Incubation begins …

As the pressure of population increasingly regiments us and crowds us closer together, an association with the wild, winged freedom of the birds will fill an ever growing need in our lives.  – Edwin Way Teale, introduction to Songbirds in Your Garden, 1953

25493849320_a07043ddb8_oMama III has been a busy little bluebird.  She’s laid an egg on six consecutive days.  The embryos will begin to develop when Mama starts incubation.  She was in the box all morning, so she is incubating.  The female birds seem to have an internal thermometer that knows when to warm the eggs and when to leave the box.

Bluebird eggs hatch in 12-14 days; I generally just calculate 13 to the hatch date.  That means the chicks should hatch on 28 March.  The little bluebirds have an egg tooth on top of their beak, but unlike most birds they don’t just break through the egg shell and bust out.  Instead they cut all the way round the middle of the egg so that it falls in two halves.  At this point the female eats the eggshell to replenish the calcium she lost in the egg laying process.  Nature is generally efficient with little going to waste.

There will not be a lot of action during incubation.  Bluebirds, their eggs and young are bluebirds 024always at risk though.  The biggest risk for eggs is House Sparrows or some other cavity nester destroying the eggs in order to seize the nesting site.  I have the Sparrow Spooker installed on the box which works pretty well.  A nestbox built specifically for bluebirds has a ventilated roof and a hole that is not large enough for starlings and bigger birds to enter.  There aren’t a lot of House Sparrows around, but it only takes one.  I’m putting out the sparrow trap baited IMG_2041with white millet this afternoon.  I always caution people thinking of putting up a bluebird box near their house that they must be willing to trap and euthanize sparrows or sooner or later, they will destroy eggs, kill babies or even an adult if trapped inside the box.  I trap and euthanize about 60 annually.

Total chicks fledged from this site is 61.

First Brood 2016

  • First sign of nest building                                                 01 March
  • Nest completed                                                                   07 March
  • First egg                                                                                09 March
  • Second egg                                                                           10 March
  • Third egg                                                                              11 March
  • Fourth egg                                                                            12 March
  • Fifth egg                                                                                13 March
  • Six egg                                                                                   14 March
  • Incubation begins                                                               15 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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