Nest completed …

IMG_2327 ld

“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 IMG_2266 ldline 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.

IMG_2303 ldA 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
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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 completed …

  1. I always enjoy your posts, Lindell. Thanks for the update.

  2. lindell dillon says:

    Thanks, Judy. This cold weather may put the egg laying on hold.

  3. pamcolander says:

    So glad I found your wonderful blog! We’re anxiously awaiting the return of our western bluebirds…I’m worse than a cat when it comes to looking out the window for birds! I am a photographer also and your images are stunning!

  4. lindell dillon says:

    Mama laid her first egg this morning. I posted a pic at http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/

  5. pamcolander says:

    We had a pair of Western BB show up on the 19th and they are busy choosing a box 🙂 I would love to feed mealworms but am not sure how to do so and thwart the bears that inhabit our area.

    • lindell dillon says:

      I would wait until the bluebirds are settled on a box and then watch to see what time of day they tend to be there. Place just a few mealworms in sight of the box and they will find them. You want the bluebirds to eat them at one sitting so they won’t be found and consumed by other species. Mealworms don’t have much scent, so I don’t think bears would come in from a distance trying to locate them. But then there isn’t much a bear won’t eat.

      • pamcolander says:

        Exactly…I had to find out the hard way to place my boxes in a way that the bears didn’t rip them down. Had several heart-breaking episodes. The bears see the boxes mounted on poles or trees and think they are bird feeders. Thanks Lindell, I’ll take your suggestion and see where they decide to nest and go from there. They historically take forever to pick a box!

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