Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Bluebird Chronicles #2: Go Lay An Egg And Wait

Left upper: April 12th... the nest is finished and one small egg.
April 26.... five small perfect blue eggs...but no mom.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"A man's interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town." ~ Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Bluebird Chronicles Part One: The Arrival

Several websites feature nest cams of different bird species including bluebirds. The bluebirds in Texas had built their nest and were happily laying eggs, while our crazy couple were fluttering wings at each other and trying to break into the "big" house. The last time I had checked on their nest it consisted of three pine needles.... and I was in despair. It seemed this misfit pair would never get it right... always late. So it was with much trepidation that I climbed the ladder and peeked into the house on Easter Sunday. To my amazement, the nest was actually finished and there in the middle lay one light blue egg. Of course, my next worry was... where is the mom? Why is she not sitting here?

Further investigation on the internet told me that the bluebird lays one egg a day until there are four or five eggs in the nest and she does not sit on the eggs until they are all in place. Yes, the house and nest are warm, but around Easter we were having unseasonably cold weather; we wore coats on Easter Sunday! We waited... I gave her several more days... two weeks in fact... to get her act together. When it seemed as if she were again hanging around the yard a little more than usual, I looked again. There they were all safe and sound... five little blue eggs....


Clockwise from upper left: Mom...not on the nest.
Finally sitting as she should. Nervous father waiting...

Bluebirds are not like robins who sit carefully and almost continually on their small eggs. Of course, bluebirds do use nesting boxes... but still. Some days it seemed that momma bluebird sat still in the box for less than ten minutes at a time. I know waiting and being still is boring, I had obligatory bed rest while pregnant (no, not now... a very, very, very long time ago)... but please... don't you want these eggs to hatch. It seemed as if she resented papa bluebird... he would hang around on the fence and sometimes bring her food, but I never once saw him go in and stay for an extended period. She sat with her head poking out the entry, looking as if she would fly off at a moments notice. Still momma bluebird was more calm than papa and didn't mind my presence as much as he did. I knew that the incubation period was between fourteen and nineteen days and we were getting close.

May 10th: A bunched up fuzz of babies. Posted by Picasa

Finally, one day I saw momma and papa bluebird carry small bugs into the house and when I tapped on the pole holding the house there was the barely audible high pitched cheep of tiny birds. I waited a day or two and then carefully opened the hinged door to see this intertwined tumbled mass of fuzz and feathers and the occasional open beak. I couldn't count them.. are there four or five... we will have to wait and see.

As for the two new parents.... now the real work begins.

To be continued........

(end of post)
Blue Monday entry.

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