Bluebird Update

Songbird babies grow up so fast! The young bluebirds are now eight days old. At this stage of development, their eyes open and their feathers start to come in. And when the nest box is opened for monitoring, they no longer automatically “gape” their mouths for food. As a matter of fact, I could barely get a rise out of these nestlings when I checked the box at about 7AM this morning.


five bluebird chicks at eight days old (click on any image to enlarge)

As I looked in the nest box, the bluebird parents sat in a nearby black cherry tree. I was waiting to be swooped, but it didn’t happen this time. Please forgive the somewhat blurred photo since I did not have the telephoto lens with me. It is safe to say they were watching my every move!

I will stop opening the nest box in a few days, when the nestlings are about 12 days old. At that point there is a risk they might bolt and fledge the nest prematurely. Bluebirds typically leave the nest when they are 16-20 days old.

In a side note, the nest box is located about 15 feet from another PVC nest box. The bluebirds built a nest in the other box first, before they built the nest they ultimately used. I have seen the bluebirds defending both boxes, on Saturday chasing away a small brown bird (probably a house wren) that landed on the other box.

Bluebirds are finally at Happy Acres. And that is great news to me!

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5 Responses to Bluebird Update

  1. Congratulations! I have not seen a bluebird since I was a little girl in WI. Probably no chance of one nesting in my garden as it is small and not an open meadow. So nice of you to share your bluebird nest. Glad to see they are doing so well!

  2. Ali says:

    You have inspired me to think about placing bluebird houses in the campus arboretum/field if I can organize a group of students willing to take the project on during the summer months. Our ornithologist is willing to offer training to the students if they are willing….

  3. Ahhh! It’s so exciting! I have never seen bluebird babies before, so this is a real treat for me – thanks for these great pictures! What a thrill it must be to have them there. I’m so glad the momma returned to lay more eggs after what happened the first time. Can’t wait to hear about the first flying lessons.

  4. Kelly says:

    Awe, they are so fluffy and sweet. Fingers crossed they fledge with perfect timing.

  5. I’m so glad to see your bluebirds are doing well. It was an awful weekend here. The flycatcher nest was robbed again (I found one dead baby on the ground below), and the finches were missing on Sunday. We had 3 inches of rain on Saturday, the nest was drenched and I couldn’t tell if it had fallen apart in the rain, or if someone (a crow or jay) had torn it apart. Regardless, the finches were gone too 🙁 Your little bundles of fluff look they’re doing very well though! Our flycatchers are nesting again…on the same porch light as last year…I already know where that’s heading *sigh*.

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