Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meet the Bluebirds

Meet Ann and Ben Bluebird, who live at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve in Goshen, KY, where I volunteer.  This week, I taught a group of campers about bird nests.  We examined empty nests of a Robin, Tree Swallow and Chickadee, looking at the different materials used in each.  But the good part was looking into live nests of Ann and Ben, and some neighboring House Wrens so the kids could actually see the chicks. They were thrilled with this new experience, and so was I.
While waiting for the children to finish their early morning activities, I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in the shade and watch Ann and Ben for a while going about their normal Bluebird activities. The task of the day is feeding the babies. We counted six hatchlings which were probably about two days old, since their eyes were still shut.

New chicks are all yellow beak and big eyes. When they think someone is bringing food, those mouths open right up, even if it's just some curious people. By the way, these boxes were donated by the Louisville Audubon Society for a Bluebird Trail at the Nature Preserve. People sponsored them as a Valentine's gift to their sweethearts, so we painted the names or initials of the sponsor on the box. After all, Bluebirds are very loving and devoted to their mates. Real lovebirds!
Bluebirds are wonderful parents, raising two or even three clutches in the summer if the food supply is good. Ben would fly towards the hole in the nest box...

...then wait his turn if Ann was there first.  They are pretty tolerant of people, and don't attack my campers when we peek inside the box, unlike the Tree Swallows.
OK, my turn now.  Which chick gets the bug next?

He seems to say, "Are you looking at me? Don't you have anything useful to do?" I was impressed by the variety of different worms and bugs they brought to the nest.
It was too dark in Ann and Ben's box to take a picture of their chicks, but this nest only has one freshly hatched and exhausted little chick.  By the end of the day, I expect that most of his siblings hatched out too.

While Ann and Ben were out hunting, their Chipping Sparrow neighbor perched on the wall by the nest box and sang joyously.  I don't know if the Bluebird chicks appreciated his song, but I certainly did! By the way, I just noticed that I have been posting to the blog for FIVE years now.  Wow, it sure went by fast, but it's great fun to go back and remember all the great experiences and birds that I've posted here, along with the wonderful blogger buddies I've met. Happy Anniversary to me!

1 comment:

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Lovely post Kathy, beautiful Bluebird images too!