Spring on the reddirt hill

IMG_4346 ldThe astronomical calendar of  heavenly bodies shows the Spring Equinox will occur on March 20 at 5:29 a.m. CDT.  Most people consider this the beginning  of Spring.  The politicians have us moving our clocks forward tonight and some regard that as the first day of Spring.  But, on the reddirt hill we know Spring is here when Mama Bluebird brings her first mouthful of grass to the nestbox.  That happened this morning.  The season of renewal has officially begun.

Last year Mama began her first nest of the season on March 2.  She normally starts nesting on a bright sunshine-filled day, but today is gray and dreary.  For some reason the alarm on the biological clock in her little body rang this morning.

It will take about a week for her to build a cup-shaped nest and line it with fine grass.  After that it won’t be long until the first little blue egg will appear. Another week will go by before her clutch of eggs is laid. Then incubation will begin.

Recall that Daddy III has not been with us too long and this may be the first brood he yardbirds 001has sired.  Last July with three chicks in the box, Daddy II was killed by a roadrunner.  Within days this male was following Mama and jumped right into the role of providing bugs for the babies and ferrying away fecal sacs. Photo is a recent one of Daddy III, he’s prime right now and so is Mama.  A season of raising babies takes a visible toll on the bluebirds, especially the females.  By August, Mama will be worn and thin.  Ready for some time off.  The last brood of three from 2016 followed the parents around most of the winter, but I haven’t seen them lately.  Daddy wouldn’t allow the males around now that breeding season is here.  Male bluebirds are territorial and generally speaking won’t allow another nest within about 100 yards of theirs.

The 2017 breeding season has begun, so we will be making regular entries into our diary.  Note that you can subscribe to be notified of new entries.




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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6 Responses to Spring on the reddirt hill

  1. Bluebird Hollow says:

    Yay! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this post. Our Westerns haven’t appeared yet at Bluebird Hollow but i know they are around the ranch. Last Fall we installed a nestcam in one of our boxes that has been used by BBs in the past. Time will tell who gets it first and I can’t wait to watch up close and personal the entire miracle as it unfolds. Best wishes to you for another successful season!

  2. Elizabeth Allen says:

    So good to see your posts again Lindell! I see David Kineer posts on Facebook, he takes beautiful photos like you, but it’s great to have someone from Oklahoma keeping us informed! My female started her nest in earnest about 5 days ago, first bits of grass were put in there 2/23 but it was still too cold I think. Your Faddy 111 is so amazing, happy she found a good husband after that awful tragedy.

  3. Pamela Hall says:

    I have been following your blog for about a year. I absolutely love bluebirds and have had a box in my back yard for 20 years but really only got interested in watching the process in the last couple of years. Almost got the chance this past year to see them fledge. Your pictures ar phenomenal. What camera and lens do you use to get such great pictures?

  4. Margaret says:

    I really love your Bluebird Diary, Lindell. Your passion for these exquisite birds shines through in your writings. I look forward to seeing and hearing more as the season gets underway.

    • lindell dillon says:

      We do enjoy the bluebirds! It’s been down to freezing the past couple of nights, and Mama has halted her nest building. Has the cup completed, just needs to line it with fine grass. Four HOSP’s showed up today and one landed on the box, so I opened up the House Sparrow Hotel. They are serving fine white millet for free.

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