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Tag Archives: Eastern Bluebird

In the last week the following spring birds have returned to the Farm.

Song Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Chipping Sparrow

Tree Swallow

Eastern Bluebird

 

 

I’ve been watching Eastern Bluebirds, House Sparrows and Tree Swallows as they built their nests this spring.

The female Eastern Bluebird seems to do the bulk of the nest building. She usually tries to bring large amounts of nesting material on each trip. Sometimes so much material that she has trouble getting into the nest.

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The Male Eastern Bluebirds doesn’t seem to do a lot of work. He watches the female and sometimes follows her to where she is gathering nesting material. I’ve yet to see the male bring any material to the nest. In fact, one day the male went into the nest and actually brought some material out.

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Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird male

The House Sparrows are different. Both the male and female participate in nest building. They are similar to the bluebirds in one respect, they seem to try and bring a lot of material on each trip.

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It’s hard to tell if both the male and female participated in nest building since I can’t tell them apart. I have noticed that they bring only small amounts of nesting material on any given trip.

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More Bird Photographs can be found on my Website.

A while back I posted a blog about the battle for nesting rights on a couple of my bird houses. The Eastern Bluebirds had taken up residence in one of two houses that are about 10 feet apart. When we returned from a short trip the Bluebirds were gone and a pair of House Sparrows was in one house and a pair of Tree Swallows in another house.

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In the past several years the house occupied by the House Sparrows has remained vacant until mid June when the Eastern Bluebirds returned to raise their second batch of young.

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The pair of Eastern Bluebirds moved to a nest to the east of the house and are currently raising the first batch of fledglings. They have already hatched and should fledge in a few weeks.

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Where are they going to go to raise their second batch this year. I suspected they would not return to the house occupied by the sparrows. As luck would have it I was having lunch at a friend’s house and noticed they had a bluebird house in the yard. When I returned home I decided to put up another house Just outside one of my windows. All of my other birdhouses are out in the prairie area the surrounds the yard. Within an hour the male bluebird was sitting on the house and as soon as the female could get off of the nest she came over and checked the house out. Now the male shows up in the morning to perch on the new house and the female joins him in the afternoon. I’m hoping they will use this house for their second batch.

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More Eastern Bluebird photos can be found on my website.

At last report a pair of Eastern Bluebirds had taken up residence in one of two bluebird houses I have in the back yard. They successfully fought off a pair of Tree Swallows that wanted one of the houses.

When we returned after a short trip we found the bluebirds were not in either house. The Tree Swallows had taken up residence in one of the houses.

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A pair of House Sparrows were living in the second one. This is the first pair of House sparrows I’ve had in one of my houses.

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At one point the female Eastern Bluebird sat on a perch near the houses and watched the goings on.

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More photos from Canadian Hill Farm can be found on my website.

As summer draws to an end the birds of summer are starting to leave the farm.

As soon as the second clutch of babies hatched the Eastern Bluebirds disappeared from the farm. Usually they hang around for a short time but this year they didn’t. I miss them at my bird bath.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

I also miss the Song Sparrows. They left early this year. While they were around they were also a frequent visitor to the bird bath.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are just about gone. A couple of weeks ago I notice this adult and fledgling at my feeders. I still see the stray Grosbeak around the feeder.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

So far this year I gone through over 48 quarts of grape jelly feeding the birds. Just about everybody likes grape jelly but the Baltimore Orioles seem to like it the most. They turned up in early May in large numbers. After a few weeks they generally leave and for the second year in a row they have returned in early July with their young. There are a few of them still around.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Orioles

The numbers of Ruby-throated Humming birds are declining. they are still going through a gallon of sugar water every few days but they should be heading south soon.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

I watched this fledgling Eastern Bluebird going through his morning workout routine. It spent about 15 minutes grooming itself one morning.

More Summer bluebird photos can be found on my website.

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This past week three more spring birds returned to the farm. The Eastern Bluebirds returned to the area several weeks ago but only turned up on the farm the last couple of days.

Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird male

 

Right behind the Bluebirds were the Tree Swallows. Both are vying for the use of the same houses. I have a dozen bird houses around the farm and have yet to figure out why the Bluebirds and Tree Swallows always seem to want the same houses.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

 

The Eastern Phoebes also returned this week. They have been busy working on their nest. Since the nest from last year is available they seem to be only doing some minor repairs.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Bluebird

I discovered that Eastern Bluebirds love sumac berries by accident. A number of years ago I was walking through the woods in the middle of the winter discovered some Northern Cardinals and Chickadees feeding on sumac berries. I though it would be a great idea to cut a sumac branch and place it by my birdfeeders. I attached it to the feeder with some duck tape and waited. Seems that when they have a choice, the birds would much rather eat black sunflower seeds than sumac berries. I left the sumac attached to the feeder because it made a colorful prop for shooting birds against the white snow. Before I had a chance to remove the branch the Bluebirds had returned from their winter vacation. Turns out they, along with Robbins, love sumac berries.

 

Eastern Bluebird

For the last several years I have gone out in early spring and cut some sumac branches and installed them in an area where I can easily photograph the Bluebirds. I use a plastic fencepost with a spike on the end which makes it easy to plant and move the post. These are available at your local Farm and Fleet stores. I duck tape the branch to the fencepost. And wait for the Bluebirds to return. I usually keep a few branches stored in the garage so I have some replacements as the birds clean up the berries.