Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bluebirds of Yore

These are babes from the spring of '06. Didn't have any blues last year (2007). Was diligent against the steady campaign by English sparrows in early spring. They took a liking to the box. I dumped their nesting material every day for 8 days straight before they surrendered. I was glad they finally did because I'm not one of those diehard bluebird people who will wring the necks of non-native sparrow offspring and chuck them out of the box. But I am willing to commit to evicting their nesting material, and, with a tad more squeamishness, their eggs.

A few days after the sparrow retreat, the bluebirds came and began nest-building, but they abandoned the effort in a couple of days and didn't return. The only other activity in the bluebird box in '07 was a clutch of chickadee eggs that were marauded by something. I'm hopeful that I'll get bluebirds this year. I went out two weeks ago to check the box and clean it if necessary. I was unprepared to find, as I removed the nest cup, a dead bird with about a week of stink on it. I was unsure what it was, but I photographed it and sent it to one of my bird-expert friends. He replied that it was an English sparrow. I'm guessing it was seeking winter shelter in the box and died for some reason.

For a photo diary of the 2006 nest, from days 3 through 14, click here.

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