Yesterday, April 9, 2004 I was able to document this years first nesting beginnings with the digital camera. On Monday, April 5 the first egg was laid, Tuesday, April 6 the second egg was laid; Wednesday, April 7 the third egg was laid; Thursday, April 8 the fourth egg was laid; Friday, April 9 the fifth egg was laid. Saturday April 10, this morning, I checked the nest box, and the 5 eggs were still there, and appeared to be arranged very nicely as if Mrs. Bluebird had begun to sit on them. I didn’t get to verify warmness of the eggs, as Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird were around and anxious.
Earlier in the morning, just after sunrise, there was a slight ruckus I noticed at their nest box. As in past years, the European Starlings were being pesty, and one was looking into the box, hanging off the front. So with this witnessed event I, and Frank also, jumped out of bed and ran downstairs and opened the deck door, and I yeklled my usual loud, “Shoo! Shoo!” at them. From the deck it’s a decent distance, but any of that or clapping usually scares the Starlings off, and it did right away this morning. The Bluebirds are gentle and know not to worry at such sounds, they stay.
So with that happening, as it does every year, I got out the hole extender and installed it a bit later, but as usual, Mrs. Bluebird refused to go in via it, and was very frustrated. Mr. Bluebird wouldn’t try to go in either. I watched as they looked at it, and sat on top of the tube, and looked inside it gingerly, and flapped their wings at each other and were fluberated. So after awhile I said, as usual, “OK, I’ll take it off. I’ll just have to make an effort to watch and protect via a distance” a scary thing as I cannot watch every second of every day. (European Starlings are not nice, they destroy eggs and baby birds of other species, they immigrant birds and prey on the “naturally” occuring birds in these regions, such as the Eastern Bluebird, for instance, which are very gentle.)
Here is a photo essay from April 9, 2004:
This is the Nest Box of the Eastern Bluebird pair that we host in our backyard.
Side view of the nest box, where the box opens to access the inside where the nest is built.
Nest box is opened, and inside is visible, there is the completed nest for the 1st nesting of 2004.
The nest is tilted towards the outside in order to view the contents, 5 beautiful light blue Bluebird eggs. (eggs appear darker due to shadows in box) They are very small. This is the first year for so many eggs in one clutch. Previous years were 2 or 3 generally.
Now the nest is outside of the box for a few better photographs. The egg color is a bit more blue than appears to the camera’s eye.
A closer view of the Eastern Bluebird eggs.
Another closer view of the Eastern Bluebird eggs, with my index finger to compare the size with, somewhat.
And finally, this is what the nest looks like out of the box, from a sideview. This nest was made from dried grass strands and bits of white fuzzy material of some nature.
Bluebirds build nest from various things. The first nest we ever had in this nest box was made exclusively with pine straw (some neighbors mulch, we suspect, as we don’t use that variety of mulch).
It’s exciting when Spring rolls around, and nesting activity begins. Every year it’s neat to see the nest box reserved with a few pieces of grass or something else, and then one day a little nest material takes shape, and usually by the next day the nest is looking about perfect, with a few minor touchups put on it afterwards by the dear birds. After this, it’s a wait and see, will they lay eggs, when will they begin, etc. This nest was done by the end of March. So we waited until April 5th, in the morning, for the first egg to appear. I was thrilled each day when a new egg had been laid, and by Wednesday had thought that might be the whole clutch, and thrilled to see egg number four the next day, and never thought I’d see five, but sure did on Friday! I suspect brooding has begun, but must check tomorrow morning to be sure. There was no sixth egg mid-morning, and I really do hope that 5 is the limit. It’s more than the box could hold if all five would hatch healthily, IMO. I think that last year one clutch was four eggs, but only three hatched. One of the past couple of years a full clutch that had hatched disappeared too early to have fledged, Starlings the culprit IMO.
I wish that this pair of Bluebirds would accept an extender tube on their box, but they just haven’t done so on any attempt I’ve made. I still have a couple of times I can try it, but generally speaking, they seem to look at it and say, “No way! Our entrance is that blue shaped thing”. The extender is putty colored plastic and goes on the box in place of that blue wood around the entrance hole in the above pictures.
I hope you enjoy these photos, and check back for updates every so often.