We have babies …

IMG_2883 ldOn April 8, 2013, life changed for the pair of young Eastern Bluebirds that I host.  On this date they became parents.  If there is a life-changing event in human or bluebird life, it’s parenthood.  The carefree lives these two young birds have enjoyed since they fledged last summer are over.

Carolyn and I took a short trip to Texas and returned late afternoon yesterday.  After IMG_2686 ldunloading, I went out to check the bluebird box.  I really wasn’t surprised to find four little fuzzy, shrimp-like birds.

Young bluebird mother, Mama II. Click to enlarge.

They are featherless with their huge eyes sealed tightly.  A couple of cheeps got one to wobbily raise its head and open wide,  expecting a bug.  I always feel a little guilty about tricking a little bitty baby bird, but I always do it.  Makes for a much better photo.

One blue egg remains underneath this pile of baby bluebirds, so their body heat will continue to incubate it.  It could still hatch.  I’ll leave it in the nest for about three days and remove it if it remains unhatched.  Mama II and Daddy II are already busy catching teeny bugs and bringing them to the babies.  The bluebirds inherently know to match the size of bugs to the size of their babies.

For the next month the bluebirds’ lives will consist of constantly catching bugs and carrying poop from the nest.  Bugs in and bugs out. The poop of cavity nesting birds is encased in a thick gelatinous membrane called a fecal sac to prevent nest fouling.  My observations show that normally the chicks poop when being fed.  You’ll see a parent come in with a bug and leave with a fecal sac.

Bluebird babies aren’t babies long.  These teeny birds will fledge in about 17-18 days and by the time they are a month old, will be feeding themselves.  The parents will take a week or two off and begin the nesting cycle again.  Such is the life of a bluebird.  I feel privileged to be a part of the day to day lives of our backyard bluebirds.

See my nature pics at 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
  • Incubation begins                              25 March
  • Four eggs hatch                                  08 April

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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5 Responses to We have babies …

  1. jazzytower says:

    They are so cute and weird looking at the same time.

  2. Juliana Michael says:

    Very cool!

    Juliana Baum-Michael Metro Brokers of Oklahoma mobile:405-409-3610 fax: 405-701-1716 julianammichael@gmail.com

    • lindell dillon says:

      You’ll have to come over and see them. Poor babies are freezing this morning. A big winter storm is howling across the plains. Thunder, lightning, hail, wintery mix and temps around freezing. Not good weather for naked little birds.

  3. Velva says:

    Yea! You have babies. You are right the weather in the mid-west is not good for baby birds. Keep a good eye on them and let us know the progress.

  4. lindell dillon says:

    The babies survived the cold weather fine. I checked the egg that was underneath them yesterday and the little pile of babies felt very warm. If the egg hasn’t hatched today, I’ll remove it. See some recent bluebird pics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/

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