I cannot believe I am finally witnessing my Eastern Bluebird couple raising babies! (If you missed my first Eastern Bluebird blog, you can find it in the Blog tab. It will give you info on these beautiful birds and how I got to this point!) Long story short, I have NEVER had them nest in my yard so I am thrilled to share their story with you! It has been quite a process reaching this point. Last year, I saw the male carrying pine needles to build nest but never saw the babies, or my couple, again until this winter. My dad and I researched bluebird houses and I got some tips from people on the Massachusetts Birds Facebook page. I kept my meal worms full and started talking to my Blues. They even started coming when I called them!
I watched in amazement as my Blues checked out the same 2 old houses that have been hanging on my deck posts for 3 years now. Then, they chose the old rickety one that the House Sparrows vacated. But, one morning, all the feathers etc. from inside the house were on the ground and the Blues were nowhere to be seen. I emptied out the old house completely and attached a little fishing line near the entrance to scare off the House Sparrows. I also hung up a fancy, new house I got from Kingsyard. I created lots of barriers to keep the predators away. Apparently, the Blues thought my efforts were overkill because they chose the old, rickety, empty house again. I watched as they went in and out of the house. I never saw them bringing in nesting material, but I was always too afraid to open the house to check. I didn’t want to do ANYTHING that might discourage them from staying in my yard.
The Blues started to dive-bomb the squirrels that steal my bird food and jelly on my deck. They were not letting any bird or squirrel anywhere NEAR that house! They even flew at my husband when he got too close. After about 2 weeks or so, I saw them start to bring the dried meal worms into the birdhouse. Then, I started hearing the sweetest chirping sounds. But my heart melted when I saw a tiny little head with a huge beak peek out of the house! I am not sure how many babies my Blues had, but the nestlings are becoming fledglings, one at a time. I blogged that these birds will raise 1 or 2 broods between April and September. I am not sure which batch I am watching now. I researched the specifics involved in this process and will share the low down with you now.
Most pairs will have between 3 and 7 babies. The nestlings will remain in the house between sixteen and eighteen days. They will fledge when their wings are developed enough to carry them to a nearby spot in a tree or bush (hopefully). They will remain there and continue hopping and flitting about while they develop strength and agility. It will take thirty to forty-five days for their wing and tail feathers to fully develop. The parents will remember where they are hidden continue to feed them until they can feed independently. It is important to NEVER open the nest box after the eleventh day as you could cause baby birds to try and fledge before they are ready to do so. (Read baby bird blog for more on finding baby birds.) The parents will chase their spring broods out of their territory, but the summer broods will often winter with their parents.
As for my cute little family, I have seen 2 or 3 fledglings so far. There is at least 1 nestling still peeking out of the house today. Mama and Dada are pretty stressed right now. Dad is even pecking at his reflection as he perceives it as a threat. He has never done this until today. I am guessing it is because their babies are all fledging at different rates and landing in different areas. Last night, I saw 1fledgling in a tree being fed by Mama. Today, I saw 1 or 2 more babies on my deck. One fledgling tried to stay on my deck, but the parents actually flew at and with it, directing it to a nearby tree. The parents are traveling around to feed their fledglings AND their nestling. They are still dive-bombing anything but me that goes near the nest or the babies in the trees. They really are not fans of the Blue Jays currently. My Blues are amazing and ALWAYS protecting their babies. They do not go into the box other than to feed quickly, but they are ALWAYS nearby watching. They must be exhausted after 3 weeks of this routine.
I will be curious to see how many members of my family stay with me. I told you about my dad’s bird houses he was building. They are here now, as are my parents, and my dad put them up! They have a special clear part in the roof as he read that the House Sparrows don’t like the light. AND, I will be able to see inside from above-SO excited! I am hoping that the Blues or my other birds will use some of my many bird houses to raise another family this summer. Then, hopefully they will use the houses to roost this winter and never leave me LOL! Follow my Facebook page and Instagram and Tiktok as I am posting videos of my Bluebird family there daily so we can follow their progress (See Find Me page for info). I added some photos below as usual as well as 1 video so you can see and hear the cuteness! Thank you SO much for following my site and sharing. Robin 😊
I have bluebirds also year round and orioles in season. I consider myself lucky also
It is quite the experience!