We returned home from a memorable trip to the Smoky Mountains with great anticipation of finding Mama incubating eggs. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Again, as soon as I unloaded the car I went out to check on the nest box. I expected to see a small clutch of eggs when I opened the box, but the nest is empty. It is totally intact and not a particle of eggshell is inside.
Mama building a nest last year.
That was yesterday, and I didn’t see Mama all day although Daddy greeted me when I went outside. In fact, from the droppings on the patio furniture, it looks like he made himself at home while we were gone. I continued to look for Mama with no results. Once I played a bluebird call on my phone to see if she might come in. Daddy went completely nuts, I’ve never seen him so animated and vocal. It was obvious he thought he heard Mama and was trying call to her. That’s when a little fear crept into my mind.
It’s noon the following day and Daddy has been in the backyard on and off all morning, but no sign of Mama. I’ve mentioned that I thought Mama was an old bird and I’m afraid she is gone. The nest box doesn’t show any sign of sparrows or a snake getting inside. So that’s where we are. Not much of a bluebird story this spring. Hope remains that Mama might show up, but it’s probably a false hope. Mama and Daddy are usually inseparable.
Bluebird life will go on without Mama. If she’s gone, Daddy will likely find a new mate. He would make a good catch for a young unattached female. He owns his own home, has mealworms served to him every morning and help with defending against marauding predators. He’s still very territorial of the back yard even though there is no eggs nor babies. Three sparrows have been trying to feed at one of the feeders and Daddy runs them off as soon as they land.
I’ll continue to report on the bluebird saga taking place in my back yard. A lot of folks are attached to this pair of bluebirds and will be upset to hear the news about Mama.
When my son goes fishing, I always tell him that I want pictures- not lies- when he returns. So here’s my bear confirmation pic from Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. First day bear hunting we saw eight, second day ten, and the last day six. Never seen so many bears. Keep in mind seeing a bear and getting close enough for a good pic are two different things. I have a Smoky Mountains set on my flickr account at http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/sets/72157629747763624/
Click photos to enlarge.