(Before I even start, let me apologize for the terrible quality of these pictures! They are not up to my usual standard, but were taken inside the house, of the image on the TV. Obviously, this is not ideal, but without disturbing the nest, is the best way I can think of to show you what is going on. If you are just joining, click HERE to learn about the spy cam)
So yesterday morning the first thing I did was turn on the TV to see the progress of our bluebird eggs, which I knew would be hatching out sometime on Friday-Sunday, according to my bird nest field guide. I was thrilled to see that four of the five eggs had hatched! The fifth egg was in the nest, but still. While we watched, the tiny, helpless baby birds alternated between lifting their weak necks and opening their mouths and then flopping back down, exhausted from the effort. A few minutes of this went by until finally, a small hole appeared in the last egg. Soon after the hole got slightly bigger and then a crack could be seen at the top end of the shell. Then the mama bluebird returned to the nest and proceeded to crack the remainder of the shell and promptly eat it!
It is fun to watch the parents enter the box to feed the babies. Sometimes they both are in the box at the same time. They seem to be pretty good hunters, returning at regular intervals with caterpillars, crickets, spiders and other small insects and invertebrates. The babies are so weak looking it is amazing to think that they will ever be strong enough to actually leave the nest and fly!
An interesting thing to note is that the when the chicks poop it looks like a small white sac that just sits there in the nest with the babies, like a discarded marble. When mom or dad returns with something to feed the little ones, they grab the sac with their bill and take it off to be dropped far from the nest in the woods. What good housekeepers they are! And what dedicated parents.
I will look forward to seeing the babies get stronger and grow some feathers.
If you want to put a spy camera in a box you have, here’s a link for the one I own. And if you don’t already have a bluebird box, here’s a link for one that you can buy online, this one by Audubon. Both would make a great gift for a bird watcher on your list!