Eastern Bluebird “Post-Fledging” Phase

July 24, 2007


Bluebird parent instructing juvenile bluebird

The parents of recently fledged Eastern bluebirds immediately begin an intensive orientation period, lasting approximately two weeks, for the juveniles.  The orientation includes locating suitable food, water, and shelter, as well as, avoiding dangerous situations.  If you provide acceptable food and water in your yard, you can expect to see the extended bluebird family (parents and offspring) making the rounds. 

Offspring from earlier  clutches in the nesting season can often be seen accompanying their parents during subsequent nesting cycles in the same nesting season.  By the beginning of the next nesting season,  the “extended family” dissolves.

House finches can sometimes be seen tagging along with an extended bluebird family.  Eastern bluebirds will tolerate house finches in close proximity during the post-fledging phase and even during the nest selection and building phases of the next cycle.


House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

For some odd reason Eastern bluebirds tolerate the affinity that House Finches develop for them at different points in the nesting cycle.

The House Finch, or Linnet, is originally a species of the Western United States and Mexico. In 1940, wild Finches were illegally released in New York City.   By 1943, the released birds were reported breeding in the New York area. By 1971, breeding populations extended along the east coast from New England to North Carolina.

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Food and Water for the Birds!

July 16, 2007

Always keep plenty of food and water readily available for the birds that visit you.  Your yard will soon become a popular spot and you will be rewarded with visits from all kinds of birds.

Bluebird on Feeder #2 07-24-2007

Bluebird feeding on Nut n’ Berry mix

Click on the live video feed link below to see live video from a wireless color yardcam stationed near a feeder array in the yard.

Live video feed from wireless color yardcam (click on view video)

Note: This feeder array provides peanut suet nuggets, peanuts, Nut n’ Berry mix, thistle seed, and water.

Be sure to keep the area under your feeders clean.  “Moldy seed” can sicken birds that eat it.

Do not let mold and mildew build up in your bird baths.  Be sure to change the water daily if possible.

If you see sick birds at your feeders or bird baths, follow the instructions provided at this link — sick birds at your feeders.

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Cleaning Eastern Bluebird Nest Boxes

July 8, 2007

Although eastern bluebirds keep their nests tidy and relatively clean during most of the nesting cycle, things do get messy in the nest right before the baby bluebirds fledge.  Be sure to clean your nest boxes thoroughly immediately after all the bluebirds fledge.  Do not dump the used nests on the ground.  Some birds may attempt to reuse the nesting material.  Put used nests in the trash bin and wipe out the interior of the nesting chamber with a damp paper towel.

Used Eastern Bluebird Nest 07-08-2007

Eastern Bluebird nest right after the fledglings departed

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Typical Eastern Bluebird Nesting Cycle

July 8, 2007

The following chart depicts a typical Eastern Bluebird nesting cycle that produced four new bluebirds.  The bluebirds nested in a modified Gilbertson nest box in our back yard.  The entire nesting cycle required 42 days to complete.  The parents will teach the four juvenile bluebirds how to fend for themselves over the next two weeks.

Ready to Fledge #1a 07-05-2007

Last nestling peering out at the world just before fledging

It is a good idea to use a nesting cycle log for each occupied nest box you monitor.

2007 Eastern Bluebird Nesting Cycle

Day # Date Phase Phase Days Comments
1 25-May Nest Selection 1
2 26-May Nest Building 1
3 27-May Nest Building 2
4 28-May Nest Building 3
5 29-May Pre-egg  1
6 30-May Pre-egg  2
7 1-Jun Pre-egg  3
8 2-Jun Egg 1 1
9 3-Jun Egg 2 2
10 4-Jun Egg 3 3
11 5-Jun Egg 4 4
12 6-Jun Incubation 1
13 7-Jun Incubation 2
14 8-Jun Incubation 3
15 9-Jun Incubation 4
16 10-Jun Incubation 5
17 11-Jun Incubation 6
18 12-Jun Incubation 7
19 13-Jun Incubation 8
20 14-Jun Incubation 9
21 15-Jun Incubation 10
22 16-Jun Incubation 11
23 17-Jun Incubation 12
24 18-Jun Hatching 1 3 eggs
25 19-Jun Hatching 2 1 egg
26 20-Jun Nestling 1
27 21-Jun Nestling 2
28 22-Jun Nestling 3
29 23-Jun Nestling 4
30 24-Jun Nestling 5
31 25-Jun Nestling 6
32 26-Jun Nestling 7
33 27-Jun Nestling 8
34 28-Jun Nestling 9
35 29-Jun Nestling 10
36 30-Jun Nestling 11
37 1-Jul Nestling 12
38 2-Jul Nestling 13
39 3-Jul Nestling 14
40 4-Jul Nestling 15
41 5-Jul Fledging 16 3 fledged
42 6-Jul Fledging 17 1 fledged

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Bluebird Shepherd

Live Video Feed – Eastern Bluebirds Ready to Fledge

July 5, 2007

Ready to Fledge #1a 07-05-2007

Bluebird nestling peering out at the world

Use your browser to observe these Eastern bluebirds fledge.  The bluebirds in the Gilbertson will be fledging within the next few hours.  The parents are starting to feed the nestlings from outside the nest box to entice them to peer out of the entrance hole.  This is a sure sign that fledging is right around the corner.

View live video feed.


Click on view video. Note: Mac users may have difficulty viewing the video.

Bluebirds Side Gilbertson 06-29-2007

Bluebirds feeding mealworms to nestlings

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Bluebird Shepherd