Monday, June 27, 2016

Bluebird nests

Today I went birdbox monitoring with Bob of the Southern California Bluebird Club, and many of the boxes were populated. The captions are my best estimate of the age of these young.

14 days

3 days

5 days-- look at this one gaping at the camera!

3 days

14 days

An unusually large clutch

One box, holding three nestlings probably a bit over a week old, was overrun with ants. This has happened before at the same location, but fortunately Bob has a method for dealing with infestations, which was successful in that case-- he keeps replacement birdboxes and old bluebird nests (generally ones abandoned before eggs were laid) on hand. There was also some monofilament fishing line in their nest. I moved the warm, fuzzy, rubbery, squirming babies one by one, making sure their bodies were free of ants, as they flapped their quilled wings and grasped my hand with their tiny talons.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Elder sibling

A bluebird perched near its nestbox with a beakful of bug, ready to feed hungry babies, is a common enough sight-- but this one is a youngster itself!

The juvenile-- presumably an older sibling of the nestlings-- made several attempts at getting into the box (it seemed to have difficulty keeping its grip on the wood below the hole), while the babies squeaked plaintively within. At last it got in, and emerged a moment later empty-beaked: