Merritt & I have determined the nestlings in our bluebird box are, indeed, Eastern Bluebirds! Yay! Last year in this box all five hatchlings were eaten by something & the nesting attempt unsuccessful (obviously). This year, one egg has not hatched yet &, being as it is about Day 13 or 14 post-hatching, that egg is a dud in my book.
This photo (below) is our confirmation of bluebirds–see the tinge of dark blue on the top of the wing near the nesting material? This would be a sleeping male. Close discernment of all the photographs I took this morning makes me believe we have 2 males & 2 females in the box. It is normal to have more females than males in a bluebird brood. An excellent resource can be found here to determine nestling ages & typical bluebird development. We’re going to stop monitoring the box up close from here on out as we don’t want to cause an early fledging of the nestlings. We’ll watch from the driveway.
My front flower beds have become a pollinator paradise this past week as most of my daisies, coneflowers, dill, etc have bloomed fully. I love how dill just seems to appear wherever it wants after the first year of seed planting. It really fills in the nooks & crannies of the gardens around here. We plant Grandma Einck’s from Seed Savers.
I have never had as many Red Admiral butterflies in my yard as I do this summer. They appear to prefer the coreopsis we have planted behind the garage, but I spotted one among the purple coneflowers this morning. I considered raising Red Admiral caterpillars with the kids–until I learned this species uses stinging nettle as a host plant. We have an abundance of nettle in our yard (explains the abundance of Red Admirals!), but I’m not going near it no matter how stunning the butterfly. June fell into a bunch of nettle the summer she was two, face first, & looked pretty nasty for a week+.
Any baby birds taking up residence in your yard this year?