Nature is full of surprises. This morning I posted about the lack of nesting activity and then left for the afternoon. The weather is cold and windy. I was sure I hadn’t missed anything. But when I went outside to throw out some scratch for the ground-feeding birds, I decided to check the nest box anyway. Inside was an almost-completed nest! There is a deep cup and an intricately woven nest of mostly Little Blue-stem from the field behind the house. Bluebirds use almost exclusively grass for nesting. If a nest contains other materials, it’s most likely not a bluebird nest. Last year Mama found a piece of blue ribbon and wove it into the nest. Must have been the affinity they have with the color blue.
Bluebirds are ‘socially monogamous’. But if a mate is lost, they will readily accept another. Mama and Daddy are inseparable. I never see one without the other being nearby. They seem to divide their domestic duties with Mama doing most of the nest building and setting the eggs. But when they hatch and there are babies to be fed, Daddy is the best hunter and brings in the most bugs. His eyesight is incredible. He can spot a bug from across the yard.
Cavity-dwelling birds have developed a technique to prevent fouling their nests. The babies’ poop is encased in a thick gelatinous fecal sac and is removed by the parents. Daddy does his share of ‘poop patrol’. It is dropped some distance from the nest so predators aren’t attracted. Maybe we can get some pics when the babies hatch.
The pace is picking up on the 2011 nesting season!