Bug after bug after bug

IMG_3055 ldBecause the bluebird is beautiful and readily accepts the help of humans, and, because people love to nurture beautiful animals, especially those that are endearing, a strong natural bond is forged between man and the bluebird at the nest box. In many cases, that relationship not only lasts a lifetime but also grows into a greater awareness of the plight of all wild animals and the plant kingdom on which all animals depend.  – Gary Springer, NABS Director, 2005.

All day long the bluebirds catch bugs and carry poop from the box.  I must say these young, first-time parents are taking excellent care of their brood.  Yesterday it was crickets, today it’s crickets and grasshoppers.  Must have been a grasshopper hatch.  Both of these insects are good, big sources of protein for growing baby bluebirds.  A breakfast of mealworms starts the day off right.  Both parents and babies begin the day with a full belly.

The babies are growing fast.  They are probably twice as large as when they hatched, IMG_3061 ldmaybe more.  Their eyes are still closed, but they are sprouting pin feathers and their beaks are much larger.  They are gulping down some serious bugs now.

Daddy II removing a fecal sac.  He just bailed out backwards with this in his beak.  Click to enlarge.

I removed the unhatched egg the other day.  I had to remove one baby from the nest to get to it.  The stimulation of my touching it produced a nice large fecal sac in my palm.  It’s not every day you can get this close to nature.  A backyard necropsy on the egg showed that it was not fertilized.  Just yolk, no sign of an embryo.

These babies grow up so fast.  In just another week I won’t be able to open the box and check on them daily.  It’s not wise to open a box after the babies reach the age of thirteen days.  If one or all spook and jump out, often they won’t remain in the box if you put them back.  Just a few days of maturity means the difference between an early death and survival.  These chicks should fledge around 25 April.

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
  • Removed unhatched egg                  11 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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2 Responses to Bug after bug after bug

  1. Priscilla Macpherson says:

    Beautiful pictures. You’re lucky to have this nestbox in your garden. Here in our London garden we have too many squirrels, cats and foxes…

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