The bluebird eggs starting hatching some time last Friday. When I opened the nesting box to examine the nest, instead of six blue eggs I saw hungry mouths! It looks like five out of the six eggs hatched, which is a typical brood size for the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis).
I quickly closed the box back up and went to the house to get my camera. I sat down a safe distance away, and waited for the parents to come back to the nest.
The female bluebird was the first to return and check on the nest. First, she landed on top of the box. Then she flew down to the opening and headed in. I couldn’t tell if she had food in her mouth or not. After looking at the photos, I think not.
She stayed in the house for about five minutes or so (I wasn’t wearing my watch), then out she came.
The male flew in a few minutes later and landed on one of the posts around the perimeter of the vegetable garden. Like many birds, the male bluebird is the one with the most colorful feathers. By the looks of the post, it’s a popular landing spot.
I sat there watching for maybe 20 minutes or so, and while I saw the bluebirds catching bugs for themselves, I didn’t see them take any food into the nest. It’s possible they had just fed the babies before I showed up. As the babies get older, those feeding visits should get more frequent.
So far we’ve had no problems with house wrens or English sparrows. Both are notorious for usurping nesting boxes and trashing the occupants, often smashing eggs and killing the young. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
So far this pair has been doing a great job of parenting. They’ve got almost three weeks before the babies are ready to fledge the nest. I haven’t taken any photos of the young just yet. It’s been cold and rainy, and I don’t want to expose them to the elements any more than necessary. Here’s a link to a photo of day old bluebird chicks. I’ll check back in a day or two when it’s warmer outside. You can bet I’ll be posting more photos soon.