Click to enlarge photos.
One month ago today the bluebirds’ second clutch of eggs was destroyed by a male House Sparrow. Since that time they have been irregular visitors to the mealworm feeder. Previously they arrived right around 8:00 a.m. for their breakfast. If they had eggs or babies in the box, they were in and out all day. The photo is Mama II yesterday with a beak full of worms. I’ve never seen them gather up worms before unless they were feeding babies. Normally, they just sit on the feeder and eat one worm at a time.
My first thought was that perhaps our backyard bluebirds have nested elsewhere and already hatched babies. But, after checking the date the eggs were destroyed, I don’t believe that is possible. It would take Mama about a week to build a nest, a week to lay a clutch and two weeks to hatch. Since it’s only 30 days today from the egg massacre, just not possible. I think. So far the birds are showing almost no interest in the new Gilbertson house.
I continue to trap sparrows. I don’t keep the trap out all the time, but opened up the House Sparrow Hotel three days ago and check-ins include 7 sparrows and 2 cowbirds. Not a pleasant aspect of hosting bluebirds, but just one of those things that a successful bluebird host has to do.
We haven’t had a lot of birds in the yard recently, but the butterfly bushes and the Desert Willow are blooming. Lots of butterflies and bumblebees on them. The bumblebees won’t bother you while on a food source, so I pay them no mind mowing or working in the yard. Should you stumble upon their nest somewhere up on the reddirt hill, that would be another matter.
I’m not sure where this bluebird saga is going. Hopefully to another successful nesting this season. I guess I’m an optimist, ordered a Sparrow Spooker that I will place on the box if laying begins.
You can keep up with my nature photography on my flickr stream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/
I’m doing photography at a local rehabber, WildCareOklahoma, and posting to their facebook. If you are on fb, ‘like’ WildCareOklahoma to keep up with new arrivals and current events.