We have an egg! Just so we didn’t get too confident that we knew what they were doing, the bluebirds laid their first egg on one of the coldest mornings of the past week! So much for our idea that they were waiting until it’s warmer!
The egg looks big in this picture but it’s really very small. It’s no wider than a dime at its thickest end, and only a touch bigger than a dime in length. If all goes well she’ll lay between 4 and 6 eggs. Our previous successful nestings most often had five eggs.
We were completely floored by the increase in house sparrows today. We have to assume it is coincident with the arrival of the egg. By mid-morning the bluebirds were finding it challenging to keep up with chasing them all off so we decided to rig up a “sparrow spooker” to give them a hand. A sparrow spooker has been proven to be successful in deterring house sparrows without displacing bluebirds. It’s essentially made up of mylar strips that wave in the wind and keep the sparrows away from the top of the nest box, where they like to sit to “claim their nest.” It’s essential to place it after the first egg has been laid because it’s less likely that the bluebirds will abandon a nest box with an egg already in it. So, today was the day. We rigged it up at lunchtime. Within the hour, both bluebirds had accepted the contraption, and we have only seen one sparrow close to the nest box since then. He flew around confused and promptly left.
We may ultimately need to replace the strips. Since we were in a pinch the best we could do was a mylar balloon which we bought, burst, and cut into strips. We’ll see how these strips hold up and replace if necessary.
Tune in tomorrow for (hopefully!) a bit less drama!