Welcome to the boredom that is incubation. 🙂 This period of the nesting cycle is the least active, and offers the fewest opportunities for pictures. Basically the female sits on the nest all day long, and the male brings food occasionally. The female does leave the nest from time to time which is when we like to take a look to make sure everything’s going well. Unfortunately, we usually tend to see her only as she’s returning to the nest, leaving us no time to check things out. As I’ve mentioned previously we won’t intentionally force her to leave her nest.
So, we’ll have limited opportunities for pictures for the next two weeks. During this time the female will spend anywhere from 60-75% of her time on the nest, depending on the weather, and usually spends the entire night.
The female develops something called a “brood patch”, which is an area on her belly where her feathers fall out (or, she removes them) exposing a nice warm patch of skin to allow her to transfer her heat to the eggs. The male is incapable of handling the duties at this stage, since he cannot physically develop a brood patch.
Incubation for bluebirds typically lasts from 12 to 14 days, again depending on the weather. Even though the five eggs were laid over the course of six days, they will all hatch at the same general time because they began being “heated” all at once. We are going to anticipate hatching somewhere in the April 26-28 time period.
Until then, we’ll talk about various bluebird facts and continue to introduce you to our other yard friends. Hope you’ll hang in here with us during this slow time!