When I opened the box the babies were sleeping and refused to wake up and pose. Their eyes appear to still be closed, but they are starting to get pin feathers and their blue coloring.
We are fortunate in Oklahoma to be blessed with bluebirds all year long. In the northern U.S. some migrate south for winter. Their return in the spring is often associated with spring and is celebrated in literature and folklore. In 1859 Henry David Thoreau wrote “His soft warble melts the ear, as the snow is melting in the valleys around.”
Mama and Daddy are kept busy catching bugs and hauling poop out of the nestbox. Laying, incubating and rearing multiple broods in a summer takes a toll on the adult bluebirds. This pair is young and it’s their first brood of the year, so they are in great shape. But, by August, Mama will be looking thin and worn. The supplemental mealworms I feed them are rich in fat and give the parents and babies a nutritional boost. Click photos to enlarge.
Several Brown-headed Cowbirds are following Mourning Doves and visit the yard as the doves come to feed. The bluebirds know they are a threat and attack them. But, the entrance to the nestbox is too small for a starling or cowbird to enter. One of the reasons it’s important to get a box approved by the North American Bluebird Association.
Estimated date of fledging is April 30, not far away. Visit my bluebird album on flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/sets/72157627747745082/
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
Eggs hatch 13 April