Mama Too has presented us with three blue eggs. She hasn’t laid an egg in a couple of days, so I’m not sure if this is the entire clutch or not. Normally the first clutch of the year is larger, but this is a young bird, so who knows? She’s not incubating, indicating she thinks more eggs are forthcoming. Birds don’t incubate until all eggs are laid so they hatch at the same time. Incubation time for Eastern Bluebirds is 12-14 days. It shouldn’t be long before we have baby bluebirds.
In my last post I talked about attracting bluebirds with a nestbox and I omitted a very important tip. If there is one critter that likes these boxes more than birds, it’s wasps. They always attach their nest to the ceiling, so don’t forget to take a bar of soap and give the ceiling of the box a good rubbing. This discourages the wasps from nest building.
Yesterday afternoon was hot and Mama T. was showing signs of the stresses of raising babies. Her feathers are getting worn from constantly going in and out of the box to check on the eggs and she was hot. The photo shows her mouth open and she appears to be panting. Biologists refer to this panting as ‘gular flutter’. Gular fluttering is the pulsation of the upper esophagus in response to heat-stress. It requires little energy and dissipates body heat. Lots of birds use this technique to thermo-regulate. If it makes you feel better, the bluebirds have water in the shade just a few feet from their box. I’ll report again when more eggs appear or Mama T. starts incubating.
- Nest completed by previous female
- First egg laid 28 May
- Second egg 29 May
- Third egg 31 May