“The Bluebird carries the sky on his back.” Henry David Thoreau
To say there is a lot of bluebird courtship on the red dirt hill the past few days is an understatement. It’s fun to watch these young birds as they morph into parents.
Daddy feeds Mama a grasshopper. Click photos to enlarge.
They may not have any experience, but Nature has certainly given them parental instincts.
Mama II had no one to show her how to build that deep-cupped nest of prairie grass and line it with softer material and a few feathers, but she got the job done. Mama has done all the nest building under her mate’s watchful eye. Bluebirds may vary their nest material a bit depending on their location, but they all have the deep cup shape. Anything else in your box is not a bluebird nest. Mama finished her nest on 15 March. She is in the box for an extended time this morning which means she is in the egg laying mode. Most bluebird eggs are laid in the first two hours of daylight.
Daddy II has been feeding Mama a lot of bugs. This is typical bluebird courtship. My old pair always did this prior to egg laying. Mama has been catching quite a few spiders and bringing them to the empty box. She will sit on top for awhile holding them and then take them inside where she eats them. I’m always amazed at how the bluebirds match the size of the bugs they catch to the size of their babies. Newly hatched chicks get teeny bugs and they get progressively larger meals as they grow.
The lone mockingbird that winters in the yard has picked up a mate and I think they will nest near or in my honeysuckle trellis where the HOSP’s hang out. This is good because the mockers will not tolerate any bird near their nest. We had a mockingbird/bluebird alliance last year in the sparrow war.
A pair of Eastern Phoebes has also been spending some time in the backyard. The number of juncos and goldfinches is diminishing as spring approaches, but I still have some House Finches. A pair has an almost-completed nest in a Blue Point Juniper in the front yard. And we always have several doves on broadcast grain. All these species get along and are not a threat to the bluebirds.
I expect we’ll soon have a pretty blue egg in Mama II’s nest.
See more bluebird and nature photos on my flickr stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/
First Brood Summary
- First sign of nest building 09 March
- Nest completed 15 March