Eight of Nine Bluebird Eggs Hatch In WI Clutch
Below is a wonderful success story from Mary Beth Roen, River Falls, WI about eight of the nine babies hatching and fledging on this cycle. Mary provided a larger box and one with two holes in the door and it accomodated the parents feeding such a large brood. I have included the link to the state's society newsletter for you to view all the pictures if you like.
I would be honored to have you put my story on your website.
On May 31, when I monitored, box #11 had 3 EABL eggs in it, and box #12 had 2 nestlings with 2 unhatched eggs. When I monitored my trail again on 6/7/08, the nestlings in box #12 and the eggs in box #11 were gone. I have stovepipe baffles on both boxes and they are mounted on electrical conduit over rebar. I have no idea what happened to both boxes, there was no sign of predation. It almost had to be avian. I removed both nests and when I monitored my trail again on 6/15, there were 5 EABL eggs in box #12.
I was on vacation, so couldn't monitor again until 6/27, when I found 9 eggs in box #12! The only thing I could think of was that 2 females were laying eggs in the same nest box. Maybe a mother and last year's daughter? That could explain why there was no rivalry between the two. On July 4 there were 8 nestlings about 2-3 days old. I set up my video camera and documented 2 females and one male feeding the nestlings. I could see that the Gilwood box they were in was not going to be big enough for 8 nestlings, so on July 8th, I moved them to a bigger box that I built with two 1.5 inch holes in the front. I am sure that the parents would have fed the nestlings just fine with one hole. I just thought it would be interesting to see what they would do with a 2 holer. I thought maybe 2 would feed at the same time more often, but I have caught that on tape only once. As the nestlings come to the hole to be fed, it will be interesting to see if there is one at each hole, and if 2 would fledge at once. I probably won't be lucky enough to get that on tape. If the nest were closer to the house, it would be easier to monitor more closely.
I hinged the roof so I could take pictures more easily. I set up my video camera to be sure the parents accepted the new box and emailed those results to Bluebird-L. I checked the nest box the next day and all 8 nestlings are doing well and have plenty of room in the new box. Even without supplementation of mealworms due to the unavailablility of mealies, the 3 parents are doing a great job of feeding and taking care of the 8 nestlings. At this point, the chicks don't even occupy half of the nest box, so there is going to be plenty of room for them to exercise their wings and hopefully all will fledge.
On July 18, 6 of the 8 nestlings fledged at 17 days of age. Two were left as of 7/19 in the morning, but pictures taken by my motion activated camera showed one
probably fleged. I will check on 7/20 to see if any are left in the nest box.
This has been the most awesome experience I have ever had in my 21 years of Bluebirding. I have bonded with this nesting of Bluebirds more than any other nesting I have had. I hope they will survive to come back next year to start the cycle over again, even if it is just one male and one female in the nest box.
This is why Bluebirds get in your heart and never leave!
Mary Roen, River Falls, WI