Bluebird Update April 12, 2012

I inspected all six of our bluebird nest boxes on Tuesday April 10 and there are definitely some changes to report.

The nest that had contained 4 chickadee eggs on April 3 now has 5 eggs and 2 tiny hatchlings. The birds apparently have added 3 more eggs for a total of seven, and, two of the previously laid eggs have hatched.

Two tiny hatchllngs and five eggs are currently inside the chickadee nest (4/10/12).

It’s difficult to convey how small and fragile those little hatchlings are. Pictures help, but you have to see the hatchlings in person to appreciate the delicate vulnerability of the tiny creatures in the nest.

One of the bluebird nests now contains 6 eggs where last week there were four. And another has 3 nestlings where the week before there were 4 eggs. Wait, there were four eggs the week before and now there are three nestlings and no eggs? What happened?

Three young bluebirds snuggle up to each other as I look for the fourth egg, or nestling (4/10/12).

I could only see three nestlings in the nest box pictured above. There may have been another egg under the nestlings but in the short time that I watched I could see no sign of another egg or hatchling. Even as the little nestlings wriggled about the nest I saw nothing other than the three shown.

One nest box again contained a wasp nest, the same box that had wasps nesting in it last week. I once again removed the wasps and, well, we’ll just have to wait to see what happens next week.

So, to sum up, as of Tuesday April 10 we have 4 bluebird nests with 16 eggs and 3 hatchlings, 1 chickadee nest containing 5 eggs and 2 hatchlings, and 1 empty box, empty of birds that is.

Stay tuned.

2 responses to Bluebird Update April 12, 2012

  1. Wendy says:

    Greg, lovely pictures. Can you explain a little bit how the eyes are developing at this stage? Do they have eyelids yet?

    • Greg Dodge says:

      Unlike chickens and ducks which are precocial and hatch with feathers and eyes wide open, our little helpless, naked-bodied bluebird and chickadees’ eyes will open as slits in anywhere from 5-7 days and by 8-11 days will be fully open. The eyelids are there, they just haven’t fully developed.
      As of now, the birds react to sound. Any noise around the box, such as a parent flying in to land at the entrance hole, or a naturalist opening the side of the box to see what’s inside, will cause the birds to perk up, open their wide gaping mouths, and sway back and forth hoping to have food shoved into them (their mouths).

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