Sometimes I like to be proven wrong– not often– OK rarely. My pessimism in Mama Too’s brooding abilities seems to have been unjustified. I pretty much had it in my mind that these eggs were not going to hatch and I would have to remove them and the nest and just move on to round two. Not
Click photos to enlarge.
the case. I knocked gently on the box yesterday afternoon to make sure Mama T. wasn’t inside and was shocked to find a baby when I opened the door. His head fuzz was dried out and all the eggshell was gone, so he had probably been hatched for a few hours. Female bluebirds eat the eggshells to recover the calcium their bodies deposited in them.
This morning a second egg has hatched. Today is the fifteenth day after the completed clutch. Now I’m optimistic that the third egg will hatch. Daddy has been busy this morning bringing teeny bugs to the newly-hatched chicks. Even when mealworms are available, he knows they are too big for new babies and opts to bug the field behind the house for small bugs. The more bluebirds on this red dirt hill, the better life is and life is good this morning.
I’ve previously mentioned the necessity to control House Sparrows if you host bluebirds. Over the winter I only had a couple of them visiting my feeders, but in the last few days about a dozen have become regulars. New babies in the box demand a little pre-emptive action. I opened up the House Sparrow Hotel ( sparrow trap from sparrowtrap.net) and within a few hours 10 guests had checked in. This is not an enjoyable aspect of hosting bluebirds, but a necessary one. HOSP’s are notorious murderers of bluebird babies and adults if they catch them in the box. They will move right in and build a nest on top of the bluebirds’ corpses. If I allowed a dozen sparrows in the back yard, I doubt these babies would survive, so one does what one has to do.
- Nest completed by previous female
- First egg laid 28 May
- Second egg 29 May
- Third egg 31 May
- First chick hatches 13 June
- Second chick hatches 14 June