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awatkins
04-12-2006, 03:43 AM
Yay! There's a pair of Eastern bluebirds starting a nest in the birdhouse we put up. They are so beautiful--that shade of blue feels good on my eyeballs. :)

Lauri B
04-12-2006, 05:12 PM
Hi Anne!
You're so lucky--too soon for bluebirds for us still. The robins have just come back, so I know spring is coming, however slowly.
Bluebirds are my absolute favorite bird.

awatkins
04-12-2006, 11:52 PM
Hi Lauri! I love all kinds of wild birds, but bluebirds are my favorite, too. :)

Here's the latest update: Mr. Bluebird hangs around with bits of dried grass in his beak while Mrs. Bluebird goes busily in and out of the birdhouse with nesting materials. Mr. will sit on top of the house or hop around nearby, chattering the whole time.

Sometimes he goes inside the box, but always comes back out, grass still clutched in his beak. When she's in the box, he'll hang on the entry hole and stick his head inside. You can hear them discussing things; then he comes back out with the grass again. I guess the stuff he picks out doesn't suit her. lol

awatkins
04-13-2006, 07:03 PM
Mulching the flower gardens today (yay! I love gardening!) and Blue is annoyed with me. He sat on top of the birdhouse once and thoroughly scolded me. Now he's perched on the edge of the wheelbarrow singing. I guess he told me. :ROFL:

He and the missus are very busy with the nest box and spending lots of time inside it. This is so awesome!

alleycat
04-13-2006, 09:48 PM
I hope you don't have starlings in your area. They can be a real pest taking over the bluebird's houses, and even killing the baby bluebirds in my locale.

ac

awatkins
04-13-2006, 10:11 PM
Hi ac,

I've never seen starlings in this area, but thanks for the tip. House wrens and house sparrows can also be problematic.

Here's a good website for info on Eastern Bluebirds:

http://nabluebirdsociety.org/faq.htm

It's a link from:

http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/

awatkins
04-14-2006, 05:53 PM
Today's gonna be tricky....

We're having a carport put in and it'll be about 18' from the bluebird box. The pair has become accustomed to our bumbling about, working in the yard, playing with the dog, and such, but how will they respond to workmen so close to their nest box? I'm afraid they'll abandon what they've done so far. If so, I'm hoping they'll return after things settle down. The job is only supposed to take one day, so maybe it won't scare them away for good.

The birds are quite funny to watch with their nesting materials. They'll fly up with bits of dried grasses and then either sit on top of the house or on something nearby and work the material. This involves lots of twisting, pecking, and tugging at the stuff to make it suitably pliant (or so I'm supposing; I really don't know what they're doing). Late yesterday afternoon, the male worked with a 2 or 3" bit of twine for several minutes before finally tossing it away. :)

ETA: Thanks kindly to alleycat for the excellent info he sent me re: starlings. I appreciate it!

Nancy
04-15-2006, 01:17 AM
This is the third spring we've lived in our house in the country. We have bluebirds in our bb box for the third year. I love them, too! We drive our non-bird friends nuts talking about bluebird antics.

awatkins
04-19-2006, 12:41 AM
Hi, Nancy! Feel free to come here and talk about animals any time! :)

Bluebird update: Turns out that the biggest thing to bother the nesting pair so far hasn't been starlings, wrens, finches, noise or anything like that. It's a pair of rival bluebirds! I've seen fierce battles over the last couple of days. This morning, 'our' male wrestled another male all the way down to the ground. There was much vocalization, pecking, and flapping until they separated and flew away.

I'd been watching another female bluebird collecting nesting materials for a few days, but she always took her stuff into the woods. She must have noticed the box at the end of our house and sent her mate to check it out. Guess we'll have to wait and see who wins. It's a soap opera, I tell ya.

Nancy
04-19-2006, 12:57 AM
Too funny! I was just thinking today at the day job (yuck)that I should email you all with a bluebird question!

I watched what I think are tree swallows harassing my bluebirds yesterday. The male bb would fly up and scare them off. He's a fiesty guy. Sounds like this is typical behavioral for the "squatter" birds?

I do know that with other bluebirds, territory is a huge issue. I read that each mating pair will have around a 5- acre territory!!

eldragon
04-19-2006, 01:04 AM
I hope you don't have starlings in your area. They can be a real pest taking over the bluebird's houses, and even killing the baby bluebirds in my locale.

I just had a long conversation with our vet today, about starlings. (We took our pet rat to the vet, she bloated up to twice her size.........she had x-rays and is on heart medication).


Anyway - we had a pet starling last summer: a cat got her when she was a tiny baby and we raised the bird. (REHABS won't keep them). Anway, that bird stole my heart, stole my husband's heart. Related to crows ........starlings are very intelligent birds.

She dropped dead after about 6 months, no reason why.

(We even took her with us when we evacuated for Katrina - she was probably the only starling to spend the night inside a Marriot.)


Back to the vet : he works with all animals, is one of the few vets in the US licensed to work with everything - works with bears, lions, birds, snakes, you name it...............and he has been bitten by bears, snakes, you name it......and the only living thing he hates or has killed or will kill ......is a starling.


Because of the reasons sited already on this thread. They are not native to the US.......and they bully lots of native birds.


But as mean as they might be to other birds, they sure make great pets.

awatkins
04-19-2006, 01:08 AM
You're right, Nancy, bluebirds are very territorial. I'd hoped the other bluebirds were setting up housekeeping far enough away to avoid trouble, but it looks like they have other ideas. Ack.

Like ac said, starlings can be trouble, as can some types of finches and wrens. Sounds like tree swallows can go on the list, as well.

You might want to check out this bluebird website: http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/

You'll have to look through the various links to find it, but somewhere in there they discuss some of the birds that commonly disturb bluebird nests.

awatkins
04-19-2006, 01:11 AM
Pam, we must have been posting at the same time. :)

Do you have any idea why your starling died? I wonder if all the stress caused by the hurricane had anything to do with it.

Hope your rat gets better!

eldragon
04-19-2006, 03:57 AM
Do you have any idea why your starling died? I wonder if all the stress caused by the hurricane had anything to do with it.

Hope your rat gets better!

We have no idea why the starling died.


However, we had moved to a different house, and in the business of getting settled (and our new house has 12 foot ceilings) I wasn't letting her out of the cage for exercise as often as at the old house. It just wasnt' safe. Granted, she got out of her cage once at our old house, and flew up in a giant oak tree, and yelled and screamed for me to come out and get her!


But here - we are the country - there are hawks and all kinds of predator birds. Plus, we have cats.


She was in her cage, hanging in a shady area on the front porch, and I asked my daughter to go make sure she had fresh water. She tended to play in it, so her water needed changed about a dozen times per day. My daughter came in and said "She's on the floor of her cage." I ran out, grabbed the bird, who was barely alive. She took a few breaths in my hand, then died.


It was terrible.


Regarding our rat, I hope she gets better, too!

If the medicine doesn't work, the doctor recommended surgery - but that's $400. Our bill today was $100, and to tell you how rare it is to see rat owners pay for vet care - this doctor has only seen 4 rats in 8 years.

Nancy
04-20-2006, 12:25 AM
Pam:

Sorry to hear about your bird. She sounds like she was really a joy to have around.

And I hope your rat is feeling better. As for vet bills, my husband and don't seem to be able to day "no." But it is hard, I know.

awatkins
04-25-2006, 07:14 PM
The female is spending long periods of time in the nestbox. Occasionally the male sits on top of the box and warbles softly. I guess they must have sorted out the property issues they had with the other pair of bluebirds. Let's hope so, anyway.

awatkins
05-18-2006, 10:48 PM
I don't know how many babies are in the box, but they're loud when they're hungry! You can hear them peeping and cheeping. :)

The parents have been fetching and carrying bugs, worms, grasshoppers, and other unidentifiable items into the box for a couple of weeks now. Despite hail and thunderstorms, tons of rain, construction of the carport going on right beside the nest box, and even a couple of cats trying to climb up the post, the bluebird family is hanging in there.

Gary
05-19-2006, 02:02 AM
Watching baby bluebirds fledge can be very entertaining. I had a pair raise 4 broods last year and we had bluebirds all over the place! There were so many, they had to take turns at the birdbath.

For those who worry about tree swallows or violet green swallows taking over bluebird houses, there is a simple answer...put up more houses. While bluebirds are very territorial, they co-exist with swallows very well.

I have no problem with starlings in my bluebird houses, since the entrance size keeps them out. I also put my bluebird houses no more than 5' from the ground and starlings don't feel comfortable trying to nest that low. House sparrows and wasps are another matter.

awatkins
05-19-2006, 02:58 AM
Four broods/clutches! Wow! We were wondering how many babies a pair might raise in a season, but I had no idea they might be that busy. lol

Thanks for your comments. :)