks inside?” The poor guy couldn’t get the job done efficiently with all my instructions I hollered from the porch.
We left the camera out for a few hours and Robert traveled out in the dark to retrieve the SD card that hopefully contained dozens of great shots. After reviewing them, I figured out that I can simply delete the option of the still shots. They aren’t great quality (even set at 20MB size files), and I would rather use the trail cam for something I can’t catch on my standard camera. So, this afternoon I set the video length to 25 seconds, and Robert put it back out. Hopefully, tomorrow, the sun will shine and we’ll get better quality images.
Here is a compilation of several five-second video segments. Of note – I quickly learned that the sounds in background can be as interesting as the images. For example, the song of resident Northern Bobwhite – a bird I often hear, but rarely get to see and whose voice I have never been able to capture – can be heard in one of the segments. There are other bird vocalizations in the background, as well, most of which I am not experienced enough to recognize. So, if you are a birder and recognize any of the birds in the background, shoot me a note. I would appreciate it.