Mama didn’t spend much time in her box incubating before we had some drama. Oklahoma experienced violent thunderstorms yesterday evening that spawned a tornado on the reddirt hill. Actually it passed just north of us with no damage to our place. You can see from the photo that it was close.
Mama went into the box when the weather turned bad and Daddy was sitting on his favorite perch in the back yard. Right after I snapped the twister photo the winds from it hit here. I’d guess them at 80 mph, difficult to stand. Daddy clung to his perch. Then the hail hit. I was really concerned that Daddy could be hit by a hailstone and be injured or killed. But he was on the box bright and early this morning, chortling to Mama who was inside on her eggs.
While we are waiting on the eggs to hatch, we might talk about some things you can do to make your yard more friendly to bluebirds. Assuming you have some. First, be sure you have an adequate sparrow control plan. Providing live mealworms will bond the bluebirds to your site and you. It’s like frosting on the cake if you already have some bluebirds. Water nearby is a plus. I have a big blue ceramic saucer with some stones in it. In hot summer I place a mister over it and it’s a popular place on sultry summer afternoons.
About 68% of a bluebird’s diet is insects. But, they will eat native fruit, so having native trees and shrubs in your yard is a bonus. They provide both habitat for insects and fruit. Another important thing we haven’t touched on this year is to place a baffle on your pole the nestbox sits on. This keeps snakes and raccoons from reaching the nest. Snakes have an uncanny ability to hear and locate baby birds. I use 3/4″ electrical conduit for poles and a baffle designed for bird feeders fits in nicely. I simply drive a piece of steel re-bar into the ground and slip the conduit with the box attached over it. Also makes it easy to move the box a few feet to keep it in the shade as the sun moves north and the temperatures get hot. Heat can kill eggs and babies.
Total chicks fledged from this site is 57.
First Brood 2015
- First sign of nest building 10 March
- Nest completed 18 March
- First egg 19 March
- Second egg 20 March
- Third egg 21 March
- Fourth egg 23 March
- Incubation begins 24 March