The first day of summer finds two bluebird babies growing at warp speed. Baby birds aren’t babies very long. Mama T. and Daddy are bringing a constant stream of small insects to the box and are on poop patrol. Bugs in, poop out. The poop of young cavity-nesting birds is encased in a thick gelatinous membrane called a fecal sac to keep from fouling the nest. The parents remove it and drop it some distance from the box so predators aren’t alerted to the nest.
Photo shows the eyes starting to open and blue pinfeathers coming in on the wings.
The unhatched egg was removed since it was so far overdue. I carefully cracked it and although there was a yolk, there was no embryo. Appeared to be unfertilized. So it looks like we’ll have a small first brood, but at least it’s a brood.
Daddy on poop patrol. Click to enlarge.
In the summer bluebirds eat mostly insects and mine manage to snag a few bugs most of the winter. But in cold weather when insects are scarce, they mainly resort to eating berries. Planting preferred food around your property can help bluebirds survive the winter. Native plantings are always best because they provide food and habitat for many other species as well. Flowering dogwood, Foster holly, eastern red cedar, and American Elderberry are considered the best food sources for Eastern Bluebirds. Bluebirds have been confirmed to eat and prefer the fruit from these plants. Eastern red cedar is an invasive species on the prairie and a fire hazard, so I wouldn’t recommend that in Oklahoma. Most likely some are around anyway. I have observed both bluebirds and House Finches eating the berries on our Bluepoint Junipers. If you don’t have a winter food source near your box, you might consider planting some to keep the birds in the area.
- 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
- Unhatched egg removed 18 June