As long as there are bluebirds, there will be miracles and a way to find happiness.
– Shirl Brunnel, I Hear Bluebirds, 1984
When we left for the Texas Hill Country, the bluebirds had successfully fledged their first brood of the season and Mama almost had her second nest completed. I expected to return home to a box with eggs. I trapped sparrows for a week before I left and took four males out of our local population which is not large since I trap on a regular basis. I even installed the Sparrow Spooker on the nestbox since I wouldn’t be here when the first egg was laid.
We returned home to an absence of bluebirds in the backyard. Before we had our bags unpacked, I saw the head of a male House Sparrow peering out the box. I feared the worst, that Mama’s corpse might be inside. I immediately went out to look and found the bluebird nest removed and a small amount of messy sparrow material in the box. I removed the sparrow nesting and cleaned the box. I don’t know if eggs were destroyed or the nestbox taken over before Mama laid. If she had already laid eggs, I doubt she has renested due to insufficient calcium in her body. If she hadn’t laid eggs yet, the bluebirds have likely nested somewhere else.
Hosting bluebirds has its ups and downs. Fortunately there are more highs than lows. As a naturalist and conservationist I realize that we shouldn’t be guilty of anthropomorphism toward our bluebird guests. They are wild birds and their conservation should be viewed on a species level rather than as individual birds. I feel comfortable that the nesting success of the bluebirds I’ve hosted over the years is higher than that of birds nesting in the wild. And I take comfort in the fact that I know I’ve put 67 new bluebirds on this reddirt hill.
I never know if our bluebirds will remain with us or move on. I’m still seeing them in the yard occasionally and I’ve also seen some of the juveniles from the first brood drinking from the their little blue birdbath. We brought a large blue birdbath home from Texas since bluebirds are attracted to the color blue. I placed a little floating solar fountain to produce motion so the birds will find it quickly. We have a pair of cardinals that are in the backyard a lot and a steady stream of visitors to our feeders, but it’s not the same without the bluebirds’ presence.
I’m not sure where fate takes us from here. Our bluebirds could be gone or Mama could start building a nest today. Only time will tell.
Total chicks fledged from this site is 67.
Second Brood 2016
- First sign of nest building 24 April
- Nest destroyed by HOSP Early May