Still incubating

tornado 007Mama 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 yardbirds 010trees 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

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.
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4 Responses to Still incubating

  1. Thanks for all your helpful tips. I do have a question though. Should I wait until the bluebirds have built their nest before I hang the Mylar ribbons? If I do it before will it deter them from going to the box?

    • lindell dillon says:

      Yes. Wait until the female lays her first egg to put up the Sparrow Spooker. At that time she has a big investment in the nest and egg and her strong maternal instincts will overcome her fear.

      • pamdan says:

        Thanks, my little pair have produced 5 eggs and I think they’ll begin hatching around April 20-21 – then the fun begins !! They are truly amazing little birds.

  2. Margaret says:

    Holy moly, that’s scary! I’m glad you and your brood escaped unharmed.

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