Last July I wrote about concerns for our bluebird family that always nested in the barnacle house in the corner of our vegetable garden because they chose an alternate location for their third nesting. I finally got around to checking inside this house over the weekend and can report good news. I did NOT find any mites or wasp nests or any broken eggs! What I found was LOTS of nice clean nesting material (mostly dried grass) which consisted of at least two 4-inch nests piled on top of each other. If the birds would have made their third nest on top of this collection the newly hatched babies would have been dangerously close to the entrance hole and may have made their first exit into the world too early!
It was always my theory that one reason it is an advantage for birds to build in a “deep” cavity (and the reason bluebird boxes are designed with the entrance hole approx 8” above the bottom) is because it gives the babies a chance to flutter around and play before they can even think about leaving the nest. This activity helps develop and strengthen their wings so when they do leave the nest the very first time they are more likely to be able to fly UP and get into a relatively safer place vs DOWN where they are much more vulnerable to danger.
At any rate I was glad to see everything in the box looking healthy. I did not mention that what prompted me to check the nest was that Mr. and Mrs. Blue have been hanging out at the box lately. When they are not joyfully fluttering in and out of the box, one sits on top of the house while the other (pictured above) sits on the dried mammoth sunflower stalk next to the house. They sing and chatter to each other the entire time and since the weather had been very cold, then warmed up, I’ve got to wonder if they think it is spring? Maybe. But perhaps, they, like me, are just enjoying the coming of the new season, reflecting back on the past growing season, contemplating their successes and failures and how we can do it all better next year. While I realize they deal with the elements of weather every minute of their lives I will do my best to look after them this winter by providing cozy nesting places and fresh water. At the same time I am glad to be indoors a little more, have the time for more inward reflection from my little window here at MasterWorks Studios, and just sit back and appreciate the awesome power and beauty of nature.