Monday, June 9, 2008


My back yard nesting boxes are full of eggs and babies. Here are a few images from this weekend.

One day old bluebird

6 day old tree swallow

6 day old purple martin

Despite the successes, I am having some unexplained losses. Of 5 tree swallow eggs, 4 hatched, one was infertile. Of 5 bluebird eggs in this second clutch, she rejected one and only 3 of the remaining 4 hatched. This is odd for me. I usually have 100% hatching rate in bluebirds.

In the purple martin department, there are currently 10 nests with eggs. I have lost 7 eggs from various nests. Two were blown out during the bad storms, and others were either damaged or infertile, or have just gone missing.

I have two nests with young; 5 nestlings from 5 eggs in one gourd, and 2 nestlings from a clutch of 4 eggs in another.

There are two nests that I call "bachelor pads." These are spaces occupied by subadult males without a female. The boys have done some minor decorating, but haven't really gone all-out in furnishing their homes.

And then, there is this nest:

This is a small compartment (6"x6") in the metal house, with a round entrance hole. It is on the back side of the bird house, so I can't see it easily from the window, but I think an ASY male has taken it over. The mud dam in front effectively narrows the 2.5" round opening to something approximating my crescent SREH holes, and acts as a way of protecting the contents from starlings and owls. However, despite all this effort, I have yet to see a female associated with this compartment. It is unusual for males to do more than initiate the nesting effort, leaving the bulk of the work to the females, so there could be a lady living here. Time will tell, and I keep checking for eggs.


NCmountainwoman said...

Great shots. I especially love the little bluebird, still conforming his tiny body to the oval of his egg.

Trixie said...

That is an amazing post. I am awed by all those tiny creatures. How very interesting. That purple martin mouth is really something else.

Thanks for showing us.

KGMom said...

Katdoc--so cool. The baby birds are so fragile looking, and a little bit absurd (to be truthful) but so wonderful. Love this post!

Lisa said...

Them's some OOGLY babies.

Mary said...

Ooo. I just read Lisa's comment :o) LOL!

Thanks, Katdoc. You do good work. I learn a lot here.

Susan Gets Native said...

Those birds are keeping you busy!
Now I know why you have that stellar organization system.

You all should see it! color-coded and all spiffy!

Mary C said...

Oh my goodness! I am so impressed. You can actually hold these precious little critters in your hand (which makes much better photos) and mama birdies don't get upset? Wow! Thanks for sharing these photos.