The Eastern Bluebirds are one of the first birds to return in the spring. This year they spent their first few weeks back checking out the real-estate. They concentrated their efforts on two bird houses in the back yard. They appeared to have made their choice but then the Tree Swallows returned.
Typically the Tree Swallows are more aggressive and once again they pushed the bluebirds out of their first choice for a home and kept them from using the second house that was only 10 feet away.
The bluebirds ended up picking another birdhouse in another location where they raised their first clutch. Meanwhile the Tree Swallows continued to occupy one of the original houses the bluebirds had staked out. Their young were still in the nest when the bluebirds started showing up and were, once again, at the house next to the Tree Swallows.
Surprisingly the Tree Swallows didn’t seem to mind the presence of the bluebirds. This is the first time that I’ve seen this happen. The swallows and bluebirds lived in peace for a couple of weeks until the fledgling swallows left the nest.
I assumed that the bluebirds had already built a nest in the second birdhouse so I decided to setup my bird blind near the birdhouse so I could take some photos. I left the blind unoccupied for a day so the birds would get used to it being near their house.
It has been raining almost every day but early the next morning it was a relatively clear day so I set my camera up in the blind and waited for something to happen. There wasn’t any activity for a while so I started reading my book. It wasn’t long before I noticed a bird on the bluebird house. It turned out to be one of the fledglings from the first clutch. The parents were nowhere to be seen.
I watched for about half the morning while the female gathered dead grass from a pile of grass in the garden. I opened a side vent in the blind so I could see the female bluebird leave the garden and head for the nest. This gave me time to get ready. I turned the camera on to high burst and as soon as the bluebird approached the nest started taking photos.
As the day wore on here loads of grass became larger. In some cases they were so large that she couldn’t get through the hole in the birdhouse. This is when it became interesting because the female kept trying to get in the nest and the grass she was carrying was too big to fit through the hole in the birdhouse. She would then perch on the house before making another try.
The male would occasionally go in the house and would come out with a piece of grass. Mainly he followed the female to the garden and watched while she gathered grass. He would then fly back to the house with her and watch while she worked on the nest.
One time they both were attempting to get into the house. Apparently traffic control didn’t catch the conflict in approach patterns and they both ended up at the birdhouse at the same time. The female peeled off at the last minute.
I was worried that the presence of my bird blind would scare the bluebirds off but they started using it as a perch while I was in the blind. At one point both of the fledglings were on top of the blind.
In the mist of building a nest in one house the female started looking at the house the Tree Swallows had abandoned. She would land on the roof and went into the house several times. The male also started looking at this house.