When we moved to our farm, we were greeted by Eastern bluebirds, who perched on the wire fences on both sides of our driveway. One pair started making their nest in the eve of the barn but after careful consideration opted for another place to nest. They probably figured that out after the first downpour and looked for a slightly used woodpecker hole nearby. Perhaps they were new parents.
We decided this year (1st of March) to put up bluebird nesting boxes in hopes of giving our lovely neighbors homes of their own that would be ideal locations for them. I never realized what particular home shoppers bluebirds can be. I’ve observed several pairs going in and out of the four nesting boxes, checking out everything and seemingly not settling on any one of them….yet.
One nesting box that a friend gave me for my birthday last year has a living roof…so cute and apparently tasty as the squirrels have eaten most of it this winter. I placed it on the corner post of our deck thinking that the little wren who sings his heart out everyday for me on that post might be interested in getting hitched since he could present his bride with this solid home in his favorite hangout.
Alas, the bluebirds found it and have been considering it and shooing away every other bird who even looks in that direction. Mind you it is not an ideal place for the Eastern bluebirds who prefer open meadows where they can scan for insects (up to 60 feet) and to top it off, these colorful crazy bluebirds are constantly peering in our house as if they are considering it as well. I will look up and there are four beady eyes looking at me. Its like they have sticky feet adhered to our windows. If they weren’t so pretty I might think about a restraining order for stalking.
I know the male is supposed to wave around some nesting material then head on in and the female is suppose to follow and the deed is as good as signed but I haven’t noticed this. What I have observed is both male and female enter at one point or another while the other watches closely for troublemakers. This goes on for a couple of hours then nothing. Later on another couple comes and does the dance. I can tell them it won’t suit them because of all the human activity going in and out onto the deck but I don’t think they want my opinion.
My hope is that bluebirds will fill all the bluebird houses that we have put up for them and many happy bluebird children will enjoy our farm as much as we do… and if they eat a multitude of Japanese and cucumber beetles (or any other problematic bug) in the process, well that wouldn’t hurt my feelings.
Cool Facts from Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- The male Eastern Bluebird displays at his nest cavity to attract a female. He brings nest material to the hole, goes in and out, and waves his wings while perched above it. That is pretty much his contribution to nest building; only the female Eastern Bluebird builds the nest and incubates the eggs.
- Eastern Bluebirds typically have more than one successful brood per year. Young produced in early nests usually leave their parents in summer, but young from later nests frequently stay with their parents over the winter.
- Eastern Bluebirds occur across eastern North America and south as far as Nicaragua. Birds that live farther north and in the west of the range tend to lay more eggs than eastern and southern birds.
- Eastern Bluebirds eat mostly insects, wild fruit and berries. Occasionally, Eastern Bluebirds have also been observed capturing and eating larger prey items such as shrews, salamanders, snakes, lizards and tree frogs.
- The oldest recorded Eastern Bluebird was 10 years 5 months old.
- Nesting Facts
- Clutch Size
- 2–7 eggs
- Number of Broods
- 1-3 broods
- Egg Length
- 0.7–0.9 in
- 1.8–2.4 cm
- Egg Width
- 0.6–0.7 in
- 1.5–1.9 cm
- Incubation Period
- 11–19 days
- Nestling Period
- 17–21 days
- Egg Description
- Pale blue or, rarely, white.
- Condition at Hatching
- Naked except for sparse tufts of dingy gray down, eyes closed, clumsy.