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Bluebirds- Spring 2012

Norman, OK

Our old bluebird thread was getting long in the tooth, so at Pelle's request I've started a new one. Not my thread, but one where everyone can share their BB pics. The pair I host are getting more interested in the nest box every day. Last year they began building a nest on 14 March. Won't be long.

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds I shot on a drive to Lake Thunderbird yesterday. Quite a few of them east of town in the openings of the Cross Timbers.

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Norman, OK

C'mon folks. Surely someone has some BB pics to post.

Daddy waiting on breakfast.

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Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Red, I've a pair that took an interest in this Nest box. Last year they were seen here, or perhaps another couple, but they didn't settle down to raise their family. This Winter I "sealed the deal" by providing mealies in hope to see some little ones soon. Thank you for the thread. Other BBs lovers will surely chime in soon.

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Kelseyville, CA(Zone 8b)

Great photos Red and Lily. I'm still trying to get photos of my bbs.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I checked the box today and there was at least one egg! Seems a little early, but it has been a mild Winter, so I guess Spring fever has begun!

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Ooooh congratulation thebestmissy! I'm so excited to hear you've egg. Wooohoooo!!!

I'm so glad I've found this feeder for the meallies treat. Rain or shine, the birds, especially my BBs can enjoy their meal without getting wet.

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Stafford County, VA

My grandchildren got me one like that for my birthday. You can adjust the dome lower if you see the bigger birds getting in. My bluebirds seem to prefer it. It's been an early Spring here too. My bluebirds haven't made up their minds as to which box they will use. Yesterday I caught her putting straw in both of them. The last shot is looking straight up at a great blue heron, flying lower over our house. Another sign of Spring.

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Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Dave, the couple is one handsome pair! LOL look at that Wren ducking the narrow entrance. Thank you for the tip. Thus far, only Wrens are seen to dine with the BBs here, but I'll adjust the dome if I see bigger birds. Red, what's going on with yours (BBs)?

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

I have 2 pair that are making nest!

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Congrats bluegrassmom!

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

My one pair is doing the building too. Or rather, she builds to her liking, while he guards.

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Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

Aww, good pics. I love the sound they make! Now I have only one nesting box how far apart should they be if I add a second one?


Teresa in KY

I should clear up that I have 2 boxes but one is across the hay field.

This message was edited Mar 22, 2012 1:27 AM

Norman, OK

I am surprised my backyard birds aren't nest building yet. We had a mild winter and warm spring. They have been working on a nest by now for the past couple of seasons. They are in and out of the box all day, though. Expect to see them carrying grass soon. Had FOS Lark Sparrows and Monarchs in the yard yesterday.

Daddy on the box.

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Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Red, I hope things will warm up soon ... so to speak. Little things that bring me joy is watching my pair of Blue Birds come to wait for treats comes the morning light everyday.

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Stafford County, VA

My bluebird pair finally settled on the NABS style box and as this morning we have two eggs. I then took the Gilbertson box down so they would not spend so much time chasing other birds away from it. BTW, the chickadees are building in the extra box I have on the other side of our house. I hope the male bluebird leaves them alone this time. I may install a hole reducer after the chickadee lays her first egg.

East Bridgewater, MA



Just to let all of you know, I'm enjoying the BB threads despite a paucity of them in my town (too densely settled for their liking).

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Thanks Boston. Glad you've enjoyed. Wishing you Blue Birds.

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Stafford County, VA

Three bluebird eggs and counting as of this afternoon. Chickadee nest appears finished but I haven't checked for eggs there yet.

Here are a few shots from today and the last few days. Been mostly overcast and rainy so I have to shoot when the sky lightens up..

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Stafford, VA

Dave and All

I noticed a nest in my bluebird house on Saturday but no eggs as yet. The pair are in and out of the house all day though. With yours already laying, mine should be close behind.

David in Stafford

Stafford County, VA

Yes, David, I am sure it won't be long. They seem to track pretty closely. But I have a friend who lives south of Roanoke who found five eggs in a nest on March 8th. I suppose they would have hatched by now. I haven't heard from her lately.

I worry though about cold snaps when we have these early nestings. We have four eggs in our box as of this morning, but she has not started incubating yet and they say tonight it may dip into the mid 30's.

Here is my male sunning in the neighbor's weeping cherry tree. Taken a few minutes ago. We still see lots of hawks around. In the second shot both birds are watching as a hawk circles over head.

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Stafford, VA

Great shots Dave. Yes, it must have been a good year for hawks. We have quite a few in our area also.

I will try to get some photos of my pair to post.

David

PERTH, Australia

Dave, the photo of the bluebird in your neighbours tree is utterly beautiful. I can't stop looking at it.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Me either, those are all so .... gorgeous!!!

Kelseyville, CA(Zone 8b)

Wonderful photos everyone!!

Stafford, VA

Yesterday morning both of the bluebirds came to our deck rail seemingly looking for something. It couldn't be meal worms as they haven't touched any of the trial worms that I have put out for the past 2 years.

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Stafford, VA

Then this afternoon I decided to check the nest again just to see if the cold spell that we have had for the past couple of days had given them a chance to think about laying. Look what I found. It started to rain just as I opened the box so my focus on this shot isn't the greatest.

David in Stafford

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Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Congrats David in Stafford. Very happy to hear the news. "trial worms"? It took my BBs a while to find mine, not until they saw Wrens going for the mealies will they come to claim them. Now they come and seem to be waiting for me to bring their treats out every morning.

Stafford County, VA

Glad to see yours have started, David. Think they were trying to tell you something?

As expected, mine started incubating Monday, after she laid the fourth egg, then yesterday she laid number five and today number six. I fear we will have one or two that will hatch after the others.

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Stafford, VA


Egg number two today. I will try to get another photo tomorrow. We had a busy day with the 3 year old grandson today.

David

Marlton, NJ

Congratulations Dave and David!

Stafford, VA

We have 3 eggs in the nest. Momma bird just watches from a tree when I opened the box. It was raining again when I went out to check so I didn't get a picture of her.

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Central, AL(Zone 7b)

How wonderful David and David! I'm happy for you.

Stafford County, VA

I peeked into the nest box yesterday and got a quick shot of the six eggs.

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Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

What gorgeous bluebird shots, Dave! We are watching some bluebirds in our fields, too, but I can't get that close to them. What kind of camera equipment are you using? Very impressive results!

Stafford County, VA

My favorite set up is the Canon EOS 1D Mark 4 and a 400mm f/4 lens, and I expect most of the shots I post here were taken with that combination, but the shot of the eggs was taken with a Canon 5D with a 100mm macro lens. Even with this pro level equipment the real secret is luring the birds up closer to where you are. Their nest box is just 20 feet from the house and the meal worm feeder that always draws them is even closer.

Thanks for the comment. Glad you enjoy them.

Dave

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I know it's not just the equipment, but I wondered how long your lens was. I have a hard time getting sharp pictures with my 400 lens so I don't use it. I should try meal worm feeding, though; I never have. We just see ours flitting around the field when we're working in our garden or walking down the driveway.

Stafford County, VA

I actually have bigger and heavier lenses: A 400mm f/2.8, 500mm f/4 and a 600mm f/4, and of course the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, but those lenses are very heavy and require tripods. The 400mm I use most is Canon's DO model. It features a sophicated mirrored system and as a result is quite a lot smaller and lighter than you would expect with a normal 400mm. I am 74 but I can hand hold it very easily.

If you don't have one already, consider putting a NABS-approved bluebird nest box and baffle on a pole closer to your house. Place it where it will be convenient for you to shoot pictures (Consider the view from a window, for example, or some other convenient blind, such as a shed, where you can set up and not spook them. In winter I often shoot from inside.)

The birds are always looking for housing and will find a new nest box right away. The season is just starting and there's still time for one or two nestings (if not three) in your area. If you have a field they probably already have plenty of insects so you would only need to provide meal worms as a supplement, for example during the week just before the nestlings fledge. At that point they are growing like weeds and devour an enormous amount of food.

Stafford, VA

Dave

I really like your shot of the 6 eggs. I have never seen that many eggs in a BB nest. They must be comfortable with your setup knowing that you have a supply of mealies to help them with "child rearing".

David

Stafford County, VA

Thanks David.
Here are a couple of shots taken 15 minutes ago through the 300mm 2.8 lens from very close range (inside 10 feet).

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Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We have several bluebird boxes and two special bluebird houses with predator guards made by a friend. The bluebirds use the boxes that are affixed to the posts in our field but don't seem to like the special bluebird houses. Those attract house wrens and chickadees more typically, although tree swallows do try to take over the boxes at times.

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