Bluebirds have fledged!

I just knew I had missed it. Dave and I left on Saturday morning to drive to Charlotte knowing we wouldn’t be back until Sunday afternoon. Four baby bluebirds were in the nest box and could fledge any time. What joy when I came home and discovered that the adult birds were still bringing food to the nest box.

In the heat of the afternoon, it must have been close to 100 degrees, the bluebird adults were drinking from the birdbath. I noticed other birds coming too, so I decided to add a little more fresh water. I think I scared them off doing it. I glanced out the window after adding the water, and I caught the tail end of a dog leaving the yard, which gave me the sinking feeling he might have caught a fledgling on the ground. I eventually dismissed this notion as the dog probably just happened by at the time. There were no feathers on the ground.

I didn’t see the adult birds come to the box over a long period of time, so I peeked inside the box and sure enough there was at least one bird still in there. I quickly closed it not trying to see how many were in the nest.

Then I parked myself in the recliner (elevating my sprained right ankle that had been neglected over the past 24 hours) and waited. After some waiting I saw Papa come to the box and then fly to the arbor. Then suddenly a bird popped out of the box and flew to the top bar of the arbor. It looked a little plump and ragged compared to Papa who flew up to it. I watched it a long time wishing I had picked up my binoculars before sitting in the recliner, but not daring to move now. Then it flew toward the roof and I didn’t see it any more. I continued to watch the birdhouse until it got too dark to see. I saw one of the adults fly to the roof so I suspect it was feeding and/or encouraging the fledgling.

That’s all I got to see. This morning I watched from the recliner again, but there was no bluebird activity. Eventually I peeked into the box again and found that the nest was empty, so I removed the nest and brushed out the loose nest material.

I have noticed what appears to be a tree swallow  hanging around the yard watching what is going on. I suspect it is interested in using the bluebird box. Thankfully there are two boxes available, one in our yard and one across the street, so we should be able to accommodate both.

I wish I could be privy to watching the adult birds feeding their babies while they learn to find their own food. But apparently the neighbor’s yards are better suited for that. I have yet to be able to observe this. I’m going to have to hang a bluebird feeder with some meal worms under the arbor before they nest again.

Watching for four bluebirds to fledge

I have a birdhouse with four baby birds in it that could fledge any day now, possibly even today. Unfortunately, I have yet to see any of my baby birds fledge. This is the 4th or 5th nest since I put the bluebird boxes up. I hope this time will be different – plan to watch closely. Read earlier posts to learn more about my bluebird houses and nests.

Bird watching so far this summer

I have been enjoying using Nestwatch for some time. Their website offers a lot of information and support for anyone who wants to observe birds that are nesting.

I’ve been trying to monitor the Eastern Bluebird nests this summer and keep running into dead ends. The first nest was abandoned with six eggs. After I had waited long enough to know that they would never hatch, I removed nest and eggs together and put them into a shoebox trimmed to fit, then I covered the front with cellophane. As long as the eggs don’t explode, I have a nice display to share with friends.

Meanwhile a nest appeared in the birdhouse across the road. There were five eggs, at least four hatched (it’s hard to count them crowed in that nest), then one day we found a few feathers on the ground. It was time for them to fledge and there were no sounds coming from inside the box so we opened it. There was one dead bird still in the nest that might have been killed by a crow according to my limited research. I cleaned out the nest as there were also a few beetles in it.

Within a few days a new nest appeared in the first birdhouse in my own yard. When I checked the nest this afternoon there were four eggs in the box. I hope this nest will be successful and I will get to watch the parent bluebirds feeding their baby birds around the yard.

I also believe I have a nest of Brown Thrashers in my yard. I found a nest in some tall red-tips bushes, but the nest is too high for me to peek into it and count eggs. I can barely reach it. I may return with a mirror to try and see inside the nest. When I was close to the bushes both thrashers were clucking up a storm as they scolded me.

I do love watching the birds!

Baby Chickadees

I discovered a pair of chickadees are nesting in a birdhouse that stayed vacant all last year (except that a paper wasp nest was hanging inside). At first when I saw them going in and out a time or two I thought they might be nesting, but yesterday when I tried to see in the hole in front of the box I noticed the wasp nest and assumed they wouldn’t be nesting in the box like that. Fortunately, the wasp nest was empty so I took the nest box down and removed it. Then I discovered that the chickadees had indeed nested inside. There was a nest with five babies in it. They had probably hatched a day or two earlier.

Bluebird nest catchup time

Feed me!The second baby bluebird hatched on June 22 which is unusual. Normally bluebirds don’t start incubating the eggs until all are laid so the babies will all hatch on the same day. Since South Carolina had some extremely hot weather about the time the Mama bird was laying eggs, I suspect incubation began immediately without the parent birds sitting on the nest. That would cause the eggs to hatch one a day because they are laid one a day. This picture was taken on June 24th

I’m glad to see that these babies are both alive and growing. They usually lay so still when I peek in on them that I’ve often wondered if they were alive.Sound asleep

The second picture shows the same babies photographed on June 27th. They were sleeping so soundly that I moved each just a little with my finger to see if they were alive, and I still wasn’t sure. But I could see one of them breathing so decided they were OK. They must sleep through the heat of the day. This has been one hot summer! I wish I could think of a good way to put some shade or A/C on the birdhouse.

Pictures and text copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Bluebirds are hatching

1st baby Bluebird hatchedThe baby bluebirds are hatching today. This is the first one. I want to go out and peek again, but I don’t want to risk causing problems. I know I’m missing a lot of chances to get some good pictures. This baby held its head up with its beak open but I wasn’t fast enough to get the picture that way. I’ll probably go back out a little later today and take a chance on it. It is so warm out that there is no risk of chilling the nest.

My curiosity finally got the best of me and I went back for more pictures. But the nest still looked the same. If anything, the baby doesn’t look very healthy. It is pretty hot out. I wish I could come up with a good way to shade the nest.

Pictures and text copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

My babies have fledged

I missed it. By the time I got home from work yesterday my baby Bluebirds had fledged from the nest. Their house was empty except for the nest and fecal matter, so I removed the nest and will do the clean-up later. I was watching the weather yesterday with tornado watches out.

I’ve seen Mama and Papa around, and am watching for the babies. My eyes are leaving me a bit handicapped, but I hope to see them around soon.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green