Male Bluebird Playing Dead?
I've been watching my first pair of bluebirds for 8 days now. The female has laid an egg a day starting on day 5 of nesting, and now we're up to 4 eggs!
The nest box they are in has been used before by swallows. In fact, two pairs of tree swallows built nests in the box this spring, but something unusual happened.
The first pair abandoned the nest after laying only 2 or 3 eggs. The second pair (which could have been the first pair trying again) didn't show up for a day after having already laid 5 eggs.
We checked the box to make sure they were okay, and the eggs were gone. We guessed a snake must have gotten the eggs, but we don't really know.
We are bird enthusiasts and enjoy the habits of all sorts of birds, so we're excited to see bluebirds - something new for us - in our yard.
The male has exhibited some unusual behavior which we can't find on any website. We have observed him "play dead" twice.
The first time he flew down to the ground and lay down, extending his wings on both sides and resting his head on the ground. If I hadn't seen it myself, I would have assumed he was dead. He staying there for at least 30 seconds. The other time he did it, he didn't extend his wings - just kind of slumped over on his side.
It was really strange and interesting. Was this a defense mechanism because he sees a threat? Is this some sort of breeding behavior? We're hoping that someone has seen this and can offer some insight.