Here is the male BB, didn't expect this shot. I only have a pair left and they wait for me above the feeder at the same time everyday. I have been grinding dry cat food to add protein to the mealworms as they eat that. The weather here in W. Pa., is going to get very cold this upcoming weekend, will have to get more suet made for "everyone."
The female coming out with a mealworm.
I so miss my bluebirds in the winter! I am in central Maine and my bluebirds arrive in late March and stay until early November. My husband and I have set up a small bluebird trail on our property and have approximately 20 houses. Most of these houses are occupied by tree swallows and chickadees and we usually get at least one pair of bluebirds. Over the years I have encouraged neighbors to put out houses and some have had much success. I feed my bluebirds dried mealworms twice a day when they are breeding and raising young. The pair will raise two broods and we end up with about eight to ten new blues each season. One male came back at least four years in a row until last year when a new male arrived and was leary of me I knew my male had passed away. The female knew just where to get her meal and It didn't take long for the new guy to get used to feeding time. This summer after the first set of nestlings fledged the pair started on a new nest and were raising their nestlings when the female disappeared. I watched the male for seven days feed his babies on his own and on the eighth day all five of them fledged. It was the fourth of July! I was so amazed and proud of this new Papa and we bonded. He brought all his babies back to feed on worms and he let me photograph them. I'll post pictures later. I could go on and on...
Would love to trade stories and look forward to making some new friends!
"A flash of blue against a field of brown and color enters my spring."
These are beautiful shots I love the one where he is in flight what a great capture. Keep them coming ...can you help me with some thing I want to post some pictures but I dont know how can you tell me where to go to do that lol
Janet & Karin,
I uploaded those pictures from my computer to photobucket, which then I can just copy and paste them into this site. The only problem is not knowing the size to enlarge or shrink that would fit good. Those bluebird pics ended up being too large and cut off the side and I didn't feel like going back into photobucket to keep playing around. On those sites like photobucket you can store many photos for future use. I wish we could paste them directly from our computer. The other photo site to use is flickr I believe....something like that.
Anyway Janet, I live in W. Pa. and I was fortunate a few years ago to first get bluebirds. Like you I have tree swallows that will come and use the boxes, which I just love, we never have bugs here. I just got 2 more bluebird boxes to get put up by March. I noticed I have 2 males and one female, which some have been missing. The pair that bred last June, had at least 3 and don't know where they all went. Hoping in my heart, some moved on. But I have hawks here. I had just posted on the bird watching forum about the hawks, perhaps being attacked more to the Red Cardinal, found 2 areas of feathers. Plus I stand guard alot for the BB. Where I live is an ideal nature setup for all, fields, woods, thickets, but the hawks and owls love it too.
Myself and a friend of mine had so much trouble with the House Sparrow, I had 2 nests of bluebird eggs destroyed by them, plus they came in and pecked to death baby robins that were quite large and always destroy the robins eggs. My friends BB eggs just hatched, the next day the HOSP came and tossed all the babies out!
I had to order 5,000 more mealworms, almost running out now. The ones that I raise are still so tiny and need to hurry up and grow. I have been putting ground up dry cat food in with the cornmeal the worms eat to give a little protein to the BB.
I just posted some info on my last post for you to read in regards to the house sparrows.
I unfortunately have lost bluebirds to hawks as well. I couple of years ago I had a pair of bluebirds getting ready to nest and I noticed that the female wasn't around. I later found her feathers in a pile. The male left but came back a day or two later with another mate. They nested and had five nestlings. One day while mowing the lawn I found this female dead on the grass. She had run into a vehicle. I was beside myself...two females gone before they even had a chance to raise one brood!
I watched the male all that afternoon and the next day to see if he would be able to raise the nestlings on his own. My estimate was that they were only about 5 days old. I thought that he just wasn't going in to feed them as often as I had seen them feed in the past. I even went out and bought mealworms to make it easier for him. He took the worms to them but it still wasn't enough. It was a cold rainy spring and I worried that the nestlings would be at risk for hypothermia. The female is the one who keeps the babies warm with her brood patch. Something the male does not have. I called our local bird rehahilitation center and they told me to "get those babies here to us fast!" So I gathered the little guys up and placed them on a warm rice bag inside a basket and drove an hour to meet the veterinarian, my heart pounding the entire time. They were peeping the whole way and I tryed to calm them by talking softly to them. When I arrived the vet took the birds and I watched as he fed them each with an eye dropper filled with food. He told me I did the right thing but all I kept thinking about was the Papa." What will he do now?"
...I got home and watched with a broken heart as the male kept going to the post where the box was and eventually he gave up and left. His entire family gone. But two days later he was back...with mate number three! I knew it was him because he went right to the mealworms and he followed me around the yard. They nested in a different house and raised four babies. That was the year I started feeding the bluebirds mealworms and the year I bonded with this male. He came back four more years and came to know my voice when I called him in for feeding time. He and his mate were successful from that time forward. (There is another story for another time)
Later when the first baby blues were ready to be released I took the hour long drive back to pick up my fledglings...all five survived and I felt fortunate to get these birds back home. I released them in honor of a dear friend who had passed away that morning from cancer. It was a bitter sweet morning that I will never forget. The fledglings flew right for the trees. My work was done for the time being.
I am always amazed by these birds. They have changed my life forever!
Oh Janet you are such a wonderful person! I just loved the happy ending to the baby blues. I know the feeling in my heart when you feel for the father bluebird when he "lost" his family. Some people will think we are total nuts, but I don't care. I remember how I felt when the faithful robins took care of their babies, and the HOSP killed the babies right before they would fledge. Don't know if you ever read any of my old posts, but I am sure I wrote it somewhere......that day the robins died......told my son to go buy me a good .22 with the best scope. Plus I do have the Blaine's Trap.
I worry so much about all the birds here. I just came in a few minutes ago and the BB were chirping at me for more mealworms. I am running low and it makes me sad. So I will at least go shopping today in this horrible weather to get more ingredients for suet. At least if they are really hungry there will be something out there.
You have also gave me thought that I should prepare to know where a local vet might take care of any injured bird or babies. We do have a large clinic about 15 miles away and it happens my neighbor works there, so I will give her a call and she might be able to help with knowing who to contact.
Today I was out early in this cold snowy weather chasing the hawk off. I am not going to do anything about the House Sparrows to the weather gets warmer, I don't want any native birds to get into the trap in this type of weather.
I just love you! So happy that there are people like you helping.
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