Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bluebirds and House Wrens

Baby Bluebirds as of July 12:

As you can see, they didn't much appreciate my looking in on them, especially since I didn't have any worms or anything.  Hubs put a hinge on each lid, so we could clean them out, if need be.  Unless there's a dead one in there, we just leave the housekeeping to the next tenant.  I don't look in very often because I don't want to spook the parents.

I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures.  My digital camera is a Sony FD Mavica.  I've had it for years and when I bought it, it was state of the art.  And $600.  I'm comfortable with it, usually.  It loads the pictures on a floppy disk.  Anyone still use those?  Its big problem is, it doesn't have a "sight" that you look through.  It has a screen on the part of the camera facing you, and, under normal conditions, what you see on the screen is how the picture will look.  But outside, you just can't see anything on that screen, so it's a crapshoot how your pictures are going to look. 

The eggs were blue, and they were placed perfectly, dividing the nest into equal thirds.  I didn't take a picture.  These little Bluebirds appear to be faring better than the first clutch of three did.  There was only one that survived to fly off on its own.  It didn't allow Mama Bluebird into the birdhouse.  It poked its head out the hole when it heard her lite, and she would cling precariously to the front of the birdhouse in order to feed.  So that one got most of the food.  One little birdie was found dead near the compost pile.  Not sure what happened.  Maybe it just plum wore itself out flying that far.  The biggest one, we saw perched on the top rung of the garden fence, with Mama and Papa nearby, apparently doing OK.  And the third was found dead in the birdhouse.  They are relatively safe in there.  The hole is too small for a bigger bird to get in.  The roof is fastened down with a hook and eye.  And I checked, it doesn't get as hot in there as it is outside.  I'm keeping an eye on it this time, and if I see that same hoggish behavior I might shim the roof up a little so Mama can get in that way and reach all three of her babies.

The last birdhouse on the east has a House-Wren's nest in it.  You know, those bitty brown birds with the sharp beak, that sing you a song forever??  They are comfortable around people, usually, and will nest near the house.    Aren't these purty?  Notice how generously Mama feathered the nest.  Six is an awful lot of mouths to feed for such a bitty bird....

House-Wrens are not quite as friendly as the House-Finches, who have made nests in my door wreath before, and have become little pests in trying to build under the patio cover and the carport.  Normally, I wouldn't mind.  But before the babies leave the nest, they become little poop machines, and it's nasty when that's ON YOUR DOOR!!!  Or above where you have to walk to get from your car to the house.  I do love hearing them "talk" to each other as they build their nests, though.  Papa sits near by, on guard, while Mama puts the newest piece of grass in the nest and pats it down.   "Chirrrrrp????"  "Chirrrrrp????"  Everything has to be juuuuust right. 


  1. The swallows here are loving the new building material...feathers. The electrician knocked down 5 swallow nests doing the wiring in the tobacco barn. He does not like barn swallows but we love them. Despite the poop which is fine in the barn they catch tons of insects!
    There are 6 new nests in the barn and we are so happy for that.

  2. How lovely to see your birds doing so well. When I was a child we had house martins who built their mud nests in the corners of the upstairs windows. They made a dreadful mess and you couldn't open the windows while they were nesting but the whole family loved watching them :-D

    1. Jo, I looked up House Martins because I hadn't heard of them. I don't think we have those here. I wonder if you have House Wrens and House Finches (I referred to them as House Sparrows but I mis-spoke, I'm correcting it now) Common Sparrows...Oh, don't get me started on THEM! They'll build everywhere, eat anything, including chicken feed out of the chicken house, and they are such a nuisance.

  3. I love bluebirds and wrens! We've learned first-hand how territorial bluebirds are. When the trucks are parked in the yard, the birds fight their reflections in the side mirrors. The swallows and I have fights over their nest building under the porches and the messes they leave

    I want to thank you for identifying the "Love Lies Bleeding" flower I posted about. I just knew it had to be an amaranth because it is so much like the spiny amaranth weeds we have in the pastures. I wish you could have had the plants because this morning I cut them off, put the blooms in a bucket to be burned to destroy the seeds. I just couldn't take the chance that they would be invasive.

    When I posted about the flower, I thought if anyone knew what it was you probably would because of your knowledge of all things growing. lol

    1. Charlotte, my plant knowledge is not all that encyclopedic, we were just lucky this time! I usually rely on Glenda or Carole for plant ID, they almost can identify my "mystery plants". It's the birds that are the little seed planters here. I have a lovely red dianthus that grows under one of my rose bushes, that came from the birds.

      Oh, I'm sorry you destroyed the plant and the seed. Amaranth is an annual, and the Goldfinches love the seed. It is also a historic American Indian grain. Any little plants that come up can be easily pulled, or chopped out with a hoe while they're young. It will send its roots down deep once mature and will be lots harder to dig out. They withstand heat and drought where other things will not.

      Our pesky birds are the mockingbirds. And they will fight themselves in their reflections, too. We had some chrome trash cans for awhile that we repurposed into flowerpots and they would practically beat themselves up banging themselves against their reflections in the chrome. Mockingbirds tear up the other birds' nests and dump the babies out onto the ground. They are loud and noisy. They peck holes in the fruit hanging on the trees and eat the berries off the bushes. I'd rather have Bluejays than Mockingbirds, but we don't often see a Bluejay here.

      Our neighbors across the road fight the barn swallows all the time. They build under their patio overhang. We were over there for a barbeque on the 4th, and Joe had to barbeque under the edge of the overhang because of the rain. There was a nest above him and off to the side, and mama and papa swallow both posted themselves in front of the nest the whole time. Such bravery, protecting their babies like that. I always marvel how birds will give their own lives, if necessary, to protect their babies.

  4. Don't apologize for the pictures; I think they are very good.

    I love the birds.....and didn't see any bluebirds building in our two houses this year. Don't know why. The wren flew around the screened porch but then gave up that she couldn't get inside her favorite corner. They have such loud voices for a tiny bird.

    I am still trying to entice Purple Martins but haven't had it happen yet.

    1. Oh, Glenda, you are TOO kind! Your pictures always look so professional. I took that picture you posted of the cardinal on the silver feeder, a couple winters ago, and I use it for my screen saver sometimes.

      We had Martins that first year we put the house up. Hubs hasn't tended it in a long time so something else nests in there and I don't know where the Martins are nesting. I sure enjoyed them while we had them. I had someone look at me, kind of bewildered, and said, "Wouldn't they nest somewhere, in natural habitat, if you didn't have a house for them??" I thought about that for awhile, and, I guess it's just like the little bluebird houses... Not really necessary, but it brings them to our yard, we enjoy seeing them, and it's a safer place for their babies when it storms. The bluebird babies are all three gone now, probably flying around somewhere, as all three looked healthy last time I looked, and I thought at the time that they ought to be big enough to be out of the nest.


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