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In the spring a pair of Eastern Bluebirds returned to the farm looking for a nesting house. I have two birdhouses, within 10 feet of each other, in my northern prairie and one in my eastern prairie. The two bluebirds picked a house in the northern prairie.

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After a couple of weeks the Tree Swallows returned and started battling the bluebirds for one of the houses. I thought the bluebirds had won but when I returned from a short trip the swallows had taken over the house and the bluebirds had moved to a house in the eastern prairie. This same process has repeated itself for the past several years.

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In the past, once the first batch of baby Blue Birds had fledged, the bluebirds moved into the unoccupied house in the northern prairie. Apparently Eastern Bluebirds do not use the same birdhouse for their second batch. Last year the swallows were still raising their young in one of the northern prairie birdhouses when the bluebirds moved into the second house about ten feet away. Both species seemed to live in harmony while raising their young in contrast to the battles they have when selecting a house in the spring.

Eastern Bluebird female

Eastern Bluebird female

This year a pair of House Sparrows moved into the second house in the northern prairie. Since House Sparrows raise both batches of their young in the same house I was concerned that the bluebirds would not have house to nest in for their second batch.

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While visiting some friends I notice they had a bluebird house just outside of their windows which made it easy to watch the bluebirds. When I came home I decided to purchase a couple of new birdhouses and put one of them up just outside of one of my windows. I thought this would make it easy to photograph the bluebirds should they decide to nest in the new house. Within an hour after I put the new house up the bluebirds from the eastern prairie house were checking it out. They appeared to lay claim to it while still raising their first batch of young at the eastern house.

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I was out of town when the first batch of bluebirds fledged and when I returned the bluebirds were nesting in the new house. One of the fledglings turned up and was sitting on the new house while the adult was in the house.

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This new house proved to be an ideal location to watch the bluebirds raise their young. The original plan was to photograph them from my window. However, I was surprised to find that the bluebirds didn’t mind if I watched them from my deck so I setup my camera on the deck.

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I spent a number of days reading and watching the bluebirds fee their young. During one three hour period the adult bluebirds brought food to the young on an average of every three minutes.

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At one point the male bluebird seemed to disappear but the female picked up the slack. When the male did return it was clear that he had taken time out for a quick bath at my birdbath.

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More bluebird photos can be found on my website. Just search for bluebird.

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