FIRST BLUEBIRDS 2011 FLEDGED on the WHBBT!


"Are you our Mama and Papa?" I think these guys are ready for some big grubs! (Photo taken April 19, 2011 on the WHBBT)

It has been quite a while since my last post. I’ve been busy!

I do want to report in I’ve fledged my first brood of the season — bluebirds on Sunday, May 1st! It took them 19 days to fledge from the day of hatching. After I cleaned out the box, I inspected the nest. (I always do this.) Yes, I found blowfly larvae inside this nest–a heavy infestation. I did treat the nest prior to the 4 babies hatching with a few puffs of the organic Diatomaceous Earth, which helped them immensely survive! Since I started treating the nests with this organic DE (starting last year), I’ve never lost a brood to blowfly larvae causing the chicks to become so anemic, they have no strength to even take in food from their parents.  Just a few light puffs are all I need to do to each nest.  None of it gets close to the babies or their parents because I insert those puffs on the base of the nest by the wood floor and in the center of the nest. I am very careful how I do this, including how quickly I do so as not to worry Mr. and Mrs. Blue too much as they sit in the trees watching me. I first learned of DE from the NABS conference two years ago (thanks, Harry!) during a presentation called, The Fledging Experience. It was  excellent!  I was relieved then to learn there was a way to deal with the blowfly infestation I was experiencing on my trail.

I’m still going to make hardware cloth “screens” to put in the base of the boxes about one-half inch from the floors and not apply DE to see what happens. I’ve found in my area, blowflies have been a regular pest I need to deal with on the trail for every brood. Safety and Success for the nesting native birds — those are my two main goals as I manage my own bluebird trail. My third goal is to be a mentor in educating others and sharing experiences with other bluebirders…those who are new and those that are veterans. It helps to talk to others of their experiences so we can continue to learn from others.

I’ve been busy “managing” of my two computers. I’ve backed up all my programs and files and did a clean install of a new Operating System on both of them, so my time has been occupied working with software,  files, and the new op systems updates….and getting out on the trail, and training and sharing with others in my counties! I should be posting more
within the next two weeks. I have lots of material to share–more photos–more stories. You’ll be hearing from me again very soon.  In the meanwhile, do enjoy the birds. They bring us so much fascination, don’t they?  It’s never a dull moment learning about the bird world.  Are there any times you wish you had wings, too?  Wouldn’t it be fun to trade places with a bird for a day?

4 comments on “FIRST BLUEBIRDS 2011 FLEDGED on the WHBBT!

  1. Chris, it’s really amazing what you’re doing but not at all surprised at your knowledge of bluebirding. How rewarding a fulfilling to see those little bluebirds. I’m sure they’re very happy that you’ve taken such good care.

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    • Hi, Kitty! Thanks for your nice note. This is my 4th year of having a bluebird trail (first year commenced in February 2008). Surprisingly, I still find out new things about bluebirding and learn from other expert bluebirders how to deal with problems along the way. I see more and more successes as the years go by. My first bluebird nestbox existed the year we moved to this house and property, which was Spring 2006. That was the year a black rat snake got to the babies in the existing old weathered nestbox on a 4×4 wood post with no predator guards. The bluebird couple tried again, but the young hatchlings on July 1st died in a few hours from that old nestbox facing WEST into the sun on a 100 degree day. The box had inadequate ventilation, no afternoon shade, etc. It was after that 2nd failed brood that I took that faulty setup down for good and started bluebirding the right way–after much research. Thanks again for the note!

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  2. Where does one obtain Diatomaceous Earth?

    Exactly how do you puff it in?

    Could you possibly make a short video to post on youtube showing the puffing technique and equipment used?

    Thanks!

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    • Hi, Marianne. You can find organic DE at garden centers, Home Depot, Lowe’s HI, and similar such as Ace Hardware stores, Southern States, and the like…..and online, which is how I got mine. If you go online, go to Google or another search engine and type in Organic Diatomaceous Earth. You can purchase it in smaller quantities, such as one or two pounds. A video is a good idea; however, I need someone to help me make the video and then I’d have to input it on my blog. Be patient with me on this. In the meantime, I can write to you privately with instructions how to safely apply puffs of DE into a nest. I do so about a week before hatching. I will also follow up here on this blog shortly. Be sure to ask for “organic” DE, and NOT DE used for pools and spas, which has chemicals added to it. It’s very easy to apply and safely for the birds. What you DO NOT WANT is any of the DE to be on the top side of the nest or anywhere inside the nestbox so that it does not get into the parents eyes or the youngster’s eyes. I use a mustard-ketchup type suqeeze container with the tip (the kind you see in diners) to puff the DE…3 puffs underneath the nest next to the floor and inside the nest in CENTER another 3 puffs in different locations. This usually does the trick. Do respond here if you have more questions or need more details!

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