I’ve been hosting bluebirds long enough you’d think some of the excitement would have subsided. I’ve seen shining times and some dark moments in the lives of my backyard guests. But, when I see that first of the season powder blue egg, I just can’t contain my excitement. I am happy I have this venue to share bluebirds with folks who have and appreciate bluebirds and those who wish they had them.
I know people who have had nestboxes for years and have yet to attract any birds. I feel almost like I am chosen. It’s a sacred privilege to be allowed into the lives of wild creatures. Few species are as tolerable and sociable toward humans as bluebirds.
Mama completed her nest on 18 March. The weather is rainy and damp, not too cold. It seems the bluebirds prefer to lay eggs in the mornings of sunny days. So I didn’t bother to check the box yesterday. When I opened it up this afternoon, I was surprised to find not one– but two little powder blue eggs!
Usually Mama lays an egg every day if the weather is good. But, it’s not all that unusual to skip a day, especially if it’s cool. Normally she lays four or five eggs in her first clutch. As the weather heats up, subsequent clutches tend to be smaller.
Daddy. Click photos to enlarge.
If you have a bluebird box or a trail of boxes, you might not be able to monitor it as closely as you’d like. If an invasive species takes over, you can identify the nest or eggs without seeing the adult birds. Keep in mind that we should welcome any native cavity nester to our boxes. It’s illegal to tamper with the active nest of any species other than House Sparrows, European Starlings and pigeons. If your box meets bluebird standards, the hole is too small for starlings to enter, and pigeons aren’t cavity nesters and too big as well. That leaves us with the nemesis of suburban bluebirds– the House Sparrow.
Their nests are messy and don’t resemble the well constructed grass nest with a deep cup bluebirds build. HOSP eggs and nests should be immediately removed. You can place a piece of duct tape over the hole for awhile to discourage them. Another use for duct tape. I’ve inserted an egg identification guide. The size, shape and color can all be used to ID eggs.
If you’re attracting native species other than bluebirds, you may have your box in the wrong place. Bluebirds prefer their boxes in an open area with the entrance facing east. Chickadees and wrens like nests closer to brush and shrubs. If you attract either of these delightful little birds, just put up another box in a more open place. By all means, don’t disturb their nest. I’m bumping my self-imposed limit of 500 words, so adios for now.
First Brood 2015
- First sign of nest building 10 March
- Nest completed 18 March
- First egg 19 March
- Second egg 20 March