Monday, June 24, 2013

Blue Monday

There's been a lot happening in the last few weeks. Events and thoughts I want to share but haven't had much time indoors to write a blog post and capture it all.

No matter how busy I've been, the bluebirds have remained a top priority.  Sorry. I know I should have said "stitching" was top priority but...

How can I resist this face?


In the early morning and evening, I've been putting out a plate of mealworms for the bluebirds to feed their growing brood.  I feed them at the same time and whistle when I put out the plate so they know when the gravy train has arrived...



I get a kick out of the male trying to cram in as many as he can...he inevitably drops them...and then has to re-pick up all of them again.


It's quite a production and it brings us great joy to watch them.

Here's the status update on the bluebird babies as of last Wednesday...


I'll take one last pic this Wednesday and then I'll need to leave the nest alone.  I don't want to frighten them into fledging too early.

Many of you thought they had nested on a bucket on the ground.  Here's what the nest box looks like...


I can squeeze the "bucket" and release it from the nails holding it to the roof...this lets me set the nest on the ground so I can monitor the nest and take pictures.   This nest type has been very successful for me and has housed many bluebird families over the years.  I'm hoping that my feeding them a bit will help their brood size.  A typical female lays 3-5 eggs and I normally get 2-3.  We'll see if they choose to nest again in the box after this brood has fledged.

I've been trying to get them to come when I call so that I can change their feeding into a box similar to Carol's of Beads and Birds.  Both Carol and Vicki W of Field Trips in Fiber are bluebird mamas and post regularly about their box activities.

So this post is for you Carol and Vicki W.

If you enjoy watching all the habits and mannerisms of the birds in your backyard, I highly recommend this book by Julie Zickefoose...


The book is broken into individual stories about experiences she's had with different species of birds...she's sheltered them, rehabilitated them, sketched them, fed them and now...written about them.  She's a naturalist, a writer and an artist all rolled into one and I'm enjoying her perspective on many of the friends that delight me in my own backyard.

In one story about a bluebird couple that nested in her yard for many years, she cautions against the overfeeding of bluebirds with mealworms.  Evidently they are full of fat and phosphorous and too much of a good thing can upset their nutritional balance.  She learned the hard way and found that overfeeding caused her birds to forget to molt...they were so busy trying to pack in as many broods as possible.  I was glad to read this before I started my little feeding project.

She has a blog here and another book which I'm going to get out of the library here.

Jack has left for a week-long service trip to Camden, NJ.  That leaves me with a little more time to get caught up on my blogging. 

Hope your Monday is a happy one!

21 comments:

Linda H said...

Congrats Mama!! What fun to watch this family grow. Thanks for sharing their progress with us! They are such beautiful birds.

Rachel said...

Good to know you've been so well entertained!

cucki said...

aww so sweet <3
love x

Laurie said...

I really did think they nested on the ground in a bucket, but now this makes more sense! What great closeups! I'll have to check out the book. Sounds interesting!

Roberta said...

I never knew you could buy meal worms! I use suet and sunflower seeds but I had to stop for the summer. My balcony was becoming overwhelmed with birds and droppings. If I had a yard it would be better but the balcony was a disaster!

Gerry Krueger said...

My bluebirds prefer the nesting box by the sheep pasture and I could see them whenever I tended the sheep. Now that the sheep are gone I seldom see them... I hesitate to move the box because they come back every year... but I have others species close give me joy... I sent this post on to DH... Hugs Ger

Mouse said...

awwww its lovely that you can get such good photos of them too ... and paws crossed all goes well and they come back for more each year :) love mouse xxxxx

Catherine said...

Love seeing your bluebirds each year! I will definitely have to look for that book!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Thanks to the links to the books. This year we bought two houses like what you show here. Our first nest was in the wood house I posted about. However, the second was in one of the new houses. The babies are peeking out frequently now. We have two dying trees in the yard that harbor bugs. As you can imagine there is a lot of activity in those trees for both the bug eating birds and squirrels.

Thanks for the links you gave too. I'm off to check them out.
xx, Carol

Createology said...

Your little Blue Bird Babies are precious. How very sweet to give them meals of yummy worms each day. What a joy to behold...watching the progress of life. Blessings...

Laurie said...

You're so sweet to feed the daddy bird! Now why didn't I ever think of that?

margaret said...

such beautiful birds and how wonderful to be able to watch the brood growing.

BackstoryBeads said...

Beautiful post! This is the first year we've had bluebirds nesting in our backyard and it's been so much fun observing their parenting! Thanks so much for the links, and the advice about overfeeding.

Vicki W said...

I was so happy to see this post. We've had a bad bird year this year. Only 4 fledged birds. All of the other nests have been destroyed. I'm afraid we may be having a particularly good snake year.

DILOU said...

Félicitations!! vous êtes une parfaite "maman oiseau" Quel plaisir de voir ces petits grandir prés de chez vous.

Judy S. said...

Another interesting post, Susan! No bluebirds on this part of the map, but we do have lots of juncos. Now I need to see whether I can find that book!

Magpie Sue said...

Hi Susan,
Is this book one with slick pages and photographs? I'd love to read it but can't handle glossy art books generally. Thanks for the links to other bluebird mamas, I look forward to checking them out!

Magpie Sue said...

I should have looked before I commented! This book is available for my Nook! hurray!

coral-seas said...

I feed meal worms to the robin in the spring and during snowy periods. I also whistle to let him know I am bringing food. He has to be quick because the blackbird will take them all is she gets there first.

A couple of years ago I had a robin that would actually take the meal worms out the palm of hand!

michaelswoodcraft said...

Hi Susan,
Lovely pictures! You are really good at taking pictures. I love the bluebirds, making houses, seeing them nest, feeding them, especially watching them go for the mealworms.

I posted a couple pictures of my bluebirds eating live mealworms, check it out.

Love your post, nice pictures!

Michael

http://listen2thea.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/meal-worm-farming/#comment-898



michaelswoodcraft said...

Nice shots Susan! I love the bluebirds, check out my recent post :) I also feed them mealworms, they sure are expensive!

Michael
http://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/bluebirds-building-nest/

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