Saturday, April 20, 2013

Update No. 2 on Parc Perlière's Nesting Bluebirds!

Papa and Mama Eastern Bluebirds -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- April 13, 2013

         Hatching of the 5 eggs should occur tomorrow if my calculations are correct!  This week has been quite interesting as we have watched our Eastern Bluebirds defend their territory against 1) the neighboring bluebirds from across the street who ventured into the yard, 2) a curious Carolina Wren who peeked into the box and 3) that pesky squirrel every time he gets too close to the box.  Papa Bluebird is relentless when he takes up chasing the squirrel!  A squeaky Cowbird suffered a team attack when he dared to posture and strut his stuff on the cypress tree nest to the box.

Mama Bluebird -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- April 13, 2013

           Knowing that feeding our bluebirds mealworms while they are raising chicks in the box allows us great photo ops once the chicks fledge, we invested in mealworms, just as we have in the past.  Each morning and afternoon, we place a few worms in a specially designed feeder that allows access to cavity nesters of a certain size, but not other birds.  Yes, our bluebirds are spoiled!  No worries!  Our other birds have plenty of seed to eat.  There is a bit of a learning curve for the bluebirds as they must figure out how to enter and leave these curious feeders.

Papa Eastern Bluebird leaving the feeder -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- April 13, 2013

        The photo above shows the feeder -- wooden with 2 entry holes on either end and clear plastic on the sides.  While the female was incubating eggs, Papa Bluebird learned first and became quite proficient rather quickly.  The female took a couple of extra days before she became comfortable with it.  I missed an opportunity to film her on her first day's attempt.  She was very uncertain about how to and whether to enter the box.  I watched as the male bluebird entered and exited several times in quick succession as if to show her how.  She did eventually tentatively get inside that day and quickly left.  The next day, I determined to film her learning.  The video, narrated by Carl and myself, is below.

Female Eastern Bluebird learns to enter a mealworm feeder -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- April 14, 2013

      Well, not only has this perky Mama Bluebird learned how to access her feeder, she is also very well aware of who brings the mealworms and where we live!  She now flies to the seed feeder -- and this bird does not eat seed! -- at our dining room window in the mornings and late afternoons to let us know that she deems it to be feeding time! Princess Bluebird!  I have seen her watching the window when perched on the mealworm feeder.  I believe that when she perceives movement inside the house she then flies to the seed feeder to show us she's ready for more.  

Mama Eastern Bluebird visits the window to alert us to her empty mealworm feeder -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- April 18, 2013

Mama Eastern Bluebird visits the window to alert us to her empty mealworm feeder -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- April 18, 2013
        This morning, a couple of hours after feeding them, she brought along a reinforcement.  Papa Bluebird was perched on top of the seed feeder right along side peering in with her.  When she saw me watching her, she actually flew up and fluttered at the window!  I am sorry I missed that photo.  Sigh!  The camera was upstairs!

         So here is what I told Princess Bluebird.  Yes, I talk to my bluebirds. Hey listen, girlie!  Those mealworms are just a treat.  That is not your whole diet and you had better get ready to hunt up some bugs and grubs for a bunch of hungry mouths TOMORROW!!!!!  Fingers crossed for the hatching!


  1. Cathy - your pictures and video are wonderful, as usual! my bluebird couple had 5 eggs but only 2 hatched. The 2 chicks are about 10 days old today. Not sure why only 2 out of 5 hatched, but the 2 are thriving on the mealworms I provide. They do the same thing to me except they sit outise my window on the 2 pole systems I have and look at me thru the window :)

  2. Your photography is amazing and picture perfect! I use your site often as a learning tool for my two boys! Thank you for keeping us updated on these beautiful birds.