The bluebird, instantly winsome to young and old alike and to people of modern and traditional sensibilities alike, is American idealism personified – a flying piece of sky, a living poem, a crystal note, an emblem of nature’s moral conscience.
– Stanwyn G Shetler, forward to Larry Zeleny’s The Bluebird, How you can Help Its Fight for Survival, 1975.
Mama II didn’t disappoint us yesterday. She laid her fifth pretty little powder blue egg. Any bets on today? I’ve never had a bluebird lay more than five eggs, but who knows? The weather is till cloudy and cool with a few snowflakes predicted for tonight. I hope the eggs don’t get chilled. One thing hosting bluebirds teaches you is just how difficult it is for bluebirds to get off a hatch and fledge baby birds. They must deal with the weather, nest-marauding sparrows, predators like snakes and racoons, and hawks that prey on the adults. But, their nesting strategy of attempting multiple broods each season seems to work and assure that the species persists.
I seem to get a lot of questions on feeding mealworms. If you don’t already have bluebirds, putting out mealworms isn’t likely to attract them. But, if you do have bluebirds, mealworms will clinch the deal to keep them visiting your property. I generally only feed 6 mealworms per day, per bird. Most of the time at least, if it’s zero on a winter morning and the ground is covered with snow, I may dump out more for the adult birds and if they visit in the afternoon, they might get a second meal. I generally don’t put out the worms until the birds show up, so they get consumed by the targeted species.
Sialis.org reports in Central Ohio, a trail monitor reported finding 43 dead EABL in his boxes at his first box check. On suburban trails, there were no dead EABL found. They are finding EABL to be frequent visitors to feeding stations in the suburbs in central Ohio and believe that the human handouts (mealworms and suet) saved lives that winter.
I’ve tried raising mealworms and for me, it’s just more trouble than it’s worth for the amount I feed. I buy mine at Petco, about $7 for 500 medium sized worms. One thing for sure, once your bluebirds figure out you are the source of the mealworms, it bonds them to you.
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
- First egg laid 18 March
- Second egg laid 19 March
- Third egg laid 20 March
- Fourth egg laid 21 March
- Fifth egg laid 22 March