Eastern Bluebird Nesting Habits

Our Eastern Bluebird nest monitoring takes place on our manufacturing facility property. As you will see by looking through the 9 years of nesting data we have collected, our average successful eastern bluebird nests per season are more than double the normal of 1.3 nests per year.

But before I get into what our bluebird nest observations reveal let’s talk about some bluebird basics.

Most Eastern Bluebirds will begin nesting sometime between February and April. The earliest recorded nest attempt date we have for the birds on our property is Feb. 9th 2001, with most years starting in first two weeks of March.

Adult male bluebirds select a suitable nesting cavity and will begin carrying in nesting materials consisting of straw, grass and pine needles. You will also see him dashing in and out the hole and perched above the nest cavity flapping his wings, all in an attempt to attract a female.

Once the female has arrived on the scene the two will bond and could stay together for several seasons. Only the female bluebird will build the nest. She begins by weaving the straw and pine needles into a typical bowl shaped nest up to 4 inches tall. She will then line it with fine grasses and occasionally a few feathers. Bluebirds tend to keep a very tidy nest so you will not see a lot of the junk and trash you might see in the nest of HOSP or other invasive species.
Eastern Bluebird nest with 6 eggs
Typically broods consist of 3 – 6 powder blue eggs, though there are rare instances of white eggs. The female bluebird incubates the eggs for 12 – 16 days before they hatch. After hatching, egg shells and fragments will be disposed of almost immediately, either by eating or carrying off to a distant area to be discarded. You will often see your adult bluebirds leaving the nest with a white “cotton ball” or something. That “something” is called a fecal sac and contains the waste of her newly hatched brood. Keeping a clean nest is a great way to eliminate odors that may attract predators.

According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Eastern Bluebirds nest an average of 1.3 times per breeding season in northern climates and 1.8 times per season in southern climates. Our bluebird nesting data shows that our bluebirds nested an average of 2.8 times per year over the last nine years. (We believe this would be at least 3.0 times per year but for the missing 2004 data). More than double the 1.3 average for our region.

How can you get these same results? Feeding a nutritionally complete diet is the secret and that is exactly what Avian Cuisine Wild Bird Foods are: 100% nutritionally complete wild bird foods.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 at 4:51 pm and is filed under Bluebirds. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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