Summer doldrums …

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“All bluebirders must feel like “one of the chosen ones” when we are fortunate enough to have nesting bluebirds on our own property…. “- Lillian Lund, Sialia, 1984

Still not a lot going on around the house with the bluebirds.  They continue to show up every morning and take mouthfuls of

Click photos to enlarge.

mealworms to the babies that fledged.  One day they flew a quarter-mile north across the bare hill to some tall trees with the worms.  Only time I’ve seen young birds anywhere except in the big pecan trees down on Turtle Creek. Check out the photo of Daddy II with a huge mouthful of worms.  I count 8.

I first observed the adults ferrying worms to the babies on 29 June, so I’m somewhat surprised some of the juveniles haven’t followed the parents to the yard in the mornings.  Maybe we will get a glimpse of them soon.  A bluebird can fend for itself when its about 30-days old, so the parents won’t be feeding them much longer.   I suspect they will think about attempting another nesting soon.  Hopefully in the back yard this time, although they haven’t shown much curiosity about the new nestbox.

Another nesting during the dog days of summer will be tough on the adults and babies.  We lost a brood to heat last summer during a string of 100+ degree days. Nestboxes in the sun can reach temperatures 20 degrees hotter than the air temperature, even more if they aren’t ventilated or are painted a dark color.  Make sure nestboxes have ventilation holes and place them in the shade if possible.  Mine is mounted on a piece of electrical conduit that slides over a piece of re-bar driven into the ground.  I can easily move the box as the sun travels back south to keep the box in the shade of a small live oak in the hottest part of the day.

The bluebirds have some new neighbors, a pair of Eastern Phoebes and a juvenile are in IMG_6311 copyand out the the yard daily now.  The one in the photo is just using the box for a bugging perch, they have no interest in it as a nest site.

Stay tuned, we’ll report any nesting activity.  I don’t think it will be long, I just hope it will be here.

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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.
This entry was posted in Birding, Bluebirds, Nature, Oklahoma and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Summer doldrums …

  1. Jo Ann, Illinois says:

    Hoping your bluebirds will nest again.I (personally) know how devastating that can be to lose them.
    On a happier note, for the first time, I have a second brood of bluebirds that have hatched recently. The original house (Kingman) got infested with ants. I removed the nest. (They were fledged already.) I used Terro Ant killer on Q-tips below both my bird houses. Worked like a charm!
    However, my bluebirds took over the tree swallow nest in the other house. Checked this morning and the babies are newly hatched.
    This is my first success!

  2. pamcolander says:

    Our Western BBs fledged three days ago successfully. I have my doubts they will re-nest since they never have in previous years, but who knows. They never accepted the mealworms offered. Stood right next to the feeder and ignored it.

  3. Love your website Lindell and all your wonderful insight! I have a camera inside my BB box with a audio/video receiver that streams onto our television. We’ve had two successful broods of 4 this summer. Female built her nest on 7/2 for the third clutch but I have not seen her since 7/3. Very unusual as she usually begins to lay eggs in the next day or so. Dad has been here franticly gathering mouth fulls of mealworms and I’ve a visual sighting of two fledglings… but no mom. I fear she is gone or she would be helping feed especially with live mealworms at hand. 54 fledglings from this box over 8 years.

  4. Carolynn says:

    Love, love, love your posts! In the spring we had a successful hatch, a lovely nest with 5 fledglings…parents fed them, we listened to them, peaked in on them twice, all was going well, went on a weekend vacation, checked on the nest when home…not a peep from inside. So my husband opened the nest box…to find all perfect babies dead in the nest. The parents were nearby in the cherry tree, the babies had not been attacked, there were no ants or maggots, but all were dead. The nest box is shaded and ventilated, not at all sure what happened. We were so upset. So nest was gently removed and buried, box was scrubbed cleaned and ventilated, closed…and they started a new nest that night!! We are proud to say that 4 babies flew the coop this weekend!! Any ideas what might have happened to our first nest?? Maybe pesticides??

    • lindell dillon says:

      Heat would be my first suspicion, but if the box is in the shade, shouldn’t be a problem. Pesticides are a possibility. I don’t use any around here. Usually just mix some soapy water and spray aphids etc. The soap covers the spiracles they breathe through, no harm to toads, birds, etc if they eat a dead or dying insect.

      • Carolynn says:

        I don’t use pesticides either, but neighbors do…maybe it got hot that weekend, not sure. Just so glad this batch made it and are happily flying around!!

  5. lindell dillon says:

    Saw the first juvie bluebird from the last nesting. One followed Daddy II to the mealworm feeder. Wouldn’t come in, just sat in one of the new oak trees I planted out back. Later I saw two fly over with the adults.

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