Mama II has been busy recently. Built a nest in short order and laid an egg a day for the next four days. Now comes the boring part of the nesting cycle — incubation. It’s about like watching grass grow, but a necessary step to baby bluebirds.
We had a little problem since I last posted. All the recent rain caused the new nestbox to swell so much, it broke the pins the door swivels on and the door fell off, exposing the nest to an easy attack from a bluejay or sparrow. I cobbled the door back on temporarily and made a quick trip to Lowe’s for a new box. It’s not as expensive as the one it replaces, but these little cedar boxes hold together. I got Carolyn to help me take down the old box and quickly put up the new one and transferred the nest with the eggs in it. The old box is slightly bigger, so I had to peel off a little grass to get the nest in the new box.
I didn’t think Mama would have any hesitation about entering the new box, but I was wrong. We sat out on the patio and it wasn’t long before Mama, Daddy and the four juvies from the last brood showed up. I gave them some worms and we waited for Mama to head for the box, but she just sat on her perch looking at it. She knew something was different. She flew over it, fluttering around and back to the perch. Finally, Daddy landed on it and stuck his head inside. Mama still wouldn’t go. Then Daddy went back again and entered the box. I guess that gave her the confidence she needed. At first she only peered inside and then flew away, but she returned in a few minutes and went inside. Whew!
Mama was in the box early this morning, but didn’t lay an egg, so I’m guessing incubation has begun. Birds have an uncanny ability to know how to regulate the temperature of their eggs. Stay on them all day in cool weather and only early in the morning in hot weather. I normally calculate 13 days for incubation, so that would mean the eggs hatch ~ 02 August. There won’t be a lot going on for the next couple of weeks.
See more bluebird and nature photos on my flickr stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/
Total chicks produced from this nest site beginning in 2009 is 45.
Fourth Brood Summary
- First sign of nest building 12 July
- Nest completed 15 July
- First egg 16 July
- Second egg 17 July
- Third egg 18 July
- Fourth egg 19 July
- Incubation begins 20 Jul