BirdingLifestyleWest Virginia

Checkout the photos below and a video at the bottom of this page!

This is the second year that we’ve had a bluebird box in the backyard, and the original pair returned to use it again this year.

The first brood, pictured here, fledged near the end of May (these photos were taken in early June). For several days, the three young bluebirds clumsily flew from branch to branch of nearby trees, covering an area of slightly less than an acre that was mainly a grass field. After about a week, they began frequenting our back porch, where I had a broken-up seed cylinder in a hanging “dinner bell” tray feeder. The parents would go to the feeder, collect the dried mealworms from the cylinder, and hope down to the railing to feed the worms to their begging chicks.

After watching this happen for a few days, I decided to get my camera out. The afternoon I took photos, it was raining, so I had to slow down my shutter speed and use a fairly high ISO to accommodate for the dreary weather (you can see the noise and some motion blur in a few of my photos for this reason). For about an hour, I stood with my camera on a tripod in the open doorway that leads to the porch. The bluebirds are quite accustomed to my presence—they often come to the feeder while I’m sitting on the porch—so they didn’t pay much attention to me, even though I was only a few feet away. In fact, they seemed to appreciate that I was helping them keep the grackles away.

As I write this, the baby bluebirds have now learned to use the feeder, and are much more independent. In fact, when it rains, they seem to enjoy waiting it out on the covered porch. The parents are busy with their second brood in the backyard box—which must be close to fledging, because the parents are working nonstop to feed the nestlings, and I can hear their begging from across the yard! If you have the right habitat, I’d highly recommend installing a bluebird box for next year’s breeding season. Among many other positive aspects of having a backyard bluebird box, the incoming bluebird family will give you hours of pleasure as you observe them!

Click on each of the photos below to enlarge them and read captions.

Camera setup: Canon 7D Mark II with the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens. Shot at 1/800 exposure time, f/6.3,1600 ISO. Processed in Adobe Lightroom.

Dinner bell feeder: https://order.wbu.com/shop/bird-feeders/specialty-feeders/dinner-bell-feeder

Nesting Superblend Seed Cylinder: https://order.wbu.com/shop/bird-food/seed-cylinders/nesting-superblend-seed-cylinder

Note: There are better feeder/seed combinations than what I used on this day, but I just put out what I had on hand and needed to use up!

More on feeding bluebirds: https://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bwdsite/learn/feeding/feeding-bluebirds.php

About nestboxes for bluebirds: https://www.audubon.org/news/welcome-bluebirds-nestboxes

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