I suppose that title is a bit redundant. But, then, it represents the topic of this post perfectly.
Since I last updated the Nest Box status, when I was confident about three pairs of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in our boxes, I’ve discovered that I can add two more couples to that list. I post the updates in order of how far along they are at seeing their chicks fledge.
The Header photo is the pair in Box #15.
This pair (I’m fairly certain it’s the same two birds) fledged their chicks earlier this Spring and began anew in the same box. The last time I opened the box, there were six absolutely lovely, blue eggs. Since that time, they have hatched and their parents are busy feeding them. I can’t say if all six eggs made it to hatching, but there could be a substantial workload for this pair. Most of these photos are from 6/21/21. There was a strong wind. To enter the box, the birds had to fly out to the right (south of the box), then negotiate (sometimes over shooting it and turning back into the wind) to grab onto the front of the box.
This series of photos is the perfect example of What Goes In Must Come Out.
What you don’t see happen before the photos is that the male landed on the fence wire near the nest box. The female then flew to the top of the box. The male flew over and grabbed onto the opening (before the male exited.) The male pushed past his mate, exiting with a “poop sack” in his beak. As he flew off, the mother entered with her food offering. If you’re going to put food in a chick’s mouth you have to take care of what comes out the other end!
This box was used by Tree Swallows earlier this Spring. When they fledged their chicks, this Bluebird couple moved in. On 6/21/21, the day I shot the first photos, I thought their eggs are very close to hatching – because I hadn’t seen the parents arriving with food. You’ll see that the female has what I first thought was blood around her beak. But, I have seen the same thing on other Bluebirds as well as a Brown Thrasher. I am fairly certain they are eating a red/purple fruit that is growing wild. The wild raspberries and blackberries around our property aren’t ripe yet, but I think they have found another source of juicy fruit.
The last images are from 6/23/21. The male has food in his beak and takes it into the box. So, I am fairly certain their chicks have now hatched!
This box is about 30 feet off our front porch to the northwest of our house. The opening faces east and I tend to go out in the afternoon after I get other work done, so I don’t get great photos of these birds. I filmed their eggs, but haven’t opened the box since. I think they are still incubating as I haven’t seen them taking food into the box, yet. Photos 6/22/21
You can read more about this specific female Bluebird, I refer to as “Raggedy Ann.” Since that post, I have tried to check in on her as often as possible. As of 6/21/21, she appears to be doing well and looks to be incubating eggs.
In the Nest Box update earlier this month, I mention that I had seen a female Bluebird atop of this box back in April. Then, just after I posted the update, I saw a male and female perched on either side of the box, and the following day I watched the male enter and the female observe. However, the next day I observed a House Wren began taking twigs into the box, and I figured the Bluebirds had decided against defending the box, or the Wren did a better job of chasing them off. Since then, I have seen the Bluebirds return and they are quite active. The male has entered the box, the female has entered the box and I watched the male chase off a House Sparrow that landed near the box. Their continued activity makes me feel confident that they have committed to the box. Now, I hope they can fend off the possible threats of their ultimate success. The first two Bluebird photos are from 6/16/21. The photo of the House Wren is from 6/17/21. I saw the Bluebirds on 6/18 – 6/22/21. The final photos of the Bluebirds are from 6/22/21.
Oh, and although it appears that there’s a wild fire raging in the background of the final photos, that’s just my husband’s tractor!
That’s five pair of Bluebirds in nest boxes around our property! That makes me smile!