Week-old babies

IMG_1074What a difference a week makes!  Compare this photo to the one taken just a week ago.  Baby birds mature extremely quickly.  They aren’t babies long.

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.”

IMG_1061Mama 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

 

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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.

4 Responses to Week-old babies

  1. Lmorrison says:

    We have a nest box. Had three clutches fledge last year. Had a new pair of Bluebirds this year. They had 5 eggs. Came home after being gone over the weekend to find sparrows at the box. All 5 eggs gone. No sign of the Bluebirds. The male sparrow has been eliminated. Will the Bluebirds come back? Should I clean out the nest box? HELP!

  2. pamcolander says:

    It will be interesting to see how many broods you have this year. We have a somewhat odd scenario going on here at Bluebird Hollow. We have TWO nesting pairs of WBbs very close in proximity! I’m talking about 50 feet apart from each other. We generally have two or more pairs battling for nest boxes at the onset of nesting season but one pair only has always persisted. They chase away all others. I know they are different pairs because I have seen both near their respective boxes at the same time. Also, pair A’s female is super aggressive and has been battling her window reflection since arriving. Male A is very passive and not much of a wing wavers at all. Pair B’s female is very calm and B’s male is an enthusiastic wing waver. I’m wondering if the two pair are related to each other in some combination to last years brood?

  3. Michelle says:

    I love your blog as I also have a box of bluebirds in my backyard. They are a little bit behind yours though, they hatched yesterday. How long does it take before the parents start feeding the babies mealworms? Thanks!

  4. lindell dillon says:

    Bluebirds are territorial, not really a good idea to have two boxes close to each other. Could prevent having any bluebirds at all. The birds here usually attempt three or four nestings. The last one in August is the most difficult on the parents, eggs and hatchlings due to the heat.

    I’ve not seen any of the young birds peeking out of the box like they normally do prior to fledging. I’m thinking today may not be the day.

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