Hi everybody! I am learning so much from watching my sweet Eastern Bluebird family and all my other baby birds and fledglings! Read my last summer blog #3 to learn all about my current renters LOL. Sadly, though, I am learning just how hard it is to be a fledgling. It is no picnic being the parent of a fledgling either. My Bluebird couple had nestlings that fledged 5 days ago. I was never sure how many babies they had as I never opened the bird house. I did not want to stress the parents out. I also know that you should never disturb the family when the birds are fledging as you could cause a nestling to fall out of the nest before it is ready to fledge. Sadly, I regret this choice now.
In by spring blog on Bluebirds, I shared that these birds usually lay between 3 and 7 eggs. (Read that one to learn more about the cute feather babies.) I think my Blues laid 3 or 4. I saw a different (I think) fledgling on my deck for 3 days in a row. Mama and Dada Blue were seriously stressed out. They were almost always either feeding or protecting both the nestlings left in the box and the new fledglings. I was in awe of their parental instincts. They were constantly standing guard in the nearby tree or on my shepherd’s hooks near their babies’ house. They swooped down on any squirrel that dared to come on my deck. They also dive-bombed the Blue Jays if they went near their house or new fledglings. Dada got so stressed out that he started flying into my windows because he saw his reflection as competition or a threat. I already had decals but added sticky notes too. I basically guarded the window so he wouldn’t hurt himself as he continued this behavior. Then, I bought some specialized bird-strike decals which helped a bit more. (See resources.)
I read that by the 18th day after being born, all babies should have fledged. But I was still seeing Mama and Dada carrying the mealworms into the house even though I did not hear anymore babies. Finally, I opened the box and my heart broke. There was a dead nestling who never fledged for some reason. Mama and Dada were trying to feed it. ☹ I wished that I had checked the box sooner. Maybe, I could have saved their baby. After the box was cleared out, the blues seemed less frantic and were more able to concentrate on their fledglings. I only ever saw 2 babies together at one time. It seemed like there were 2 that had survived 3 days. I watched in amazement as the parents would escort the babies into a tree for shelter whenever they came out of hiding. They always knew where the babies were and fed them often.
However, today is day 5 and as of yesterday, I only saw the parents concentrating on caring for 1 fledgling. There has been a Red-tailed Hawk visiting my yard for 2 days. I am not sure if I just haven’t seen the second baby, or he didn’t make it. It is also very hot and dry now. We have had no rain. As I was walking through Wilbraham this morning, I saw dead Robin and Chipping Sparrow fledglings and a frog that were all dried on the hot pavement. My stream in my yard is dried up. I went to Bruers Pond yesterday and it was a sad sight. A mama Mallard was trying to get her babies to the little water left. Did my baby Blue die because it was too hot in the box or was he sick? I just don’t know. I feel sad for the lonely little blue baby left with no siblings for company now. (My previous blogs give info on how to help keep nestling and fledglings safe.)
I have been stalking my little family to watch how the babies grow and felt sad with the parents over their loss. But then, to my amazement, my Blues started building a NEW NEST! I blogged that the birds would have a spring and a summer brood. I am just amazed that they are starting again with their fledgling(s) so new! But I think it is instinct to help the species survive. I looked up how long Eastern Bluebirds live. Most sources said my Blues can live 6-10 years. The average age is so low because many baby bluebirds do not survive the first year. I am seeing why now. So, I am watching my Blues try again. My dad is a bit frustrated because the Blues chose the same old “rickety house instead of the brand-new condo” he built them. I also wish they had chosen his house because I could have monitored the babies through the roof window. I will be counting the eggs this time and trying to watch for fledglings more diligently. Hopefully, my little family will have more success this time around.
As always, I appreciate you sharing my sites more than you know. I posted recent videos of my little family on my Social Media. You can see a video of dad working with the the first fledgling and more on my Instagram. You can see the parents feeding the fledglings and the remaining fledgling on my Facebook page. You can see the parents rebuilding a nest on my TikTok page. I posted some pics and audio of my Blues below too. Enjoy! See the Contact Me page for info. on how to see my pages and more. Take care, Robin😊
My heart hurts for the little fledglings that are stolen and for the parents that lose them. I know hawks have to eat, but it is so sad to see them eat the birds.
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Agreed. Though I am not sure a hawk got any. And I haven’t seen thalassemia baby yet today. Hoping….
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Hoping with you.
Amazing photos!! Thanks
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Thank you!! Really!