Sunday, 5 July 2020

Try, try again!

Last week I noticed a pair of Eastern Bluebirds claiming a different nesting box in my garden. So I thought, "Why are the resident bluebirds not complaining? Are these the same pair that were nesting in a nearby box?" When I looked in their first site, I discovered that something had taken all of their eggs.

They are now gamely having another go at raising a brood in a box close to the predated one. The female quickly filled their new house with nesting material and has now produced her first egg there. I have to admire their determination and hope it will be second time (or perhaps even third time) lucky for them. To help thwart nest raiders, the North American Bluebird Society recommends mounting nesting boxes on zinc-plated electrical conduit pipe. Then, greasing the pole with a non-drying automotive grease or carnuba wax. Also, the boxes shouldn't be within jumpable distance from trees. Next year, I'll have the upgrades in place!

Sadly, something has taken all the eggs from her previous nest box.

Moving on, she tries her luck with a box more in the open.

Cat roomy, Ellie Mae, is in day three of a 'lock down'. It's got nothing to do with COVID-19 and everything to do with the young barn swallows who are starting to fledge from their mud nest in our garage. The first day of her imprisonment, Ellie thought that perhaps I couldn't hear her meows so she raised the volume and number of demands to be let outside. A noisy house, I can tell you! The second day, she relaxed more and this morning only gave a token request and soon gave up. In a few days when the young birds have safely flown away, she'll be allowed to resume her outdoor adventures. We all have to make adjustments to our lives at one time or another -- even pampered cats.

The sixth Barn Swallow baby is out of sight in the back row.

Perched on a deck stool, this youngster was the first to leave the nest.

Staring at the door knob and meowing no longer summons the door lady.

Ellie Mae knows there is a young barn swallow on the deck's foot stool.

A Gray Catbird youngster awaits food deliveries from the rim of my old bird bath.

Bunnies, bunnies! Everywhere are bunnies! They do love their dandelion leaves.

Despite our prolonged drought, wildflowers reliably continue to bloom.


  1. Great delight in nature, as babies grow, leave home, wild flowers bloom, and Ellie May adjusts to the " New Normal" even if for those few days. Love the little ones in a row, hope they all fly safely to adult life,.

    1. So glad you are back home, recovering and leaving your welcome comments, Jean. Ellie is adjusting remarkably well to her lock down. I just wish she wasn't so keen on snuggles until the weather cools a bit. She's a welcome hot water bottle in cooler months but in my area's heat wave, it's a bit much!

  2. Adored the picture of the baby barn swallows. Poor Ellie Mae. So close but just can't quite nab them. Good of you to keep her in lock down at this time.
    Hope the new crop of Blue Birds makes it. Greased pole is a good idea. I once found a large snake hanging half out of the bird box. Doubt he could have made it up a slick pole.

    1. Yes, I've read about snake predation of nests in the South, Patti. Makes us sad when the nesting boxes we put up turn out to be unsafe. I suspect red squirrels or even woodpeckers or Sharp-shinned hawks were my robbers. In the Autumn, when the ground softens up, I'll invest in more conduit pipe. My brother put half a dozen of them up in parts of the property and they definitely improved the odds for successful broods.

  3. Haha, poor Ellie Mae! Florence, sorry for seeing this so late but I so much enjoyed it... my gosh those barn swallows... really precious. Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos.

    1. As always, I do appreciate your comments, Doug! Update: The young barn swallows are no longer at risk of being cat snacks and Ellie Mae is again free to explore the world. Whew!!!


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