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Bird Watching: Bluebird thread Number 5

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 29, 2008
5:54 PM

Post #4726590

Here is a shot of Mama, in one of her brief moments outside the nestbox today.

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 29, 2008
5:56 PM

Post #4726594

Another view

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 29, 2008
5:59 PM

Post #4726608

And another, but not the best focus

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 29, 2008
6:01 PM

Post #4726619

And Papa, on watch

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 29, 2008
6:05 PM

Post #4726627

Here he is, amid the spooker strips

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 29, 2008
6:07 PM

Post #4726633

Another shot of Papa

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 29, 2008
6:09 PM

Post #4726639

And a frequent visitor is back

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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

March 29, 2008
6:17 PM

Post #4726658

Wonderful pics Dave!

Papa looks right at home w/ the Sparrow Spooker.

The Tufted Titmouse shot is great!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 29, 2008
9:20 PM

Post #4727205

Another non-bluebird shot. This one taken a few minutes ago in my in-law's yard, at Baltimore.

Dave

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dellrose
The Ozarks, MO
(Zone 5b)

March 29, 2008
9:28 PM

Post #4727231

I love all of your shots...blue or non-blue, they are beautiful.
OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

March 29, 2008
11:20 PM

Post #4727582

Dave, your photos really are stunning. It's impressive the way you've caught the cardinal with his crest up, and glancing over his shoulder. Is photography your profession?
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 30, 2008
3:43 AM

Post #4728728

Profession? No. Obsession? Some think so.

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 30, 2008
3:45 AM

Post #4728733

Headed back to the nest.

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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

March 30, 2008
9:33 AM

Post #4729176

Lovely shot!
OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

March 30, 2008
11:46 AM

Post #4729280

Obsession? Well, thank you very much for feeding mine! Looking forward to today's bb antics.
Marilynbeth
Hebron, KY

March 31, 2008
12:50 AM

Post #4732452

Dave,

Beautiful photos!

Marilyn
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
12:59 AM

Post #4732513

Sort of a dismal, overcast day hereabouts. Kind that makes the birds worry all day that it's getting dark, I guess. Anyway, they were all lined up for meal worms, all day long. Lots of photo opportunities for shots of Papa, since he has decided they are his worms and to chase away all birds his size or smaller (And he apparently thinks he's as big as a cowbird or a starling!)

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:01 AM

Post #4732518

Front view

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:02 AM

Post #4732531

A wee bit mad

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:14 AM

Post #4732595

Here's Mama on one of her brief visits outside the nestbox. She's expecting, You know...

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:15 AM

Post #4732604

And here's Papa bringing her lunch.

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:18 AM

Post #4732612

Another shot of Mama. She does look tired.

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:19 AM

Post #4732620

Another visitor

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:21 AM

Post #4732631

I put this bowl out with mealworms for the bluebirds. Look who showed up.

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:22 AM

Post #4732648

Check out the tongue action in this one.

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:24 AM

Post #4732657

Finall, he decides to get up ON the dish

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:32 AM

Post #4732699

And he does

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
1:34 AM

Post #4732711

Another frequent visitor

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muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 31, 2008
1:40 AM

Post #4732746

Hi Dave - is that some sort of warbler? Don't recognize it. Your Red Bellied pics are great!

I was cleaning out bb boxes on my cemetery trail today & thought I heard a bb - I hope not, as it's still too cold here and...snow expected tomorrow!! How wrong is THAT.
pelletory
Marlton, NJ

March 31, 2008
1:53 AM

Post #4732830

Great pics Dave! I love the Red-bellied Woodpecker along w/ the Carolina Chickadee and the Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Can't forget those Blues; lovely!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
3:12 AM

Post #4733267

Yes, Muddylou, it is a yellow rumped warbler. Commonly known as a butter-butt. He comes by every spring and stays 2 or 3 weeks, then moves on. Same way with an Eastern Phoebe. He hasn't shown up yet this year, but has stopped off the past several years

This message was edited Mar 31, 2008 12:31 AM

This message was edited Mar 31, 2008 12:43 PM
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 31, 2008
4:36 PM

Post #4735466

Ha! I love it - butter butt! Guess where Butter Butt and Eastern Phoebe end up? At my cabin!! (along the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota). The forest there just teems with warblers in the summer. We've had a phoebe couple nesting under our cabin eaves for the past 5 or so years (but sadly not last year...I saw them around, but did not spot the nest). I find warbler ID to be extremely difficult - they tend to be small & FAST.
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
5:10 PM

Post #4735651

Very wet here this morning. Nice time for Mama to be inside the nestbox. No such shelter for Papa.

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
5:14 PM

Post #4735667

Or for the chickadee

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

March 31, 2008
5:20 PM

Post #4735697

Another shot of wet Papa

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muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

March 31, 2008
5:28 PM

Post #4735744

Get out the blowdryer!!!!!!

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2008
6:39 PM

Post #4736108

Hey, that blue on the bluebird is Cubs blue! And he looks like he's been at Wrigley Field today in all the rain! Yes, I have opening day fever!! I want to photoshop in a Cubs logo oh his breast. LOL.
indiana_lily
Jeffersonville, IN
(Zone 6b)

March 31, 2008
8:05 PM

Post #4736464

Oh wow! Is it really opening day at Wrigley? Gosh, sometimes I miss living there. :)
Dave, amazing pictures! Maybe instead of "obsession," "hobby" would be a more complimentary word? :)
Marilynbeth
Hebron, KY

April 2, 2008
3:00 PM

Post #4745754

Beautiful pics Dave!
plantnutz
Austell, GA
(Zone 7a)

April 2, 2008
10:51 PM

Post #4747629

Beautiful! I do so love the bluebirds. We do not get any of them at our feeders but we have probably a dozen or more cardinals.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 2, 2008
11:29 PM

Post #4747835

Okay, tomorrow's the expected due date, right?
pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 2, 2008
11:41 PM

Post #4747891

Oh thats right! Thanks for the reminder!
OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

April 3, 2008
12:00 AM

Post #4747981

I'm keeping this forum open all day tomorrow at work, Dave. Can't wait!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 3, 2008
2:50 AM

Post #4748911

Well, let's hope.

You can never be absolutely certain with the first brood of the season. Two years ago the first one didn't hatch. It was awfully cold that spring. I let her sit for about 21 days and then removed the eggs (and the nest). I could have removed them before that, but you just keep hoping and waiting one more day. I hear she would have sit on them for a month or more before she would have abandoned the nest.

She built a new nest 2 days later and that brood was successful.

I'll be checking throughout the day tomorrow and keep you posted.

Dave

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2008
1:26 AM

Post #4753569

rats… I was gone all day and thought maybe when I got back I'd have some good news that we had some "3rd Cousin" baby blue birds.
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 4, 2008
2:35 AM

Post #4753950

Sorry to dissappoint you but when I last checked,about 3:00 pm, still no hatchlings. It was rather raw and raining pretty hard just before dark and I couldn't bring myself to chase her out so I could look again. Maybe it's a good thing they weren't hatched today. Probably a lot easier for her to keep the eggs warm tonight than the little birds.

I did look several times during the day and interestingly, each time after I did, the male flew down and went in to check the interior before the female went back in.

Here is a shot of the eggs. There is an interesting color flaw on the egg nearest the camera that I had not seen previously. She keeps turning them and it was probably out of sight on the underside when I looked previously.

Dave

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Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

April 4, 2008
12:20 PM

Post #4755415

Looks like a bit of white something (maybe nest material, perhaps tissue paper) stuck to the egg

Resin
pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 4, 2008
12:22 PM

Post #4755422

Their such a beautiful blue. :-)
Shan71
Danvers, MA

April 4, 2008
12:24 PM

Post #4755431

It's not very often that you get to look at a nest close up. What an amazing piece of architecture. With no blueprints or hands even.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2008
1:00 PM

Post #4755560

Pretty cool that BLUE birds lay BLUE eggs. Okay, I'll keep pacing!!!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 4, 2008
1:41 PM

Post #4755731

Actually, the nest, and particularly the cup portion, was even neater before she began laying eggs (and I began pulling down the front edge so I could get a more unobstructed picture).

As to the possible color flaw, when I looked just now I found she had rolled the eggs again, so that the part of that egg is no longer visable to me. I do see that there is an apparent color flaw on a different egg. I still believe these are color flaws and not tissue or some other foreign substance. Bluebirds are particularly neat and I have never seen such foreign materials carried into a nest.

We may never know for certain because if they hatch today, as I believe they will, Mama will probably eat the egg shells. Should they not hatch, which is certainly possible, I will examine and protograph them with a better camera and post the results here.

And Mrs Ed, I am pacing too. Incidentally, you may not know but some bluebirds lay white eggs. Quite rare but it is a genetic trait, apparently passed down through certain females. But the birds that hatch from white eggs are identical in appareance to the ones hatched from blue eggs.

Dave

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2008
1:47 PM

Post #4755745

They EAT the shells? Why? Interesting fact about the white shells too.
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 4, 2008
2:03 PM

Post #4755802

It helps replenish their loss of calcium. It also gets rid of nest clutter, which BBs apparently deplore. I have never found broken egg shells in a nest and have only once seen a female fly out of the nestbox with a piece of a blue egg shell. And I did manage to photograph that incident.

The birds apparently sense that the time is near. Papa has been inside the nestbox frequently, sometimes while the female was also in there.

Dave

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2008
2:05 PM

Post #4755811

oh booyyyyy.

pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 4, 2008
7:43 PM

Post #4757452

Oh this is getting exciting!!
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 4, 2008
9:24 PM

Post #4757882

Welllllllllll? Is it time to pass out the cigars yet??

Got my first sight of bluebirds today, in my backyard - they've finally made it to MN!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 4, 2008
9:46 PM

Post #4757968

No cigars yet. No fingernails left either. I'll check again before dark. If something doesn't happen tonight or tomorrow, I'll really start to worry. Glad you are finally seeing BBs up there, Lou

Spring will get there, eventually. Even in Minnesota.

Dave
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 4, 2008
9:59 PM

Post #4757998

Geeeeez...I feel for you Dave!! It can be so nerve-wracking being a bluebird landlord...these MN fingers are CROSSED for you & your birds.

I must say, though, that seeing the first flash of that brilliant blue in the spring is a feeling like no other... makes the stress worth it.
OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

April 4, 2008
10:05 PM

Post #4758019

I wondered why no shells were left last year after the birds had fledged! Thanks for the schooling Dave.

Glad to know bbs have arrived in MN lou. That means Western NY is not far behind.
OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

April 4, 2008
10:07 PM

Post #4758030

I just can't wait to see them lou! I'm finding it very difficult to work with one eye out the window.
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 4, 2008
10:37 PM

Post #4758132

I know what you mean OP! I had to check the backyard every 5 minutes today - can't get a whole lot done - but today they just stopped by in the morning & I haven't seen them since (the usual MO for this time of year) - I'm running out for mealworms tomorrow tho - MN weather is soooooo iffy this time of year & I can't have those birds going hungry. ; )

meanwhile, waiting for Dave's babies...arrrggghhhh...
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
1:20 AM

Post #4758914

Well, while we wait, let's see some of that blue you all are watching for.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
1:21 AM

Post #4758920

And another. Just a little wing waving

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
1:23 AM

Post #4758925

One more...

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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 5, 2008
1:23 AM

Post #4758927

Oh my gosh I alsmost screamed when I saw there was a new post in your thread Dave!
Beautiful pics!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
1:25 AM

Post #4758937

I'm tempted to post an old picture of the birds in the nest. It would be too cruel.

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
1:28 AM

Post #4758948

Last one. And it's one of Mama, during one of her breaks.

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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 5, 2008
1:48 AM

Post #4759018

Oh that would be cruel Dave! ;-)

If these eggs don't work out then maybe just to tide us over till the next ones. :-)
dellrose
The Ozarks, MO
(Zone 5b)

April 5, 2008
4:40 AM

Post #4759649

Beautiful Dave!!

Do they still wing wave after she starts sitting on the nest?
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
5:20 AM

Post #4759759

Yes, they both do. It's kinda like a greeting, almost every time when he first sees her. She does it less than he does though.

Dave
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
12:07 PM

Post #4760463

Ok, I checked first thing this morning, and we have our first. I had to use the flash since it is so dark in there otherwise.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
12:08 PM

Post #4760469

Here's another try. I'll switch cameras now and try to get a better shot.

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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 5, 2008
12:10 PM

Post #4760472

Woohoo!!! Here we go!! Congratulations Dave!!!

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 5, 2008
12:11 PM

Post #4760479

YAYYYYYYYY phwew!!! *deep breaths*
dellrose
The Ozarks, MO
(Zone 5b)

April 5, 2008
12:21 PM

Post #4760506

Whippee!! Can't wait to see the others...what a cutie pie!

Thanks for the info on the female wing wave...I had not witnesses it until yesterday!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
12:34 PM

Post #4760548

I would like to get some shots of a baby, just as it cuts its way out of the shell, but one would probably need a nest cam to get those. Mama is willing to leave the nest, but not for long. You can see how exposed the little one is. This shot is with the first camera also. I can't seem to get those close up shots with any of my newer stuff.

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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 5, 2008
12:41 PM

Post #4760576

Wonderful shots Dave. Very sweet!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
1:02 PM

Post #4760639

And then there were two

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
1:11 PM

Post #4760679

Another shot. I'm switching back and forth with several cameras here, just trying to get something decent.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
1:12 PM

Post #4760681

Putting their heads together.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 5, 2008
1:16 PM

Post #4760707

Aww,so adorable! They'll all hatch today?

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 5, 2008
1:23 PM

Post #4760739

oh boy!!!!

Dave, I'm dying to know if DW is interested or rolling her eyes at you today!!!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
2:03 PM

Post #4760928

There are two days when she shows real interest: hatch day and fledge day. Otherwise, it's pretty much,' when are you going to get over this?'

She's probably more relieved since she knew I was dreading the prospect of having to remove the nest.

Here is a closeup with one of my Canon cameras and a macro lens.

This message was edited Apr 6, 2008 4:34 PM

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
2:06 PM

Post #4760939

And here is an even closer shot that shows how sparce their foliage is.

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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 5, 2008
2:11 PM

Post #4760958

Love all the detail!
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 5, 2008
2:14 PM

Post #4760970

What a RELIEF!!!!!!! Now I can get on with my life. Nerve-wracking.

Congratulations Dave!! What a good "dad".

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 5, 2008
7:09 PM

Post #4762054

:D

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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 5, 2008
7:51 PM

Post #4762163

Thank you very much. That is so cute!

We now have three, I did take a picture but it is not great. I focused on the one fartherest from me and the nearer ones are badly out of focus. But at least you can see three mouths open. The one on the left is obviously the newest since his feathers/fuzz is still wet. The others have dried. I had one egg hatch a day later in the last brood so maybe that will happen again. When it came time to fledge, one (possibly the same one) didn't go until the day after all the others.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 5, 2008
10:39 PM

Post #4762732

Ha... love how the two older are all fuzzy.

muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 6, 2008
12:33 PM

Post #4765192

Amazing. AMAZING! The detail in your pictures is AMAZING! I've seen many baby blues but never like THIS. Wow!

The Bluebird Monitor book (the one by Keith Kridler, et al) has a story about nestlings fledging on different days...in that case, as I recall, the mom had started brooding before all eggs were laid.

How's your weather there, Grandpapa Dave? Enough insects??

Mrs. Ed, great card!!!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 6, 2008
1:37 PM

Post #4765418

'Morning everyone. Lou, the weather here is, well, just a bit nasty. If it were a bit colder I would call it raw. Good day to be inside.

It is drizzling rain and 40 degrees. Also a good day for Mama and the babies to be inside the box. Not many insects out yet so its good the birds have the mealworms.

As of a few minutes ago, we still have one unhatched egg. I will watch it for a day or two and then remove it. If it hatches today it will probably be all right. If it were to hatch two or more days after the others it probably wouldn't survive in the nest. It's amazing how fast they mature. Just 17 or 18 days after the hatch they fly away, so you can see what even a two day advantage would mean. The more aggressive ones do get more of the food, so a bird that is a couple days behind is at a real disadvantage.

It's funny but the first day you see them peeking out of the hole, is the day they will fledge. I have a lot of pictures taken as they made their first "leap of faith", and it is remarkable how quickly some of them will go, and how hesitant some can be. They must feel a bit like young paratrooper trainees, making their first real jump. I have learned that when they are perched in the opening, and you can see their tiny feet, they are committed and will usually fly in a matter of seconds. I had one change its mind, however, started to leap, and then at the last second, held on by one foot and eventually climbed back inside the box. Quite funny to see and I managed to photograph the entire episode. It might make another drama queen type poster, Mrs Ed.

Dave

Here's Papa on a shepherd's hook, wet but still on the lookout.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2008
1:48 PM

Post #4765466

Dave, I'm game!! I'm still pondering what to do with the Navel shot…That cracks me up.… coffee cups perhaps??? "I can't find my head until I've had my coffee?" Dunno. All ideas accepted!

Well I sure hope # 4 makes it. Now we have to wait for Rose's babies.

Poor Papa out in the cold!!


OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

April 6, 2008
7:02 PM

Post #4766829

Oh my gosh. I take time away to do some "real" work like wash windows, and plant some grass seed, and I almost miss the boat. Mrs._Ed, you have the greatest sense of humor. I'm sitting here laughing, and crying with relief. I guess I'm a bonafide bird nerd now.

muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 6, 2008
9:16 PM

Post #4767381

OH NO OP! Not another birdnerd! Welcome!

Dave, I'd love to see the baby-that-changed-its-mind series when you get a minute (I love the titmouse drama queen series)...

OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

April 6, 2008
9:45 PM

Post #4767499

Mrs. Ed - How about "I don't know which end is up until I've had my coffee."
plantnutz
Austell, GA
(Zone 7a)

April 6, 2008
10:42 PM

Post #4767683

Dave, do you buy the mealworms? If so, where?

We just saw a pair of bluebirds in our yard today. I am so excited.

Brenda

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2008
10:55 PM

Post #4767749

HaHAH. Good one OP.

Dave, any word on #4?


muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 6, 2008
11:31 PM

Post #4767960

Dave's 4th & Rose's 6. Where is Rose anyway? Is she updating on a different thread? A lot of nail biting going on here. Sorry in advance to the nail salon folks; no point in going (truth be told I never get my nails done except sometimes in winter. Too dirty & trashed in spring, summer & fall!).

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2008
11:39 PM

Post #4767991

Yah, this is Dave's thread… she's probably going to have her own Farmyard bluebird thread.

coo13549
Batavia, OH
(Zone 6a)

April 6, 2008
11:53 PM

Post #4768046

Dave, this is amazing. Thank you! Your pictures inspired me to finally decide on an approach to predator prevention (not sure how effective it is!) and get that bluebird house up.

Also, a few years ago when I first started birding, I had a little pamphlet that said that females need calcium from eggs. I now follow the directions and bake up some eggshells every Spring, and the birds seem to studiously avoid them. I've moved from spreading them on the ground where the groundfeeders are to mixing them with the feeder seed. Should I give it up?
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
2:01 AM

Post #4768724

I see I have a few questions to answer. First, still waiting for number four. I've all but given up.

Mrs Ed, your coffee cup ideas sound good to me. And both yours and OP's ideas are very good. The titmice are nesting again too so I may have some more intersting shots of them soon.

Muddy, check back a little later tonight. I will look for the file I hid those shots in.

Yes, Brenda, I do buy my mealworms. For the past 18 months or so I have gotten them from Sunshine in Oregon. I have been very satisfied but they just raised their prices so I may look for some place closer . There are several places in Ohio and I think one or two down your way. I think Bet Zimmerman has a list of web sites and/or phone numbers on her Sialis site. http://www.sialis.org/bluebirdstore.htm#mealworms
I don't expect to find them any cheaper, but maybe I can save on the shipping if they are closer to me.

And finally, Coo, I am sorry but I know very little about feeding eggshells. I only know when I look inside the box, another one has hatched and there are no eggshels in the nest and I watch very closely when she exits the box. Only once have I seen her carry part of a shell out of the nestbox, and that was several years ago.

OK, let me add a picture totally unrelated to all these comments but one you may find interesting if you like to see the detail of the feathers. This was a BB that fledged last year. Instead of flying to the tree as they usually do, he flew to the deck where I was standing. Directly toward me, in fact, and landed at my feet. The parents were going crazy. He then flew over to the window and clung to the screen for a few minutes, so this picture was taken when he was about 3 minutes out of the nestbox.

Dave

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
2:04 AM

Post #4768743

Here's just a little closer view. Hard to believe he can grow that many feathers in 17 days!

This message was edited Apr 6, 2008 10:06 PM

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 7, 2008
2:06 AM

Post #4768756

He is very sweet! I'll bet the parents were going crazy with him being right near you.

Wonderful shot!

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 7, 2008
2:36 AM

Post #4768920

Yah, I can't understand why the parents would be so upset! "oh NO! Not the dreaded man who brings us mealworms!!"

;)
coo13549
Batavia, OH
(Zone 6a)

April 7, 2008
2:46 AM

Post #4768959

Directionally challenged or pilot error? Ham? Or perhaps he knows you're the favorite uncle with treats. Maybe that baby bb was smarter than his parents.
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
2:54 AM

Post #4768991

Could be any of the above, or none... Here is a rather long sequence I mentioned earlier. I cropped these a bit tight so you could see more of the bird and less of the box.

As I mentioned earlier, when you see the tiny feet, it usually means they are ready. But not always.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
2:54 AM

Post #4768997

2

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
2:55 AM

Post #4769003

3

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
2:56 AM

Post #4769010

4

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
2:58 AM

Post #4769024

5 I can't understand why or how he was able to hang on as he did in these next three shots, I'll never know

This message was edited Apr 7, 2008 9:47 AM

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
2:59 AM

Post #4769028

6

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
3:00 AM

Post #4769034

7

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
3:01 AM

Post #4769038

8

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
3:02 AM

Post #4769050

9

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
3:03 AM

Post #4769053

10

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
3:04 AM

Post #4769064

11 Papa comes flying in to try to stop him, but too late. He did fledge a few hours later, just before dark, as I recall.

Dave

This message was edited Apr 6, 2008 11:34 PM

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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dellrose
The Ozarks, MO
(Zone 5b)

April 7, 2008
6:09 AM

Post #4769664

Awesome pics Dave! The little one that changed his mind is a hoot!
pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 7, 2008
11:15 AM

Post #4769826

That is funny; look at that little butt w/ the tiny tail feathers!
goldfinch4
Ripon, WI
(Zone 4a)

April 7, 2008
8:10 PM

Post #4771762

Great baby shots - love their little hair-do's! And I like the one where their heads are together too - so sweet.

That little fledgling is too funny. Amazing he got back in.
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
8:43 PM

Post #4771874

Thanks goldfinch This is what your namesake looks like today.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Marilynbeth
Hebron, KY

April 7, 2008
8:44 PM

Post #4771883

Dave,

Beautiful pics! Love the little baby and fledgling shots! So cute and adorable!

So exciting! Has the fourth egg hatched?

Marilyn
Marilynbeth
Hebron, KY

April 7, 2008
8:46 PM

Post #4771890

Mrs. Ed,

Wonderful card!

Marilyn
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 7, 2008
8:51 PM

Post #4771912

No, sorry to say, the fourth egg did not hatch. I removed it this afternoon. Here are the others and the egg, just before I removed it.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

goldfinch4
Ripon, WI
(Zone 4a)

April 7, 2008
8:51 PM

Post #4771917

What a pretty goldfinch with the blossoms! Ours are just starting to show some yellow now. Won't be long...
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 7, 2008
10:51 PM

Post #4772420

Wow! The-baby-that-changed-his-mind is hilarious! Amazing, too, to think that your tiny little nestlings will be the size of TBTCHM in 3 weeks!!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 8, 2008
1:51 AM

Post #4773447

Here is the egg that didn't hatch. Notice that it is not as blue as it was when it was first laid. Also notice the circle at one end of the egg that is slightly lighter than the rest of the egg.

I'm not sure what it all means. Maybe someone else out there does.

This message was edited Apr 7, 2008 9:53 PM

This message was edited Apr 7, 2008 9:56 PM

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

April 8, 2008
11:05 AM

Post #4774865

Great pictures Dave. There's a reason for everything, but it's still a little sad the egg didn't hatch. The babies look great! You are doing an important service for bbs everywhere by sharing with us.

Mrs. Ed and Rose could come up with some outstanding captions for TBTCHM!

Beautiful weather in OP, with one nesting box up. #2 to be put up this a.m. No bbs in sight yet.
pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 9, 2008
11:12 AM

Post #4780332

Hi Dave, How are the little ones doing?
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 9, 2008
12:41 PM

Post #4780621

They are doing well, thank you. Now four days old. Here is a picture taken about an hour ago.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 9, 2008
12:44 PM

Post #4780638

And here are Mama and Papa, perched on the new shepherd's hook I bought them.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

goldfinch4
Ripon, WI
(Zone 4a)

April 9, 2008
12:46 PM

Post #4780645

What a cute picture - his & her perches!

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

April 9, 2008
1:07 PM

Post #4780692

See the eye is just starting to open in the right-hand chick

Resin
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 9, 2008
1:12 PM

Post #4780720

A morning visitor

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 9, 2008
1:24 PM

Post #4780799

Here you see Papa has been hunting for tiny insects to feed the babies. When all else fails, they will pick out a smaller meal worm (I have a mixture of medium and large at this time) and they will break the worm down before taking it to the nestbox. In a few days the babies will be able to eat mealworms and the parents will load up and take mouthfulls to the nest. I am thinking of temporarily removing the roof of the box in a few days and mounting a camera directly above, to try to get some shots of them feeding the little ones.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 9, 2008
1:36 PM

Post #4780841

Oh, that will be a real treat dave. good luck with that.
Pamgarden
Central, VA
(Zone 7b)

April 9, 2008
1:58 PM

Post #4780965

Dave, Do you handle the babies and look for blowfly larvae like they show on the nabluebird.org site? That really intimidates me, as this is the first time for us. The first time we looked for eggs, we sang and made a little noise as we approached the nest box. Since there was no activity, I opened the front and almost got a face full of Mama bird. I closed the door and she stayed inside. Next day we waited for her to leave the box and we think there were four eggs. Purple Martins continue to fly over, land on, and look inside the unused box 2. Papa and Mama BB still protect box 2, hunt from it, hang from the door and look inside, until the martins get bored and go away, then they return to their normal activities.
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 9, 2008
2:20 PM

Post #4781075

No, I do not handle the babies. I did just once to return one to the nest after it had been removed by the new female. This is my tenth nesting and I've not seen any evidence of bowfly.

I guess we all have had the surprise of having Mama fly out when we were sure she was gone. I make lots of noise approaching and even peck on the side of the box and still, I have had her surprise me. I always stand to the side of the box when I open it.

This message was edited Apr 9, 2008 11:20 AM
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 9, 2008
3:21 PM

Post #4781422

OK Here's one more at the shepherd's hook

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
3:28 AM

Post #4785087

And Mama bringing a snack

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
3:29 AM

Post #4785094

Another angle

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
3:32 AM

Post #4785114

Here's Papa

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
3:34 AM

Post #4785120

Another shot of Papa in flight

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 10, 2008
3:46 AM

Post #4785186

Awesome pics Dave!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
5:30 AM

Post #4785572

One more

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
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2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
5:42 AM

Post #4785598

And one of him sitting still, for a change

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 10, 2008
5:44 AM

Post #4785605

Beautiful!
OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

April 10, 2008
10:32 AM

Post #4785783

You are my hero, Dave! I'm sharing some of your pics with my bb lovers at work to stimulate their interest, and so we can all be supportive of each other when our bbs arrive. Thanks.
goldfinch4
Ripon, WI
(Zone 4a)

April 10, 2008
1:06 PM

Post #4786253

Just love those action shots. Sure gives you a different view of them!
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
1:30 PM

Post #4786355

Thanks for all the nice comments. Here's one of the female.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 10, 2008
1:31 PM

Post #4786365

Holy Cow! That's some DETAIL!

Okay, I heart her now. All is forgiven.
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
1:47 PM

Post #4786427

Here's one from a day or so ago. Papa demonstrates one of the ways he gets the rain out of his eyes (when there is a branch handy).

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
1:50 PM

Post #4786444

And here's the way he does it when there is no branch to wipe against.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 10, 2008
2:10 PM

Post #4786573

Here is a shot I posted on another thread but thought you might like to see it too.

Thumbnail by 2dCousinDave
Click the image for an enlarged view.

pelletory
Marlton, NJ

April 10, 2008
2:41 PM

Post #4786745

Wonderful pics Dave! Love the great detail!!!

The shaking one is awesome w/ the water drops flying off!

Might want to consider starting a new thread soon; getting a little long to load. :-)

OPbirder
Orchard Park, NY

April 11, 2008
12:09 AM

Post #4789299

The shape of his wings and tail feathers lining up against the shepards hook are amazing. You really capture the "aliveness" in the birds.
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 11, 2008
2:41 PM

Post #4792042

Those babies are GROWING! Very exciting. We have SNOW here today, and haven't seen my bbs for about a week now, so am living vicariously through you! Keep those photos coming!! MuddyLou
2dCousinDave
Stafford County, VA

April 11, 2008
4:06 PM

Post #4792426

We got you covered, Lou. But I'm about to retire this thread. Look for more on #6.

Dave

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