I wanted to share this neat picture I took on June 13, 2011 of these 5 baby chickadees that had a sibling that wasn’t developing as fast as the rest. Good news! They ALL (five of them) fledged between 3 PM Saturday and Noon on Sunday, June 19th. It looks like the late bloomer just needed more time to catch up growing. I never did find out the problem with this one baby. I did inspect the nest, which had pine needles on the bottom originally built by the bluebirds and the chickadee materials on top after they won the territorial battle over this nestbox. This is the box that bluebirds laid 3 eggs–then the eggs vanished! The chickadees won the battle over using this nestbox and built a “dummy” nest in the other box nearby. Could the chickadee parents have pierced the bluebird eggs so that they could have the nestbox? I’m thinking yes. I found no eggshells on the ground or in the used nest. What I did find was chickadee nesting material and their laid eggs! Perhaps the female chickadee either removed broken bluebird eggs or ate the eggshells for the calcium. I’m still investigating this one. Now that the box is cleaned out, I’m hoping the bluebirds will try again at this location. Usually the chickadees have one brood. The bluebirds two to three broods per season. Last year, I had three broods in my boxes for bluebirds–first time I saw three broods on my bluebird trail.