Photo Friday: Last Peek at Baby Bluebirds

The baby bluebirds are growing up fast. They hatched on 8/16. On that day, they looked very little like the birds they would soon grow up to become, and could barely hold their heads up. They were mostly bare skin, looking like little hairy shrimp.

baby bluebirds right after hatching (click on any image to enlarge)

At 3 days old, they were gaping their mouths and holding their heads up on command, waiting to be fed.

baby bluebirds at 3 days old

Today they are 8 days old, and beginning to look like bluebirds. They were snoozing this morning when I checked on them. I did not see the parents, but I know they were not far away. We see them coming and going all day long, bringing food to the babies. It is a full time job!

bluebirds at 8 days old

If you look closely, you can even see some blue color starting to show on their feathers.

closer look at baby bluebirds

In another 7 or 8 days, they will probably start leaving the nest. I won’t disturb them any more, because that can lead to premature fledging. I am sure that will be all the babies for this year. This will make 14 new bluebirds fledged this year to add to the local population. Not all will make it, but some will, and with any luck we will be enjoying bluebirds for many years to come. And so will our neighbors.

I hope you enjoyed this last peek at the baby bluebirds. I wish you a Happy Friday!

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12 Responses to Photo Friday: Last Peek at Baby Bluebirds

  1. Marcia says:

    I know the bluebirds here have been busy all summer but I have no idea how many eggs they hatched. I picked up a feather this morning near my hazelnut trees that must have come from a bluebird. They are so neat to see.

    • Dave says:

      They are neat, and we have had ringside seats for the action, because our screened in porch is only about 25 feet from the nest box.

  2. kitsapFG says:

    Thanks for sharing the “birds eye view” of the chicks. They are darling and it is truly amazing how fast they do grow.

  3. Jody says:

    I’m just wondering, does mom and dad dive bomb you every time you go in for a picture?! We were lucky. This year we had two broods. It’s those darn sparrows that make things so difficult for the bluebirds. They’re a bigger hassle than hawks!

    • Dave says:

      Jody, sometimes they swoop at us, sometimes they don’t. I was lucky the last couple of times I looked in, and they left me alone. Other times, they have me running for cover!

      The sparrow really don’t seem to like these PVC nest boxes. I have had a lot of problems with them in the past. But so far they have mostly left the PVC boxes alone.

  4. Norma Chang says:

    I have looked at your bird photos a few times trying to figure out how you manage to take those photos especially the 3 days old photo.

    • Dave says:

      Norma, the PVC nest boxes come apart fairly easily. I hold the bottom part (made of PVC pipe) in my left hand, and hold the camera with my right hand. As soon as I get the photos I put the box back together. I do it all in a few seconds, and hope the parents don’t start swooping at me before I’m done!

  5. Liz says:

    Must be great watching them get bigger – I really like the photo with all their mouths open waiting for dinner, they look more like eating machines than birds but then I guess thats what they are at that age.

  6. There’s no question that the bluebirds love it there at ‘Our Happy Acres’! They’ll be off and flying before you know it!

  7. Jenny says:

    it’s so nice to see them growing like that, but aren’t you worried that mom and dad will abandon them and they’ll die if they’re disturbed off their nest?

    • Dave says:

      Regular monitoring of the nest box is encouraged by birding specialists. They do not mind my inspections, and I’ve never seen bluebirds or other songbirds abandon a nest unless something happens to the parents. The bluebirds actually tolerate our presence quite readily. I do make my inspections brief, and I am careful to stop opening up the bluebird nest box when they get to be about 12 days old. I usually err on the side of caution and stop earlier.

      The Sialis website (http://www.sialis.org) has a lot us useful information about cavity nesting birds, and what we can do to help them. Loss of habitat, and competition from non-native birds has made providing nest boxes an important part of these birds survival. Sounds like a good blog post topic for me!

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