Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder

Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder …….by Meg Brager

New nest!!!

Another sign of early spring, our bluebird box is already housing a nest and 5 little blue eggs! We just put our bluebird house up last spring, and this is the third clutch (batch of eggs). As soon as our house was up last year we had visitors, so we knew we had it in a good location. The bluebirds usually came in pairs to check it out, but sometimes there were three of them. We figured one was the realtor. Various bluebirds did a thorough job of checking out the house, then one day we went up and checked and there was the nest, complete and ready.

The eggs appear within a week or two, and there are usually three to five eggs. Ours have all been blue, but I believe the color can vary, sometimes being more speckled. The babies hatch after about 2 weeks of incubation, and another 2 to 3 weeks after that they are ready to leave the nest and fly….it all happens amazingly fast! Also, bluebirds can have a second, and then a third clutch of babies.

Momma on nest
Bluebirds had been in steep decline, but due to many local grassroots efforts their numbers are reviving. There are lots of folks out there building, installing and monitoring bluebird boxes, including some of our local Virginia Master Naturalist members. One couple is responsible for the bluebird boxes throughout Booker T. Washington National Monument, and they are responsible for the healthy fledging of hundreds of bluebirds each year.

        Want to learn more or help out? Go to to get tons of information about bluebirds, building and monitoring the houses, things bluebirds like to eat (mealy worms during nesting and berries in the winter), and all kinds of interesting facts.

For instance, indigenous cultures across the globe hold similar myths and beliefs about the bluebird. It is a widely accepted symbol of cheerfulness, happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health, new births, the renewal of springtime, etc. Virtually any positive sentiments may be attached to the bluebird.

It really is the bluebird of happiness!

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