Whoa, is it January 10th? This is going to be a bluebird afternoon!
Happy New Bluebird Year! I’m working on my next presentation to be shared with a local Ruritan Club and re-installing a repaired nestbox. My expanded trail–33 nextboxes–must be checked this month to be sure they are ready by February 1. Mixed flocks of bluebirds start to separate and the males establish breeding territory. In February–varies on the date every year–I enjoy anticipating the watching of that first male entering in and out of the manmade cavity and showing his lady love some new, cool digs and watching her accept it–then those first nesting materials to be dropped inside, which I watch for and date in my notebook–mostly the female does but he helps! Will they be grasses, pine needles, or both? That varies on the female and the habitat. Usually it is one or the other — either all grass or all pine needles, but I’ve seen some mixed together. Generally, if the pine needles are available, it appears that is the favorite material to be used.
Last year was the record-breaker for me since I started watching and monitoring my Eastern Bluebirds in 2006. Last year, the first nest-building commenced on (or even before) March 1st; that nest was completed and had its first egg laid by March 8! That was the day I actually started checking all the boxes for activity on the trail for the season. That was a pleasant surprise–I still remember it well. This year,I will start checking them for action much earlier. Since we’ve had a fairly mild winter so far, this “early-bird-catches-the-worm” bluebird attitude and activity could very well repeat itself!
I’m excited about my expanded bluebird trail. Yes, more work; yes!, more records to keep. It’s still a joy to do it and even cooler for me personally to have more records to compare notes. Here is a photo (below) I took September 2012 of some new installations ready to be loaded in the car–I like September to do this as shade is still coming forth from those trees — I install all (or most) new nestbox setups in afternoon shade as much as possible in the habitat that I think will work the best.
Have any questions? Join us on the Woolwine House Bluebird Trail on Facebook! …. it is a great place to have a discussion with others or ask your questions for quicker responses. Happy bluebirding!