how long do blue birds nest

How long until they leave the nest? After hatching, the chicks of Eastern, Mountain, and Western Bluebirds stay in the nest for 16–22 days, 17–22 days, and 19–22 days, respectively. After the 13th day following hatching, you SHOULD NOT open the box for observation because the chicks may prematurely fly out of it. The fledglings look surprisingly unlike the adult birds. They are speckled with touches of blue on the wings.

I observed an adult bird emerging from the nestbox with something white in its grasp. The parents take great care to tidy the nestbox, so what was it? After the eggs hatch, the female typically discards the eggshells far from the nestbox or eats them to aid in the production of new eggs. The parents will remove the nestlings’ waste materials while they are growing. “Fecal sacs” are the tidy little bundles that contain the waste.

What materials do bluebirds typically use for their nests—woven grass, pine needles, straw, hair, and occasionally feathers—and what does a bluebird nest look like? A bluebird nest usually contains no junk, no strings, no sticks, no cigarette butts, and no seed heads. If you think the nest in your bluebird nestbox belongs to a different species, check out the FAQs on Competing Species.

After the birds have flown, should I clean out the nest? Yes, remove the nest and store it in a plastic bag in case there are any unexpected nest changes. Any unfavorable bacteria or hidden bugs can be eliminated by quickly microwaving the nest (no more than one minute, or it will smell!). Use a mild bleach and water solution to clean the inside of the nestbox. There are differing opinions on the ratio of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Some sources state 1:32. In either case, flush with plain water after disinfecting. Leave door open until it dries. Within a day of fledge day, females have been known to begin a second nest; on occasion, they will begin a second nest in a different box before the current nest’s fledging happens. Because of this, the box needs to be cleaned the day following the last baby to fly, or sometimes even on that same day. It is important to always remove and dispose of the old nest far away from the nestbox. Throwing away an old nest close to the nestbox can attract predators. The old nest should be disposed of by placing it in a plastic bag.

The duration of the Bluebirds’ stay is largely dependent upon your location and the availability of food. If there are many native berry bushes for them to eat during the winter, bluebirds may choose not to migrate. In late August or early September, they might appear to vanish for a few weeks before making a reappearance a few weeks later. You might be able to have a group of Bluebirds stay with you during the winter if you had been feeding mealworms during the summer and wanted to carry on doing so. The birds are fiercely protective of their nests during the nesting season, but after it ends, they usually live in loose flocks made up of the parents and young from all of the nestings that season.

In 1975, Friends of the Bluebirds was established in the wake of John Lane’s passing. Together, this constantly growing, committed group of volunteers keeps up the job of creating habitat. Southern Manitoba is home to large clusters of nesting boxes known as “Bluebird Lines.” The Mountain and Eastern Bluebirds, as well as the Tree Swallow, have temporary residences thanks to these boxes.

FAQ

How long do blue birds stay in the nest?

For bluebirds, incubation typically lasts approximately 12–14 days. After hatching, the chicks will remain in the nest for about 17–21 days. Your monitoring should be limited to viewing from a distance after the 12–13th day, or the chicks might jump or fly from the box prematurely.

Do bluebirds come back to the same house every year?

They often return to the same box year after year, raising dozens of chicks in their lifetimes. The nest box walls hide an amazing series of events that leads to future generations of bluebirds.

Should bluebird nests be cleaned out?

It’s a good idea to clean out your nest box once the young birds have fledged. Photo of Mountain Bluebird eggs by Anne Elliott via Birdshare. You can definitely clean out a nest box after the fledglings leave. NestWatch suggests cleaning out nest boxes or birdhouses at the end of the breeding season.

How do you know when baby bluebirds are ready to leave the nest?

By the time they open their eyes around eight days after hatching, they’ve already grown a fair number of feathers. After about two weeks, they are ready to leave the nest and make their first flights.