We’ve had quite a bit of drama going on with our bluebirds and we’ve been wanting to bring you up to speed. Problem was, we couldn’t even figure it out ourselves! So we didn’t know how to describe it. We still may not know for sure what’s happening, but we can at least try to catch up!
You may remember at the beginning of June, our bluebird pair returned once they were done caring for the babies from their first nesting, and began building a second nest. (See Volume 1 and Volume 2.) They began laying eggs, took a very short break when we installed a new sparrow spooker, then resumed. There were three eggs in the nest.
Then, something changed. When the male and female would approach the nest, they’d engage in a strange sort of squeaking we’d never heard before. It almost seemed like the male was attempting to attract the female to the nestbox, which was strange to us since she had already laid eggs. A few days passed with no new eggs laid, lots of vocalization, and then the male started bringing nesting material OUT of the nestbox. They also seemed to begin “hiding” the existing eggs with nesting material.
Within a day or two, the female started building a new nest over the three eggs. We weren’t sure whether they buried or removed the existing eggs, but she made quick work of creating a brand new nest with the male looking on as usual.
We began wondering whether it was the same female, and after much evaluation we decided it wasn’t. She looked a bit different (paler, with a pointier face) and furthermore she acted different. It’s hard to believe, I know, but birds actually do have personalities, and once you get to know them you also begin to know their habits.
We did think it was the same male bluebird. He has a white spot underneath his tail feathers that we are able to occasionally see in pictures, and we verified this spot. We would also occasionally see one of the babies from the previous clutch, which confused us even more. Would the baby of a different mother still hang around with this new mother (if indeed she was a different female?) We didn’t know.
Fast forward a few days, four new eggs were laid.
The mother even seemed to roost for a day, after the fourth egg was laid, so we thought incubation had begun.
The next morning, I noticed two male bluebirds + one female having a bit of an “argument” outside our kitchen windows. Although I never saw that happen before, I didn’t think much of it until later that morning, when the odd squeaking and dancing began again at the nest box! Within a few hours, the male was removing nesting material, and the female had begun bringing it back. Again!
That night we took a peek in the nest box. The four eggs had changed to three. We weren’t sure if the missing egg was buried or removed.
By the end of the next day, the remaining three eggs had been buried or removed. The female was hard at work on a new nest over the old one. It seemed to be the same female that had just laid the previous four eggs (not the same as the original mother from the first clutch.) But by this time we really couldn’t tell. We were very confused.
The newest round of nest building continued for a few days. And look what we found today:
You may notice the nest is very high, but they’ve fashioned a very deep cup.
We don’t know what to expect. We don’t know if they are the same birds, or different birds. We’re convinced the female is not the same as the first mother, but it seems to be the same as the bird who laid the interim four eggs. But, we really don’t know. We are very curious about what will happen next. We expect the egg laying to continue, but what then? Another nest on top? We sure hope not! Pretty soon the babies will be able to walk right out of the hole!
Stay tuned, we’ll keep you as up-to-date as possible so you can follow the drama right along with us! Thanks for hanging in there with us!