As soon as we returned from our trip to High Island, TX and I got the car unloaded, I went out to check the nestbox. It contained four perfect little blue eggs! Four is a good brood number. Five babies crowd the nest and makes the parents work harder to
Click photos to enlarge.
feed them. Hopefully they will all hatch and the babies fledge, but nothing is ever for certain. You can see some pics of our High Island trip at https://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/sets/72157643287582273/
Since Mama laid her first egg on 27 March, and assuming she laid one a day consecutively, that would mean the last egg was laid on 30 March and incubation would have began on 01 April. Most of our clutches have hatched in 13 days, but it is cooler this spring, so it might be a day longer. That means the hatch date should be 13 or 14 April. Mama will spend a lot of time in the box for several days. Mother birds seem to have an innate thermometer to determine if eggs need warmth or not. Cool mornings– Mama is in the box, warm afternoons– she and Daddy may be off bugging.
I still have a pair of House Sparrows around some, but with the Sparrow Spooker installed on the box, they should not enter it. Once there are eggs in the box, Mama’s maternal instinct is stronger than her fear of the waving mylar strips on the spooker and she goes in and out without any hesitation. It’s a good device for bluebird hosts, but should be just one part of a strategy to keep sparrows from destroying chicks and eggs. If I get more than a couple hanging around I set out my live trap from SparrowTraps.net. House sparrows love white millet, so I don’t feed it except a short time in the spring when buntings are migrating through. The rest of the year I feed only black sunflower. The sparrows will eat it, but it’s not their favorite food.
Well, nothing for us to do for the next few days except sit back, relax and wait on some little hairy bluebirds to peck their way out.
Total bluebirds fledged from this nest site since 2009 is 49.
First 2014 Brood Summary
First sign of nest building 10 March
Nest completed 25 March
First egg 27 March
Fourth egg (assumption) 30 March
Incubation begins 01 April