Mama wasted no time starting a second brood. She quickly constructed a new nest after her first brood fledged. I always remove a nest when babies fledge and wash out the nestbox. As soon as the nest was completed, she began laying and produced an egg a day for five consecutive days.
More sparrows showed up in the yard and are a constant threat to eggs, babies and even Mama II and Daddy II. This male bluebird is not nearly as aggressive in chasing away sparrows as our original Daddy, but seems to be getting a little more so as he matures. So I opened the House Sparrow Hotel for a few days and set the table with fine white millet. It took a couple of days, but five guests checked in and are no longer a threat to the bluebirds. Sparrow control is not enjoyable, but a must if you host bluebirds. If allowed to go unchecked, sooner or later, they will kill your bluebirds.
The weather has been mild and rainy with thunderstorms and a tornado watch for this weekend. Hopefully the box won’t get blown down. Bluebirds prefer an east entrance, but I can swivel my pole to keep rain out of the box if it doesn’t come from the prevalent southwest direction. In general, the weather
One of the first brood juveniles on a visit to the yard.
is favorable for the second clutch to hatch. Extreme heat produces more failures to hatch and chick mortality than cool weather.
Since bluebird eggs hatch in 12-14 days after incubation begins, these eggs should hatch ~30 May.
I watched one of the first brood juvies fly into the back yard today while Mama was perched. She spied a big green caterpillar, flew down, grabbed it and returned to her perch. The juvie flew to her begging to be fed and she simply pecked him and flew into the nestbox with her meal. I think the first brood’s plate has been broken.
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2013 Second Brood Summary:
- First sign of nest building 05 May
- Nest completed 10 May
- First egg 12 May
- Second egg 13 May
- Third egg 14 May
- Fourth egg 15 May
- Fifth egg 16 May
- Incubation begins 17 May