Bluebird Diary 2019
Please do not check inside boxes without FOBM permission. Too much disruption may cause birds to abandon their nests. Thanks!
July 20 Box 2 had 3 visible Western Bluebirds in it, which were thriving. Box 5 had at least 4, probably 5 Western Bluebirds in it, looking like they were ready to fledge any day now. Adults were around as were the young from the first batch of birds, which hatched and were quickly followed by more eggs around July 3rd. Box 7 had an empty nest, so presume the 5 Tree Swallows all left home. If all goes well, we should have altogether, 13 new Western Bluebirds this year and 5 to 8 Tree Swallows. Best year, so far!
July 12 Box 1 still had the single blue egg in it, so we tossed the whole nest. It was obviously abandoned. Box 2 had 3 Western Bluebirds in it, very young. See photo above. Box 5 had 2 Western Bluebirds flying in and out of the box. The eggs may have hatched, we didn't disturb them. Box 7 had a couple of young Tree Swallows sitting at the entrance as adults flew in to feed them occasionally. They seemed undeterred by the huge dump trucks passing within a few feet of them.
July 3 Box 1 again had a single blue egg in it which looked abandoned. No bluebirds visible in area. Box 2 had 4 eggs in it and Western Bluebirds close by. Box 3 had only a few twigs in it. Box 5 had 5 Western Bluebird eggs in it with the adults visible close by. We disposed of the dead birds and nest in box 6 which had Tree Swallows in it. Box 7 had about 3 Tree Swallow babies in it. They looked like they were well feathered and will probably fledge very soon.
June 22 Box 1 had a single, new Western Bluebird egg in it. Box 2 also had a single Western Bluebird egg in it. Box 3 had the beginnings of a nest. Box 5 had a Western Bluebird sitting on a nest. Box 6 had at least 1 dead Tree Swallow in it. I wonder what happened here? Box 7 had a Tree Swallow sitting on a nest. Boxes 8 - 12 had nothing other than a few twigs in them. In summary, the Western Bluebirds had fledged in box 1 and there seems to be a second round of nesting happening.
June 9 Box 1 had an adult Western Bluebird sitting with its young on the nest. Another adult Western Bluebird was close by. Box 2 & 3 continue to be empty and box 4 no longer exists. Box 5 had an empty nest so I presume the 5 Western Bluebirds had fledged and flown away. Box 6 had an adult Tree Swallow on the nest, partially covered by feathers. Presumably the eggs have not yet hatched. Boxes 7, 10 and 12 were empty. Box 8 had a few twigs in it and a wasp's nest on the door. I guess the soaped insides did not prevent the wasps from building a nest. Box 9 had a few twigs in it again in the shape of a nest, but no real activity or observation of birds around it.Box 11 had a small nest in it, but not completely formed.
May 26 Box 1 had recently hatched Western Bluebird babies in the nest. Adult was close by. Box 5 had fully feathered Western Bluebird chicks, 4 visible. We will not go into this box again as after 21 days the birds might fly out and not survive. There was the remnants of a fecal sac on the door of the box. I expect to see the chicks flying soon. Box 6 had an adult Tree Swallow sitting on the nest with 1 egg visible.
May 18 Box 1 had a mama Western Bluebird sitting on a nest of 5 eggs. Box 5 had baby Western Bluebirds in the nest (probably 5). Box 6 had a nest without eggs in it. Two Tree Swallows were sitting on the fence nearby. It seems there has been a truce between them and the Western Bluebirds. Box 7 and box 8 had a few twigs in them, but no sign of birds nearby.
Box 1 Mama on nest
Box 5 young Western BBs
May 4 Box 1 had a Western Bluebird sitting on the nest. Later it was discovered there were 5 eggs in the nest. Box 5 had 5 eggs in the nest and some drama, with a full on battle between the bluebirds and the swallows. Both Western Bluebirds and Tree Swallows appeared to be fighting over box 6 which is about 16 feet away. Bluebirds usually tolerate swallows nesting close by which is why the boxes have been paired. However, this pair did not want close neighbours. According to my sources, the boxes can be within 5 to 25 feet. As the bluebirds sat atop box 6, the swallows swooped by them even grabbing one bluebird and forcing it to the ground. We waited fearfully for a few seconds, but the bluebird revived and flew up again. After a few minutes, both pairs of birds flew off and we took the opportunity to pass by. The next monitoring of the boxes will tell the tale of what ultimately happens at the two boxes. Will the bluebirds prevail? Will the swallows win or find new real estate. Stay tuned....
April 21 Again Western Bluebirds have been spotted by 2 nest boxes. Both pairs of Western Bluebirds were seen with straw in their mouths going into the boxes to add a bit more to their architectural masterpieces. Small bits of straw were also seen in boxes 6, 7 and 8. Could these possibly be the beginnings of new nests?
April 13 Birds are starting to nest. Box 1 and Box 5 have nests in them and Western Bluebirds were seen around box 5. House finches were also in the vicinity. Box 7 and 8 both had a few remnants of grass in them. These could be the beginnings of two more nests.
March 30 Although 2 Western Bluebird pairs have been seen checking out boxes, there has been no nesting activity yet.