Heated Birdbaths

My FirstBluebird Family!

by Lola
(Madison, MS USA)

Burt

Burt

Burt Bertha Two babies before molting Bertha and male baby in birdbath

I live in Madison, Mississippi and had my first nesting pair of eastern bluebirds this last spring.


My husband and I have lived in this house for 15 months - I noticed a pair of bluebirds the first week we moved in (July 2013) hanging around the backyard.

They stayed all winter that year so we put up a birdhouse last March (2014) that was given to us as a wedding gift.

I was hoping, but not expecting, that the bluebirds would move in. They did! They claimed the house immediately and starting building a nest. We named them Burt and Bertha.

They laid two sets of eggs from the spring to mid summer, but none of them hatched. I noticed Bertha was building a new nest on top of the old eggs each time - so I decided to clean the house out in hopes that they would start from scratch. They did!

In July they laid their third set of eggs. I was praying the third time would be a charm and it was. They had 4 beautiful baby bluebirds.

I don't know why the previous 2 sets didn't hatch - I checked all those eggs before I cleaned the house out and they were all perfect. No holes or signs of predation or anything. I candled them and there was no development at all inside. Only fluid.

All 4 babies survived as nestlings and fledged and now it is the end of October and all are still alive.

They hang out with their parents and come to my bird bath every day. They even come to the birdhouse and go inside. Like they are learning the story of where they were born.

I'm hoping this spring we can add an additional birdhouse and maybe one of the babies will start a family in that one. The babies are 3 female and 1 male.

I have really enjoyed seeing them grow into their adult feathers. Their spots are all gone now.

I'm wondering how long this family will stay together? Is it common for the babies to stay with their parents for awhile? They stay very close to our backyard. We live on a golf course.

If you look out our back windows at any given time of day - you can usually find them. The only thing I've ever used to photograph them is my iphone camera - so my photos aren't the best.

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Feb 10, 2015
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Forum
by: Gene

Hi Lola, we don't have a regular forum. You can contact us using the form here

Feb 10, 2015
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Forum?
by: Lola

Is there a forum on this site where you can ask questions and things like that? I've been searching, but I dont see one. I need some advice before this next bird season starts..

Oct 28, 2014
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Edited Post
by: Gene

Hi Lola, I've edited your post.

Lisa's post on birdhouses having a perch is good for others who may not be aware.

I would also recommend a Entance Hole Protector (shameless money plug)to keep predators from chewing the opening.

A baffle for raccoons and netting for snakes can be helpful also. I don't have the proper habitat for Bluebirds but I do host Purple Martins and have to deal with sparrows and four footed predators.

Oct 27, 2014
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thank you
by: Lola

Thank you for the compliment, Gene. I have so much love for these bluebirds that I can barely contain myself.

I was so worried and anxious about something happening to them - especially since the first two sets of eggs never hatched. I think my heart would have been broken if something happened to this family on my watch.

I feel absolutely responsible for their safety and I would do almost anything for them. There were many mornings I ran out into the yard in my bathrobe to run off possible predators, even though as time went by I realized that *most* of the time I was overreacting!

I researched quite a bit, including the sialis website you mentioned. I even struck up a friendship with a lady, via email, in Louisiana who monitors bluebird trails for the state.

She helped me a ton when I had questions and concerns.

My previous post was supposed to say that the bird house we put up was not built as a bluebird house. Is there a way to edit comments once you have already posted them?

Oct 27, 2014
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Glad to Know
by: Gene

I'm always glad to know that people educate themselves on the birds they host.

Lola, you're going to make an excellent Bluebird landlord. If you take good care of them, they'll keep returning.

You're doing your part, thanks.

Check out sialis.org She has a very well researched website.

Oct 27, 2014
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perch
by: Lola

You are right, there is a small wooden platform at the bottom of the house - like a triangle. My husband's uncle made us the birdhouse for a wedding gift.

It was not designed to be a bluebird house - even though that is what I hoped would move in. I've asked him not to include any type of perch in the future (he has offered to make us more) because I researched the heck out of bluebirding and I know a perch invites all sorts of trouble.

Luckily, I am home most of the time and was able to watch the house pretty carefully throughout the baby season.

I know I'm lucky that we had no problems this first go round with predators. We don't seem to have any house sparrows (knock on wood) - mostly wrens and nuthatches as far as small birds go.

I have discussed trying to remove the perch platform with my husband but since it is built into the bottom of the bird house, I'm not sure we could do it without tearing up the house.

It is not your typical round stick perch that you can just pull off. Maybe we will just replace the house altogether.

Burt and Bertha are very territorial and did a great job of running off any birds that tried to land on the house or even come around it.

We have a red-winged black bird that loves to sit on the top of it, but his head is too big to fit inside. He seems to get along pretty well with the bluebirds.

We had a hawk that started hanging around right about the time of fledging. He really made me nervous because I know he was waiting for the babies. But they made it somehow. I ran him off every time I saw him in the yard.

I'm sad to think my babies will be leaving in the spring, but I know that is just the way it goes.

Hopefully Burt and Bertha will have more successful broods next spring!

Oct 25, 2014
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Great job.
by: Lisa

I have had 4 broods of Bluebirds in two seasons. A total of 16 babies fledged from my birdhouse. Usually the juveniles stay for the winter, I feed them live mealworms which keep them here.

As soon as spring comes again they leave their parents.

If I am seeing it correctly in your pictures it looks like yours has a perch on it. I would remove it immediately. Bluebirds do not need it, it just will enable predator birds to get to the box.

I have had the pleasure to have a family of eight be here every day all winter which can really brighten up our nasty winters here in Pennsylvania.

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My First Bluebird Family

by Joy Jones
(Boerne, Texas, USA)

Mom Calling Baby Out

Mom Calling Baby Out

Mom Calling Baby Out Dad Calling Baby Out Baby Coming Out Bluebird Baby Out

I have bluebird houses in several spots on my 5 acres. But, to my surprise, they chose this Texas cedar house that I had just hung, which was great, since I can see it from my kitchen garden window. I've seen bird nests before, but none so diligently guarded.

We have starlings this year and many, many other birds, but that didn't deter them. I could not contain my excitement. I had seen one couple each year for the previous 2 years, but they came and went.

I carefully watched their behavior and marked my calendar for specific events. The first was a blue egg shell below the bird house; then the male regularly arriving with food. Then, one chick appeared at the house opening with widely opened mouth when it saw the flash from my cell phone camera. I knew the 'first flight' would happen this weekend and I was able to see the entire event.

The chick landed very low on an oak tree and I was thrilled to see the male and female swooping back and forth above it, either trying to teach it to fly or trying to scare other birds away.

Today, one day later, it appears like they are renesting in the same box...no time to clean it. I even saw the young bird at the box once. The pictures chronicle the wonderful event.

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May 26, 2014
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Great story.
by: Lisa Fulton

I am not a pro when it comes to Bluebirds. This is my second year with the same pair. They had two broods last year and one so far this season.
I think I would remove the peg, or perch from that house. You don't want to make it any easier for sparrows to go in. Too many horror stories out there.
Love the house, my house is not your typical Bluebird house either, but it works for them!

May 26, 2014
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My first bluebird family
by: Cindy

What an exciting thing to watch! Great pictures, great birdhouse! I enjoyed your pics. I didn't notice, is that an eastern bluebird, or a western?
I just watched, an American Robin raising her young, and it was so cool. Both parents were so tender to their babies!!! I LOVED.. Capturing all of my little family with pics!!
Thanks for sharing

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New Bluebird Pair

by Harlan Wilson
(Murrieta, CA, Riverside County)

I am at Guard

I am at Guard

I am at Guard All looks Well Here comes Mom I guess all is OK

OK. We have a "bird house" purchased a few years ago. The other day I saw a female bird going into the house.

I then saw her return twice until I then saw the Male arrive. He has a bright blue head and wings with a rust red chest. I have taken a few videos and captured a few photos from the videos. These are the first inhabitants of the house that we know of.

It is now April 10, 2016. The weather has been changing from cold to warm and back again for the last few weeks. Usually in the mid 60's to sometimes into the 90's.

We are not in a "cold" area and the city is at a 1,000' elevation. We live in Murrieta California, Riverside County, next to a golf course on the 4th tee.

We are on a small hill above the golf course and we have had many "song birds" etc. and many many hummingbirds. We have had a "lovebird" nest in a tree next to the house, a hummingbird nest also in a tree next to the entry way and a small bird nest (type unknown) in the rafters of the back deck cover.

We have two lemon trees that bloom about 3 times a year at alternate times thus giving us great food for the humming birds.

We really enjoy the birds and want to make sure the nest is safe. If someone could give us advise on protection issues it would be helpful. The birdhouse is on top of a 5' iron fence in the backyard and isolated from any close tree or limb.

We will send more photos and videos (if accepted) as soon as action gets better. Mom is really doing a lot of work bringing in the nesting material.

Interesting is the fact that the male accompanies the female to the nest, perches on the roof or a sign on the birdhouse and then leaves along with the female. Really fun to watch.

Enough now, more to come. Thank you, Harlan Wilson

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Apr 10, 2016
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First Bluebirds
by: Gene

I wouldn't worry about weather, they should be fine. You might want to consider purchasing live mealworms to feed them and bring them close for viewing.

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First time for Bluebirds in Jax FL

by Debbie
(Jax, FL)

Bluebird Feeder

Bluebird Feeder

Bluebird Feeder Female bluebird on box Bluebirds on box

This was our first year of putting up a bluebird box. We attached it to the side of our backyard shed facing southeast. Within one week of putting it up a pair began making it their home.

I kept a calendar of the days mama bird was taking nesting sticks, etc. into the box. I marked when she began sitting on the eggs.

It was a lot of fun watching both parents go back and forth feeding the young. We put up a bluebird feeder filling it with dehydrated mealworms and sprinkled them on the ground. Both parents feasted on the worms and began taking mouthfuls to the babies.

They fledged the nest yesterday so I will miss watching them a lot but I feel the parents have the babies close by because they have returned to the feeder several times today. Maybe soon they will be bringing the little ones to the feeder and showing them where to get food easily.

We hope to have another brood soon since I have read they have up to three broods a year. If not another brood this year then at least next summer maybe they will return. It has been a real joy to study and watch them.

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Jun 12, 2016
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Great job
by: Lisa

If you continue to feed them once or twice a day you will probably have the little ones follow the parents to eat in about 2 weeks give or take.

The parents usually keep them high in the trees the first week. They move the babies from tree to tree to help keep them from predators. They are such a joy to watch, sometimes the fledglings help take care of a second brood.

We've had four years straight now with them. I've only seen the fledglings help once, it sure was cool to watch.

Oh I may add that having the box on the side of a barn can be an opportunity for predators to get to eggs or babies. It's best to have the box on a metal pole with a baffle under it.

Also once an egg is laid a Sparrow Spooker is a must in my opinion.
Good luck with them!

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