Nest building…

IMG_2132 ldFinally we have some serious nest building.  On Saturday, 09 March, Mama II began making regular runs in the rain to the box with a mouth full of grass.  She would fly from the box to the red dirt hill and gather a mouthful of grass and head immediately back to the box. The photo of the nest was taken on 10 March.

Photos by L. Dillon.  Click to enlarge.

A cold front came through yesterday with strong, cold north winds and I didn’t see much activity from the bluebirds other than when they showed up for breakfast.

It usually takes bluebirds about a week to build a nest, but these birds are inexperienced so it could take a little longer.  I noticed that this nest is not as tightly woven and perfectly shaped as those Mama built. The weather is supposed to warm up quickly and I expect the bluebirds will be busy again when the sun comes out.  The female normally lays those pretty little powder blue eggs soon after the nest is completed.  I saw the Daddy II feed his mate a big caterpillar recently.  That is common courtship behavior for bluebirds.

If you put up a bluebird box,  it  should be monitored at least weekly to check on progress and control House Sparrows, blow flies, paper wasps, and to remove  unhatched eggs. Boxes should be cleaned out after nesting. At least annually, you should also replace any split, rotten, or broken pieces on boxes that could let rain in and chill nestlings. Rubbing a bar of soap on the ceiling of a box will discourage wasps from building nests.  This is a good tip if you are attempting to attract bluebirds.  If birds aren’t going in and out routinely, you will find a surprise one day when you open the box.

I still have a half-dozen House Sparrows around and that worries me.  Both bluebirds nestchase them if they come near the box, but the danger is always there that one of the sparrows will destroy the nest or worse… kill Mama II in the box.  I’ve had my sparrow trap out for a week baited with white millet.  I did catch four sparrows- but they were Harris’ Sparrows, which I immediately removed and set free.

I’m optimistic that this nesting will produce babies, so I’m going to start a nest summary like previous years.  Keep your fingers crossed.

First Brood Summary

  • First sign of nest building                09 March
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About lindell dillon

Lindell Dillon is retired and lives in Norman, OK. He grew up in Duncan, attended Cameron College and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. His interests include photography, nature, birding, and investing. Oklahoma Master Naturalist, alumnus Norman Police Department Citizens Academy.
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7 Responses to Nest building…

  1. Kimberly Roulet says:

    Ah… Mama II is so cute with that grass in her mouth. We all start out as inexperienced parents. Fortunately for our offspring, most of us are fast learners!

  2. Velva says:

    I was talking with my neighbors who have a two nesting pairs of bluebirds. One pair has taken up residence in their newspaper opening of their mailbox. The second pair (returning) to the bluebird house in the backyard. My bluebird house now has a pair of chickadees (sigh). I have been using live mealworms to attract the bluebirds-no success.

    I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Velva

    • Velva says:

      The bluebirds have arrived! These last two mornings I have found a pair of bluebirds perched upon the top of the bluebird house. My concern is that I believe, a pair of chickadees have taken up residence. I don’t see any nest building, but a pair has arrived in the yard, and they have taken note of the bluebird box.

      • lindell dillon says:

        If there is no nesting inside the box, I’d expect the bluebirds to prevail in a territorial dispute. Both are good birds to have in the yard, just let nature take its course and enjoy the results.

  3. lindell dillon says:

    Thanks for the comments. That photo of Mama II with the grass made ‘Explore’ on Flickr yesterday. Mama is still busy on the nest, it will be complete soon.

  4. Trevor says:

    I found your blog through a recent photo you posted on Flickr. I look forward to following your Bluebirds this Spring:)

  5. Priscilla Macpherson says:

    Ironically, here in England house sparrows are on the ‘red list’ namely birds with severe population declines over the past 25 years – so people here actually glad to see them! I think the same thing has happened with starlings, which are in decline here but considered a pest in the U.S.

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