20 July 2008

Birth Day Miracle!

A little backstory first. DH & I have been avid birdwatchers forever! Using our dog-eared copy of Peterson's as a sort of unofficial diary, we've noted TONS of backyard sightings over the years: Woodthrush, (resident) red-tailed hawk, flicker, scarlet tanager, indigo bunting, baltimore oriole, red-headed woodpecker, yellow-bellied woodpecker, (regularly nesting) phoebe flycatcher, rose-breasted grosbeak as well as our more common but much-loved little friends!

We appreciate every single morning that we wake up to this backyard habitat PARADISE that borders a 250 acre nature preserve! So when a neighbor gifted us with a homemade bluebird nest box (BB1) we mounted it... SHHH!... and never monitored it. It was mounted too high, over our heads and is nailed shut.

**** THE BAD NEWS **** We know our neighbor meant well, but after reading and learning much THIS WEEK I am horrified to realize how he could be creating more problems since allowing house sparrows to nest in HIS BOX for years thereby unknowingly expanding this invasive population. I'll be speaking with him to rectify this immedately!

**** VERY GOOD NEWS **** As luck would have it, our box has supported bluebirds 2-3 times a season for almost 10 YEARS! Nevertheless, we will be buying proper boxes and following mounting instructions to the LETTER beginning this fall!

And now for the Birth Day Miracle & the reason for this long post: (shame on us again) We have had a deck-mounted nest box (BB2) for 5 years with no interest. Due to a resident black bear, I had to remove the nearby birdfeeders for the very first time in June and VOILA a pair of Bluebirds began nestbuilding. Since nesting birds don't want to be near a busy birdfeeder, I'm quite sure this is why they decided to, very unexpectedly, move in to this improperly mounted box! YIKES! We are hoping for a happy ending although I have learned that there are many failures along the way to success. So we will happily take this one-day-at-a-time!

June 30 ~ 2 eggs.

July 2 ~ 4 eggs & incubation period begins.

July 15 ~ Note white marks on 1 egg HOURS before hatching.

July 17/Day 1 ~ BIRTH DAY!