Last peek before fledgling stage

Eleven days and still growing

Eleven days and still growing

This picture was taken on July 1 when the babies were eleven days old. You can see the wing and tail feathers getting longer and very blue. They have wide beaks when they are young to make it easier for the parents to feed them.

(OOOPS! I should have re-read my bluebird book before taking this last peek. I wasn’t supposed to peek after the 13th day. I hope I haven’t messed up here. Fortunately the birds didn’t move around at all when I opened the box. Maybe I didn’t disturb them enough to cause any harm. I re-read the book after writing this post.)

Last peek before fledging

I peeked into the bluebird box one last time today to see if the babies were doing OK. They look healthy. Their eyes were open and they didn’t move. Their feathers are filling out nicely and I could see some bright blue feathers in their wingtips and tails. They are now 16 days old. It would be risky to peek in at them after today because doing so might cause them to fledge before they are ready to survive. I hope to see these babies grow up and fly around for a long time.

Pictures and text copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

4 Responses

  1. Your pictures are amazing. After 25 years of hoping and setting out boxes, we have a pair of bluebirds nesting inside a hollowed out birch trunk. Today see 3-4 babies trying to perch on phone lines. Wish we could have seen inside their nest but it is 30′ up the tree! So exciting to watch them all this time. Robins bothered them at first and was afraid they’d leave, but they stood their “tree”. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for responding to my post. It must be thrilling to watch them after they fledge. I don’t believe my first nest of Bluebirds must have survived fledging because I never did see them again. Also, I don’t believe this nest would have happened so soon if they had survived. I hope these make it and I get to watch them after they fledge.

    I have been fortunate to see many other fledglings around our feeders. We have watched Mockingbirds, Cardinals, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and Downy Woodpeckers feeding their young on our back deck. That has been so much fun to watch.

    Back to the Bluebirds, We have a book that gave us a lot of information about Bluebirds including where the best locations are for seting out birdhouses and how to protect them from preditors. You might want to purchase a copy if you don’t already have one. It is called Enjoying Bluebirds More and it is published by BirdWatcher’s Digest. The price isn’t on the book but it was probably about $3.00 or so. With only 32 pages, it looks like a small magazine.

    Bluebirds need a lot of open space that isn’t too close to trees that might give squirrels a launch pad for getting onto the top of the birdhouse and eating their babies or eggs. One or two of my posts show our birdhouse with it’s baffle below it.

  3. We have baby bluebirds for the first time. When do they leave the nest?

  4. As I understand it, the number of days after the birds hatch before the birds fledge may vary from one nest to another. It is important to try to determine what day the babies hatched and to avoid disturbing the nest after the 13th day. They may fledge anytime between about the 17th through the 21st day. This is still fairly new to me, so my range of days might not be accurate either. I believe I remember reading something about not bothering the nest once the pinfeathers begin to open.

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